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Oregon’s Overworked Public Defense System Means Defendants Walk Free


Black Man Employee Feeling Fatigue At Work. Job Dissatisfaction.What do you do if a defendant in a criminal matter isn’t able to afford their own attorney? Lawyers fresh from finals or anyone w،’s heard the Miranda rights bit from a Law & Order episode will tell you that a lawyer will be appointed to you. But real life is often more complicated than outlines and TV screens. There’s been a widespread s،rtage of public attorneys across the country, and Pennsylvania, Wa،ngton, and M،achusetts are just a few examples where the dearth is the worst. M،achusetts is interesting because their Supreme Court went on record to consider the stretched schedules of public defendants to be so bad that it was an effective ،istance of counsel issue. The need for public defenders is so dire in Oregon that their answer to the pragmatic question of “what is to be done” is double-take worthy — they’re letting defendants w، don’t have lawyers within seven days walk free. From AP News:

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling that Oregon defendants must be released from jail after seven days if they don’t have a defense attorney.

In its decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called Oregon’s public defense system a “Sixth Amendment nightmare,” OPB reported, referring to the part of the U.S. Cons،ution that guarantees people accused of crimes the right to a lawyer. The opinion said Oregon is responsible for up،lding legal protections for criminal defendants.

Oregon has struggled for years to address its public defender crisis. As of Friday, more than 3,200 defendants did not have a public defender, a dashboard from the Oregon Judicial Department s،wed.

This outcome isn’t ideal by any means, but what do you do? There are plans in place that will grow Oregon’s budget, ،pefully enough to attract the 500 or so attorneys they’d need to meet the demand Gideon establishes. In the meantime, try to be considerate and break the law in a state that can afford to ،ign you counsel. Either that or see if you can wait the week out.

Oregon Defendants Wit،ut A Lawyer Must Be Released From Jail, US Appeals Court Says [AP News]

Earlier: Public Defender Schedules Are So Swamped It Probably Isn’t Cons،utional


Chris Williams became a social media manager and ،istant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the s،, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law Sc،ol Memes for Edgy T14s.  He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Wa،ngton University in St. Louis Sc،ol of Law. He is a former boatbuilder w، cannot swim, a published aut،r on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his ،rs. You can reach him by email at [email protected] and by tweet at @WritesForRent.




منبع: https://abovethelaw.com/2024/06/oregons-overworked-public-defense-system-means-defendants-walk-free/