Equality Of Justice In The Criminal Justice System

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In the United States, the promise of “justice for all” is for many citizens too often just a promise. At almost each point at which individuals enter the system – from the moment of initial arrest, to courtroom proceedings, and eventual re-entry, the criminal justice system badly needs reform. Though constitutionally entitled to counsel, many citizens charged with criminal conduct face court proceedings without benefit of reliable counsel. Defended rights are not equal, a wealthy defended has the resources to hire a private counsel and experts, where as the poor only have access to public defenders. Although equality of justice has long been an ideal of the American system of jurisprudence, it is manifestly impossible of realization. This…show more content…
This decision has helped the defense of countless poor defendants. Monkeyshines on America. 2001 In some states public defenders come with a price, according to a report in USA TODAY, States increasingly are imposing fees on poor criminal defendants who use public defenders even when they can't pay, causing some to go without attorneys, according to two reviews of the nation's largest state criminal justice systems. A report by New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice found that 13 of the 15 states with the largest prison populations imposed some charge, including application fees, for access to counsel. "In practice, these fees often discourage individuals from exercising their constitutional right to an attorney, leading to wrongful convictions, over-incarceration and significant burdens on the operation of courts," the Brennan report concludes. In Michigan, the report says, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association found the "threat" of having to pay the full cost of assigned counsel caused misdemeanor defendants to waive their right to attorneys 95% of the…show more content…
The prosecution, the judge and the defendant all benefit when defense counsel performs in the way the Constitution envisions. The broken public defense system in our State doesn't have to be like this. It can and must be fixed. As a result of these deficiencies, many individuals facing criminal charges are compelled to appear in court without a lawyer at critical junctures, such as when bail decisions are made. This often results in unnecessary or excessive bail being set and keeps people who cannot afford it in jail awaiting trial Many public defense lawyers also fail to: meet or consult with clients at critical stages in their cases; investigate the charges against their clients or hire experts who can assist with case preparation or testify at trial; file necessary pre-trial motions; and provide meaningful consultation before clients accept plea bargains, regardless of whether a charge is appropriate or a viable defense exists.

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