PDs Better than Appointed Counsel


More ammunition for those fighting to replace ad hoc counsel appointment systems (like Harris County’s) with properly-organized and funded public defenders’ offices: Gideon calls our attention to Princeton University student Radha Iyengar’s analysis of the relative performance of federal PDs and lawyers appointed to federal cases under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA). The result of the apples-to-apples comparison (indigent defendants were randomly assigned a PD or a CJA lawyer) should come as no surprise to federal criminal-defense lawyers: federal PDs get better results for their clients than ad hoc appointed counsel.

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