Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The 2009 proposed budget that reduces the number of public defenders in Seattle, Washington, prompted Public Defender Kelly Canary to call the proposal "McJustice". The King County Proposal would allow for an "expedited felony" docket with four 1/2 time attorneys: for each case, an attorney would handle 725 expedited felonies which would allow for a total time of one hour and twenty minutes per client. 

King County is not the only place where the cost of doing justice does not include quality counsel for the accused. Seven states are refusing to take on new cases or have sued to limit them. In Georgia, several human rights organizations demanded that the state spend more money on death penalty defense counsel so that those accused of capital murder get adequate defense. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, public defenders stopped accepting cases in child protection cases. In Florida, budget cuts are forcing some offices to stop accepting clients facing lesser charges. Michigan public defenders have also referred to the system as "McJustice", and New York has referred to the assembly line approach. Full article here.

But what do we do with that pesky Constitutional guarantee that the accused has the right to counsel which, in order to be meaningful, must including proper investigation and zealous advocacy? McJustice?...then we want fries with that.

No comments: