Facing Budget Cuts And Are A Financial Crisis

2451 Words10 Pages
We have read in the news recently that there are plenty of public defenders who are facing budget cuts and are in a financial crisis. A present day example of this can be seen by how a chief public defender in New Orleans has had to resort to turning clients away due to a lack of resources. However, it is not only due to money that they have had to turn clients away, these client who may have no other means of representation; they also believe that they can no longer perform up to the standards of the Constitution and their own code of ethics. As such, it could be argued that the public defenders can’t provide ‘effective counsel’ when there are too many cases, which would violate the defendant’s right. They would seem to be caught in a catch 22, where they are doomed if they take on all the cases or they are sued if they don’t. The public defender’s office in New Orleans is understaffed, currently employing 42 overworked lawyers, in relation to the 72 attorneys and 20 investigators it employed in 2008. The New Orleans chief public defender Bunton was quoted saying “As we shrink, that problem grows because we have more cases and fewer lawyers to handle them… A lot of our experienced lawyers chose to find something else to do… [and] in accordance with the ethics of the Constitution, I can 't give the most important cases to inexperienced lawyers." These go against the standards set by the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice and the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and
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