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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Public Defender Offices

     Traditionally, the country's legal apparatus favors the office of the district attorney. The states instinctively supported the creating of prosecutors' officers because of a political will to solve crime and punish those who commit it. By contrast, the need to provide counsel for poor people accused of crimes is a burden that the U.S. Supreme Court thrust on the states in the sixties. Thus with a more popular mandate, prosecutors tend to receive more money and resources. For instance, Congress spent $26 million building the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, to train prosecutors. There is a similar school in Reno, Nevada, for training state and local judges. No federally funded counterpart exists for defense lawyers. Also, the Bureau of Justice Assistance gives federal aid to state and local law enforcement agencies…with no equivalent moneys for the defense….[All this may be true but the American legal system--the presumption of innocence, the Bill of Rights, and due process--is geared to help the accused.]

Amy Bach, Ordinary Justice, 2009 

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