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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nation's Juvenile Defense Bar Drastically Overloaded

Justice Policy Institute: Nation's Juvenile Defense Bar Drastically Overloaded


A new report from the Justice Police Institute (JPI), System Overload: The Costs of
Under-Resourcing Public Defense, documents the excessive caseloads public
defenders carry in most jurisdictions across the country. Because public defense is
not adequately funded, the report argues, defense lawyers do not have enough time
to conduct thorough investigations, or meet with and provide quality representation
for their clients. This results in adverse outcomes for their clients and contributes to
disproportionate representation of people of color and low-income individuals
behind bars.

National standards recommend that public defenders handle no more than 150
felony, 400 misdemeanor, 200 juvenile, 200 mental health, or 25 appeals per year.
According to the report, 73 percent of county-based public defender offices lacked
the requisite number of attorneys to meet caseload standards; 23 percent of these
offices had less than half of the necessary attorneys to meet caseload standards.

Furthermore, nearly 60 percent of county-based public defender offices do not have
caseload limits or the authority to refuse cases due to excessive caseloads.

August 2, 2011
Newsletter
National Juvenile Justice Network

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