Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Report Finds Massive Waste In Treatment of Misdemeanor Cases

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has issued a report highly critical of the way the criminal justice system deals with petty, nonviolent misdemeanors. The report claims that if many of these offenses were treated as infractions, rather than crimes, it would save millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars and better protect the rights of defendants without hurting public safety.

The report is entitled, "Minor Crimes, Massive Waste: The Terrible Toll of America's Misdemeanor Courts." To download a PDF version of this report, click here.

Researchers at the Seattle University School of Law visited misdemeanor courts in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. These researchers discovered that the average number of cases handled by public defenders in Benton County, Washington was 360, 380 in Seattle, 2,403 in Chicago, 2,502 in Utah and 18,720 in New Orleans. The researchers recommend that public defenders should not have more than 400 cases a year. Misdemeanor courts are the main reason for this heavy case load.

The findings are scheduled to be presented to the House Judiciary Committee on June 4.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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