ABA Journal

Public Defenders

648 ABA Journal Public Defenders articles.

Oregon’s overburdened public defender system is ‘buckling before our eyes’

The public defender system in Oregon is so overburdened that several hundred defendants don’t have legal representation at any given time.

Panel attorneys who represent children, indigent adults in New York courts flee low pay

Panel attorneys who represent children and indigent adults in New York family and criminal courts haven’t had a fee hike in almost two decades.

Federal court officials can be sued for alleged failure to protect public defender from sex bias, 4th Circuit rules

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a former assistant federal public defender in North Carolina can sue court officials for constitutional violations stemming from an alleged faulty investigation of sexual harassment.

JusticeText wins pitch competition at SXSW

JusticeText, a technology platform that assists public defenders with processing video and audio evidence, recently won a pitch competition at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. The creators of JusticeText were featured as 2022 Legal Rebels by the ABA Journal in February.

McConnell says SCOTUS nominee is backed by ‘soft-on-crime brigade’; Republicans plan to question her sentencing

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to address “a mishmash” of topics as they question U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during her nomination hearing next week.

Defendants want new trials because of racist Facebook posts said to be written by their lawyer

Lawyers for at least two convicted men in Massachusetts are seeking new trials because of racist and offensive Facebook posts thought to have been written by their now-deceased defense lawyer.

Innovative nonprofit organization supports public defenders and their clients

A low-income defendant. An overworked public defender. An underresourced legal system and a cash-strapped local government. Most people wouldn’t look at this scenario and immediately think “opportunity,” but that’s what sets New York City lawyer Emily Galvin-Almanza apart—and explains her innovative approach to legal reform.

New Mexico has 1/3rd the number of public defenders necessary to meet caseload, study finds

The Law Offices of the Public Defender of the State of New Mexico only has one-third of the full-time attorneys it needs to handle its adult criminal and juvenile caseloads, according to a joint study by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and Seattle-based accounting and consulting firm Moss Adams.

Law firm earned $6.8M for indigent defense since 2016, according to state’s overbilling suit

A lawyer who was once the highest-paid public defense lawyer in Maine is facing a state lawsuit contending that she and her law firm misrepresented the hours that they worked on behalf of indigent defendants.

New database tracks gender-based violence sentencing decisions in the Pacific

“The training not only showed us information about the trends in sentencing decisions, but it definitely got us thinking about a lot of things,” said Loukinikini Vili, a lawyer and the director of human rights at Samoa’s Office of the Ombudsman/National Human Rights Institution.

For some civil rights lawyers, police body camera video can be hard to come by

Many civil rights attorneys seeking body camera video find police departments, officials and judges can stand in their way. Sometimes, according to lawyers and legal experts, the video is selectively released or edited. That can leave lawyers with little choice but to file a lawsuit and use discovery and subpoena power to obtain recordings, delaying justice for families wanting a more complete picture of what happened to their loved ones. Even so, police say there are good reasons to withhold, edit or redact footage to protect the privacy rights of people who appear on camera and prevent interference in ongoing investigations.

What is the starting pay for public defenders? Low salaries discourage applicants

The median starting salary for public defenders is $63,638, according to information supplied by public defender offices in larger cities throughout the United States.

Top state court rules against public defender who sued ACLU for calling him ‘crooked’

A public defender is a public official who must prove actual malice in his defamation lawsuit against the American Civil Liberties Union for a blog post calling him “crooked,” the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled.

‘I can’t keep up with you on this stuff,’ busy trial lawyer tells Georgia justices in public defender’s libel suit

A lawyer representing an assistant public defender in a libel suit on Tuesday struggled with some oral argument questions about whether his client was a public official, finally telling the Georgia Supreme Court that he would hire someone else to “argue appellate stuff” in the future.

Public defenders say modified ShotSpotter coordinates were used to implicate client; is it a widespread problem?

Gunshot detection technology known as ShotSpotter has been used as evidence in 190 court cases even as some critics raise questions about the technology.

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