Commit A Crime,Don’t Hire Lawyer,You’r Free!
OMG offers funny Cases and Laws.
Most public defenders in the U.S. will handle around 400 each cases per year…but not so in Detroit! There are only five part-time public defenders who EACH take on a staggering 2,400-2,800 cases per year, averaging just 32 minutes for each one. (Note: better think twice before committing that crime in Michigan.)
This has caused major problems for the judicial system in Detroit, and a task force is attempting to set things right. Budgets are being adjusted to allow the hiring of more attorneys, but that’s not helping matters in the mean time.
Currently, some courts don’t even allow alleged criminals to ask for an attorney when they are accused of a misdemeanor. In other courts, all the accused has to do is agree not to ask for an attorney and he or she might even be let off scot-free.
Michigan should establish statewide standards for the delivery of legal representation for the poor and it should shift the funding responsibility from the counties to the state.
These are the recommendations of the state bar association’s Judicial Crossroads Task Force, a group formed to find ways to improve the state judicial system in the face of declining financial resources.
“By almost every measure, indigent criminal defense as a whole in Michigan falls far short of accepted standards, undermining the quality of justice, jeopardizing public safety, and creating large and avoidable costs,” the group said.
Michigan is one of just seven states that leave it to each county to figure out how to fund and run legal services for people who cannot afford lawyers. This arrangement means that the quality of services varies from place to place and there is no oversight to ensure that money is well spent.
A 2008 National Legal Aid and Defender Association evaluation of the Michigan public defense system found that none of the counties were providing a constitutionally adequate level of defense for poor defendants.
Counties with the greatest need for defense for the poor are also the ones least able to afford it, that study found. Financial strain has caused many counties to set up contracts that don’t allow attorneys to spend enough time on cases and high case loads lead to frequent sentencing mistakes.
In Detroit only five part-time public defenders handle between 2,400 and 2,800 cases a year, spending an average of 32 minutes on each case. The national standard for public defenders is 400 cases per year. Some courts, according to the report, do not provide public defenders at all for misdemeanor cases, and others are so overwhelmed with cases that they will “offer to let people get out of jail for time-served if they agree not to ask for an attorney.”(Source)