Category: public defenders

  • PDs and Private Lawyers: The Missing Data

    The data for this study are from Cook County (Chicago), Illinois, and are a random sample of 2850 offenders convicted of felonies in Cook County Circuit Court. Hartley, R.D., et. al., Do you get what you pay for? Type of counsel and its effect on criminal court outcomes, Journal of Criminal Justice (2010). I asked […]

  • PDs and Private Lawyers: What the Numbers Mean

    Here are some conclusions that can be drawn from Hartley’s data: In Cook County, Illinois, in 1993, convicted defendants were: 1.81 times as likely to have been released on their own recognizance if they were charged with a class 1 felony as if they were charged with a class X felony. 2.10 times as likely […]

  • Of PDs and Private Counsel

    Black defendants who retain a private attorney are almost two times more likely to have the primary charge reduced than black defendants who are represented by a public defender. That’s a quote, according to Miller-McCune, from a research paper by Richard D. Hartley. (Hartley wrote his doctoral dissertation at University of Nebraska on the same […]

  • Michael Sokolow’s Good Call

    Back in November, Kent Schaffer must have been feeling pretty good. Schaffer, one of Houston’s top criminal-defense lawyers, had been appointed by Judge David Hittner to, along with the Public Defender, represent R. Allen Stanford in the juiciest criminal case in town. When Schaffer took the case it was at the CJA’s $110-an-hour rate, considerably […]

  • Federal Convictions Reversed

    From Alex Bunin, Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York, comes “Federal Convictions Reversed,” this collection (pdf) of summaries of appellate cases reversing federal convictions (not sentences). An invaluable resource to the federal criminal-defense lawyer, but that’s to be expected — the various public defenders’ offices are still and likely always will […]

  • Want to Spend Less on Defense? Spend Less on Offense.

    As a matter of constitutional law and legal ethics, quality representation for the poor is not negotiable. If the state doesn’t want to pay for indigent defense, it needs to prosecute fewer people (or at least fewer poor people). Kansas Defenders (H/T Capital Defense Weekly). The actual experts seem to agree on this one: the […]

  • Matt Shirk, You Are the Weakest Link.

    From The Agitator and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina criminal-defense lawyer Bobby Frederick (if I ever get tossed in jail in South Carolina, I’m calling Bobby Frederick to bust me out): Jacksonville, Florida public “defender” Matt Shirk, elected to be tough on crime (“His campaign promises included a vow not to oppose funding cuts to the […]

  • What if They Gave a WOD and Nobody Came?

    The New York Times suggests a solution to the problem of insufficient funding for indigent defense: With states struggling to come up with financing for schools and hospitals, we fear politicians are unlikely to argue for significantly more money for public defenders’ offices. To solve the immediate crisis, new sources of support would have to […]

  • Raises for Prosecutors and Defenders, or More Pork for Other Projects?

    Western Justice points out that the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2008 has been signed into law. I’m sure I’ve missed hoopla about this elsewhere, since there was lots of hoopla about it last May. Now that I have more than six readers, I’ll ask again the two multiple-choice questions that […]

  • ABA Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System

    The ABA’s Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System: 1. The public defense function, including the selection, funding, and payment of defense counsel, is independent. 2. Where the caseload is sufficiently high, the public defense delivery system consists of both a defender office and the active participation of the private bar. 3. Clients are […]