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Analyzing the US Court System

Updated on August 24, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/17/poor-rely-public-defenders-too-overworked

This article above addresses the issue related with the court personnel, specifically the public defenders. The majority of the people who are charged with serious criminal offenses are destitute. Such people have a tendency of relying on the public defenders as they are not able to hire an attorney. Public defenders are known to be the most hardworking people in the legal bar. Despite their hard work, public defenders face challenges of excess caseloads as well as underfunding. The felony caseload in Florida in 2009 was more than 500 felonies and 2225 misdemeanors per attorney. 73% of county public advocate offices surpassed the maximum required number of cases which is 400 misdemeanors and 150 felonies. Individuals who are poor in most cases receive low-quality defense as compared to their counterparts who are richer and have ways to pay. These ongoing challenges facing the public defenders hinder them from carrying out their core functions including conducting a factual investigation into the underlying charges. A lawsuit was taken to Washington State where it was discovered that public defenders took less than one hour working on an individual case, with caseloads of a thousand misdemeanors annually. The high number of caseloads results in excessive trial delays. A lot of pre-trial detainees are confined in jails for years even before being proved guilty of committing a crime. It is also evident the racial implications, and the public advocate systems have connections. A majority of the blacks have been found in the criminal justice system. This group carries the bulk of the underfunding and overworking issue of the public defender systems. A contract was made in Georgia which represented the juvenile defendants. This agreement stated the need to double the public defender staffs as well as authorized the lawyers to have a meeting with their clients within the first three days of custody. The department of justice supported this agreement. Employing adequate defense system entails using a large sum of money which will have an effect on the taxpayer. It was reported by the Office of Indigent Legal Services that having the caseloads brought to a manageable level would need an additional $105 million annually.

I totally agree with the writer on the challenges facing public defenders. The reason is that having an employee overworked yet at the same time underpaid leads to demoralization and poor job performance. The employee, in this case, the public defenders try to manage the little time they have with the heavy caseloads hence they work on a case for less than an hour.

The writer has presented the article in a fair manner as he is fighting for the right working environment for the public defenders as well as the rights of the detainees who spend a lot of days in jail before being proven guilty. Also, the writer has included the black people who are in most cases marginalized in the US.

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