Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NY case challenges adequacy of public defender system

Because an estimated 80 percent of felony defendants in large states are too poor to hire their own lawyers, a class-action suit to be argued next week in New York’s highest court has become a test of a national strategy by civil liberties groups to challenge what they say are failed public defender programs in many states. The lawsuit reportedly argues that the public defeder system is "dysfunctional, underfinanced and “in crisis,” with often poorly trained and poorly supervised lawyers handling huge caseloads" and says that "indigent clients have been failed by their appointed lawyers all around the state." Go here for the full story in the New York Times and here for a short version from the Wall Street Journal law blog.

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