Tuesday, September 15, 2015

John Oliver stands up for overworked public defenders, and explains how their caseloads and lack of resources negatively impact their clients.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

According to the host of Last Week Tonight, everyone in America is aware of the part public defenders play in our court system, but few know how overworked they are, giving the example of Fresno defenders handling up to 1,000 cases per year — or nearly three per day. 

“With caseloads that heavy, public defenders cannot possibly prepare an effective defense,” Oliver explained. “A study in New Orleans, a few years back, found the city had some part-time defenders who could only spend an average of seven minutes per case. And that is not long enough to prepare anything. If I only had seven minutes to prepare this show, I would definitely not be talking about public defenders right now. I’d be desperately trying to fill time right now by listing the Muppets in order of f*ckability.” 

Oliver said that with caseloads so high, the system is known as “meet ’em and plead ’em,” with the vast majority of cases being resolved through plea bargaining whether the accused is guilty or not. 

Furthermore, despite the Miranda warning’s promise that “an attorney will be appointed for you,” suspects in 43 states can still be billed for using a public defender regardless of their ability to pay.

Okay that fight between the judge and the public defender is  jaw dropping.

I swear Oliver is quickly becoming the voice for justice in this country.


  1. Anonymous4:45 PM

    And boy do we need a voice of justice in this country...by all means take a trip to Alaska…go see the Birthright Owner of that trust fund they stole…crucified the poor kid for almost 50 years now…oh and now that said owner is going to Geneva with this intel? keep every “excuse” going to keep the $$$
    Pay backs will be HUGE to those that did these crimes…in the US…UK…
    So go take your “happy pill” now or a nap…face wipe…the adults have to get back to business!

    1. Anonymous4:44 AM

      You keep posting these obscure messages and never answer questions about the meaning of them. Would appreciate knowing who this over 50 'kid' is and who is doing the crucifying. If it has being going on for almost 50 years, as you say, that would rule out the Palins but perhaps not the Heaths. You mention the UK as being another place where these crimes were perpetrated, as well; but, as far as we know, the Heaths have never resided in the United Kingdom. It appears that whomever these criminals are will remain a mystery as I suspect you have no intention, at this time, to divulge their names.

  2. Anonymous5:06 PM

    I love that John Oliver is still around after we've lost Colbert and Stewart. I can't get into "The Nightly Show" and I guess I'll give the new "Daily Show" a try but I've seen Trevor Noah doing standup and he doesn't seem like a fitting replacement for a genius like Jon Stewart. So glad to have John Oliver at the helm and I hope he keeps plugging away for a good long time!

  3. Anonymous7:08 PM

    I was once accused of something I didn't do. I know, they all say that...

    Anyway, I was assigned a public pretender ( that's what we called them), and was given the chance to plead from a felony down to a misdemeanor. The PP wanted me to fight it. UNTIL he was assigned the case of the chainsaw murderer.

    Then he told me outright, he had no time for me and to take the plea. It was take the plea, or be my own lawyer and possibly spend 5 years in jail. I took the plea.

    1. Anonymous3:25 AM

      You sound qualified to handle your own case. You were falsely accused. Should be simple enough. Stand up and tell the truth to the Judge and Prosecutor. Save $$$$

    2. Anonymous5:44 AM

      You didn't have to take the plea, but it isn't always as easy as just standing up and telling the truth.

      PDs aren't pretenders, they are seriously overworked and have very little time to give each case the attention it deserves. I have a couple friends who are public defenders in Denver. When they get a murder case, especially one where the death penalty is a possibility, they work an unbelievable amount of time...they have to for due process reasons. I'm talking, never home because they are locked in their office working on the case.

      They are also well-educated and experienced and have CHOSEN to be public defenders because everyone has the right to quality counsel, even guilty people. The fact that they don't have enough time isn't their fault. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

      This is the problem with the underfunded PD system. If you can't afford your own attorney, one will be provided for you, but s/he won't have enough time to really work on your case because he's got 100 other cases to work on.

  4. There is a really good HBO doc called Gideon's Army. It will
    depress the hell out of you---and give you a glimmer of hope
    (but not too much) about the PDs and what they are up against in this country. If you knew how many there actually are----you'd weep.

  5. Anonymous3:12 AM

    Better thank your lucky stars for our USA public defenders. If you want to represent yourself you can!!!!. and should FOR FREE. There is NO decline in business in medical or legal fields. Business is booming. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH AND STAY OUT OF TROUBLE. you will get a bill

  6. Anonymous3:18 AM

    This guy is a force to be reckoned with!

  7. Anonymous3:22 AM

    Public Defenders are not free. Taxpayers pay for the public defenders and the opposed fines and penalty help pay the court cost also. Repeat common drunks and criminals have zero excuse and they COST ALL OF US MONEY. PD's are like ER docs. They see it all, work long hard hours, and make zero money helping society live another day.

  8. Public Defenders are like hospital interns. They are overworked and underpaid. It's there way of weeding out those that can't cut it. If you survive, you get to be a real, live lawyer. Once they've put in their time they can go into private practice and make some real money.


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