In good times, funding for Public Defenders is hard to come by. But when the economy starts to slide and funding becomes an issue for governmental agencies, funding for Public Defenders becomes a crisis issue. It's a vicious cycle. When the economy declines, crime rates tend to increase and more and more defendants are unable to hire an attorney. At the same time, local and state governments are taking in less and less tax revenue making funding of Public Defenders a serious problem. The problem has become so bad, that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed lawsuits in Connecticut, Washington, Montana and Pennsylvania. All of the ACLU lawsuits have resulted in improved legal services for indigent defendants. In Georgia a lawsuit has been filed by criminal defendants claiming that they were held too long because their public defenders had inadequate funding and asking that the charges against them be dismissed. When Public Defenders are not adequately funded, case loads increase for existing public defenders increasing the risk that defendants will be wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. The wrongful imprisonment will ultimately cost the taxpayers more money since they will be paying to imprison these wrongfully convicted defendants.
Budget problems are also starting to affect federal prosecutors. The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General reports that staff shortages in the New York office of the federal prosecutor is affecting the handling of cases. The result has been that prosecutions for white collar crimes has been lax and uneven throughout the United States. Each case requires massive effort and budget problems have been blamed for unfilled positions in the prosecutor's office.
For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys, visit us at www.thelegaldefenders.com or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.