This is a clip from Last Week Tonight where John Oliver talks about public defenders in the U.S. We all know that anyone who is arrested for a crime and can’t afford their own attorney has to be provided one by the state. However, this clip sheds light on the reality of these cases and shows how flawed this system is.
Since 60-90% of people arrested for a crime need a publicly funded attorney, these public defenders have way more cases than they can handle. Also, 40% of county defenders don’t even have any in house investigators. This leads to ineffective defenses and unprepared cases and public defenders urging their clients to take a plea deal, leading to 95% of criminal cases never even making it to trial, with some people only pleading out because they feel they have no alternative.
Worst of all, in 43 states you can be billed for a public defender, including an application fee for the defender, and if you lose/plead out you may be required to pay the court fees for your attorney AND the prosecution.
In the beginning of the video they show a quote from the Supreme Court Ruling giving everyone a right to a lawyer that said: “any person who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him”. However, with the quality of counsel they are getting, the poor don’t get the fair trial they deserve.
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