Skip to main content

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder listens to a question at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW) - RTR3ENGY
Attorney General Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder weighs in on the sequester-imposed cuts to federal public defender offices that are cutting jobs, cutting paychecks, creating delays, weakening the representation defendants get, and in some cases pushing cases to less effective, higher paid private court-appointed attorneys. Holder writes:
In stark contrast to many state defender programs, the federal public defender system has consistently served as a model for efficiency and success. According to court statistics, as many as 90 percent of federal defendants qualify for court-appointed counsel, and the majority of criminal cases prosecuted by the Justice Department involve defendants represented by well-qualified, hardworking attorneys from federal defender offices. Yet draconian cuts have forced layoffs, furloughs (averaging 15 days per staff member) and personnel reductions through attrition. Across the country, these cuts threaten the integrity of our criminal justice system and impede the ability of our dedicated professionals to ensure due process, provide fair outcomes and guarantee the constitutionally protected rights of every criminal defendant. [...]

This shameful state of affairs is unworthy of our great nation, its proud history and our finest legal traditions. In purely fiscal terms, the cuts imposed by sequestration defy common sense because they will end up costing taxpayers much more than they save. The right to counsel is guaranteed under the Constitution. On the federal level, this means that every defendant who is unable to afford a lawyer must be represented by either a federal public defender or an appointed attorney from a panel of private lawyers. While federal defender offices are staffed by experienced, dedicated professionals operating in a framework that has proved both effective and efficient, panel attorneys often possess less experience and incur significantly higher fees. An increased reliance on panel attorneys may result in less desirable outcomes as well as significantly higher costs.

Not that Republicans in Congress care about the kind of defendants who can't afford high-priced lawyers, but you'd think the basic idea of justice might hold some appeal. (Sorry, that was a joke. Couldn't help myself. Of course not.)

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site