Budget Cuts, Hiring Freezes Impact Caseloads of Public Defender’s Offices, Which Means You Should Hire A Private Criminal Defense Attorney
In the landmark 1963 case of Gideon v. Wright, the Supreme Court held that every person accused of a serious crime, whether they could afford an attorney or not, had a right to effective assistance of counsel. From this case came the birth of the modern Public Defender’s office, implemented with the goal of providing effective legal assistance to those who could not, or did not wish to, pay for a private attorney.
Unfortunately, times are changing. With the current economic climate resulting in state budget cuts in nearly every sector, the Public Defender’s office has not been immune. In fact, several southern California counties have completely stopped hiring at a time when additional attorneys are desperately needed. In fact, with a normal attrition rate due to retirement and public defenders moving into the private sector, the total number of attorneys at Public Defender’s offices in some counties has decreased while the number of defendants being charged with criminal offenses has remained steady or even increased.
The obvious result of fewer attorneys and more defendants is each public defender has a much higher caseload and the same number of hours per week with which to deal with those additional cases. This means less time to negotiate a plea with the district attorney, less time to prepare an important motion to be presented to the judge, less time to investigate evidence and potential witnesses to the case, and less time to focus on the individual charged with a crime. This leads to other difficulties as well.
In some cases the caseloads of the public defender may lead to the lawyer that is appointed to suggest that you accept the initial offer made by the District Attorney. Prior to accepting any offer from the public defender you need to strongly consider contacting the Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Wallin and Klarich to provide you with a second opinion. In many cases when clients are wise enough to contact our office we determine that the offer that is being made by the prosecution is not an offer that the accused should accept.
By retaining an experienced and reliable attorney from Wallin & Klarich, you can be certain that you and your case will receive the individual attention it deserves. Contact a Wallin & Klarich attorney today at 1-888-280-6839 to speak to an attorney. Also, visit us online at www.wklaw.com. to learn more about your case and what can be done.