We all know that attorneys have an ethical obligation to provide competent and diligent representation to all their clients. We also know that being unable to do so is a proper argument to refuse a court appointed representation.
Yet, this does not seem to apply to public defenders in Kansas City, where a judge has decided to order specifically ordering PDs to violate their ethical duties, and at least another one thinks the problem is that public defenders want time to meet their clients and prepare for their cases when they should just be entering guilty pleas. Here is a copy of one such order.
Aside from the fact that the state needs to do something about the PD system, the conduct of the judge who signed the order is outrageous and I hope he is reprimanded for it. If there is a crisis in the system, it needs to be addressed but purposely ordering an attorney to be unethical, and to violate a defendant's constitutional rights in the process is reprehensible.
Critics of the way the criminal justice system is being run in Missouri have called it "assembly line justice," in which judges want to push defendants to plead guilty while giving defense lawyers little to no opportunity to meet their clients privately, or prepare for their cases. The ABA Journal has the story here.