Overworked Public Defenders

Overworked Public Defenders

Hello, my name is Payton McQuilkin. This project I am working on is named “You & The World Project”. In this project we are opened to find something in the world that we, the freshmen, feel as though is an issues that needs attention. My topic I’ve chosen is the public defenders in the United States are doing people no justice due to the overload of work they have everyday.  In court people who have little income and don’t have enough money for an attorney are given a public defender in replacement. An attorney, which costs a pretty penny, has much time to investigate and prepare for their client. The public defender will just meet their client when arriving in the courtroom. Multiple studies shows that in the United States, the public defenders are overworked, often underpaid, and not given enough to defend a client.

The whole public defender system started in January 1962, when a man in Florida received 5 years in prison for representing himself. He stole some beer, change, and cokes. Now there is a required “defense attorney” for a client who can not afford an attorney. The public defenders defend any type of cases which can be; felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile, and appeals. When arriving in the courtroom they meet their clients each day. Every day they get a load of cases. Doesn’t that seem hard to keep track of? Even if the public defender was to try to turn down another case to handle, they aren’t allowed. Many states do not allow any public defenders to deny any cases. This picture is from the show called, “60 Minutes”. This episode shows the public defenders. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-new-orleans-public-defenders-decision-to-refuse-felony-cases/

This is a link to watch is you would like!!

Normally because public defenders are so overloaded with the cases they are given, they end up encouraging the client to admit they’re guilty to get rid of the case. This seems pretty unfair to those clients, they are in a time of need of someone to help them. They need someone who cares about their case but all they're worried about is to get rid of their case. The percentage of cases with public defenders are 47%, while the assigned attorney is 12%.  The estimated time a public defender has with a client before appearing in front of the judge is 7 minutes. The public defender is said to work on a case for less than an hour. This shows how little the effort is for the client.  This shows how a public defender is not ready to defend their client. They have no time to look into the case to see if the client is actually guilty or innocent. This picture shows that on different types of cases, the public defender's does not get the time they need to defend their client properly.

I choose this topic because of my first experience with a public defender. My sister, who is in jail, doesn’t have enough money for an attorney, so received a public defender in replacement. My sister landed herself in jail for a year for having drugs on her. I think this is unfair not only because she’s my sister, but because she didn’t have the proper defense on her side. People who commit much more violent crimes get out faster than my sister who committed a nonviolent crime. I wanted to do this because before I had my first experience, I paid no mind to how unfair the justice system can be. I think this is relevant and it affects so many people in the world and this can’t go on forever because it’s unfair! The overload of cases on a public defender’s plate needs to come to an end.

The issue of the public defender's doesn’t stand out much if you don’t experience it. My hopes in this is to help people understand that the way the public defenders are being worked and the clients are suffering. I’ve learned how the system started and actual statics of the public defenders. I hope to find out the estimated cost of an attorney and the impact on the people in jail because their public defenders did them no justice.

You can go to my document on the websites I used here...