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Sep 14 2015

Criminal Justice System: Arrested Development

Most people never expect to get arrested but many who do are poor and cannot afford a lawyer to represent them, so they are provided with a public defenders. Sounds fair but is it? According to John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” it is far from fair or adequate.

John Oliver: If you’re forced to rely on “hideously broken” public defender system, “you’re f*cked”

By Scott Eric Kaufman, Salon

On “Last Week Tonight” Sunday, host John Oliver discussed the plight of those forced to rely on “the attorneys provided for you” if you can’t afford one – public defenders – and how the poor are being “charged for access to a hideously broken system.” [..]

Oliver later discussed the ordeal of a Floridian who was arrested on a traffic violation and racked up over $600 in court fees in order plead “no contest.” “They may as well as charged him an irony fee,” Oliver said, “because as it turns out, being poor in Florida is really fucking expensive.”

Arrested? John Oliver Has A Warning You Have To Hear

Ed Mazza, Huffington Post

Public defenders are so overworked that they often handle hundreds of cases — or in Fresno County, California, they handle up to 1,000 felony cases a year when state guidelines say they should only have 150.

And in New Orleans, some public defenders get an average of seven minutes to prepare a case. [..]

It’s so bad that New Orleans is turning to crowdfunding to make up its budget shortfall, Oliver said, and many states now even charge people for access to a public defender.

“We have a system where conceivably, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you, provided that you pay that attorney, which is absurd,” Oliver said. “You can’t tell people something’s free and then charge them for it. This is the American judicial system — not Candy Crush.”

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