If You Can’t Afford an Attorney One Will Be Appointed To You (Maybe?) – Hernando County Criminal Lawyer Ocala Criminal Lawyer Marion County
Earlier this year the Chief District Defender for the New Orleans Parish, Derwyn Bunton announced that his office would stop accepting many serious felony cases. Mr. Bunton has made this move in desperation, as he argues that his office is so severely underfunded and undermanned that he believes his office is incapable of providing adequate representation to those who have been accused of a crime. Although this move may be of a political nature to attempt to try and derive more funding for his office, Mr. Bunton has highlighted an issue that goes on all over this country.
The Sixth amendment to the United States constitution states as follows: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
Our Founding Father’s of this great nation, saw it so vital that one under the threat of prosecution by the Government have proper legal representation, that they included it in the Bill of Rights. But unfortunately, in this country, and sometimes in the state of Florida, underfunded public defender’s offices are sometimes forced to provide de facto non-representation, because the caseloads are too high and the staff is insufficient. And this of course hurts the poor and indigent as they are the ones who qualify to be represented by a public defender.
There is a public perception out there that private criminal attorney’s are “better” than public defenders, which in my years of experience isn’t necessarily true. There are varying degrees of competent public defenders as well as private attorneys. Public defenders often dedicate their lives to protecting the constitutional rights of the indigent without receiving much in the way of a paycheck and even less in the way of appreciation.
The truth is that the public defenders are often more than competent, but the system is broken. The reason there is sometimes a disparity in the quality of representation between public defenders and private attorneys is that private attorneys often have dramatically smaller caseloads, which results in the ability to dedicate more time and resources to a particular case.
If you have been accused of a crime and need representation, call Cagan & Cagan today for a free consultation at (352) 683-9100 or (904) 990-4747.