Defendants Struggle to Receive Adequate Legal Representation

 Posted on October 10,2023 in Criminal Defense

Untitled---2023-10-10T150703.940.jpgIn the United States, people who are arrested and charged with criminal offenses will often face disadvantages as their cases proceed through the criminal justice system. Prosecutors have many resources at their disposal, and they will use a variety of tactics to secure convictions. The resources available to defendants are much more limited, and those who are being held in prison will often be unsure about what they can do to be released and how they can defend against the charges they are facing. While people in these situations are supposed to have the right to be represented by an attorney, their options for legal representation are often limited, and they may not receive the effective counsel they deserve.

Problems Affecting Public Defenders

The case of Gideon v. Wainwright, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963, established the right to legal representation for criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney. Following this decision, states established public defender offices that employ attorneys who are appointed to represent defendants in these situations. Unfortunately, these systems are often under a great deal of strain, and public defenders are required to take on large numbers of cases in short periods of time, which can affect their ability to effectively represent their clients.

The need for public defenders is evident, with around 80 percent of people who are arrested and charged with crimes being unable to afford to hire an attorney. However, more and more defendants are finding that they are unable to receive the representation they deserve. In many cases, public defenders do not receive adequate funding. Because of this, fewer attorneys are required to take on more cases. Without the ability to dedicate sufficient time and effort to each client, public defenders may not be able to effectively advocate for defendants, and this can lead to unjust results in criminal cases.

Defendants are also affected by inconsistencies in when they can receive representation from public defenders and when they may be required to pay to receive legal services. In many cases, defendants do not have the right to attorney representation in bail hearings. Without proper legal counsel, defendants may be required to pay large amounts of bail before they can be released, or they may be held in confinement unnecessarily because they cannot afford to pay bail. Studies have found that defendants who have legal representation are 20 percent more likely to be released without being required to pay cash bail.

While legal representation in criminal cases is crucial, and defendants are guaranteed the right to an attorney, the criminal justice system in the United States has failed to uphold this right. With the low salaries provided to public defenders and the requirement for these attorneys to take on more cases than they can adequately handle, many defendants do not receive the representation they deserve. As a result, the vast majority of cases are resolved through plea bargains, and fewer than one percent of all criminal cases are tried before juries. 

Contact Our Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer

While public defenders play an invaluable role in the criminal justice system, they may not be able to provide the proper representation due to limited time and resources. In many cases, defendants can benefit by hiring their own lawyer to represent them. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, our Hartford criminal defense attorney can make sure all legal issues will be handled correctly during a criminal case. We will work to ensure that a person’s rights are protected while defending against a conviction and addressing any other legal concerns that may arise. To learn how we can help defend against criminal charges, contact us at 860-290-8690.

Share this post:
Logo Image 50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108
Phone: 860-290-8690
Fax: 860-290-8697
We are available by appointment during evening and weekend hours, if necessary.

FB   Twitter   Our Blog