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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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How public defenders are suffering across the U.S.

What can be done when funds and public defenders are scarce? John Stuart, Minnesota State Public Defender, wrote an editorial in the Star Tribune back in March on the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright to call attention to the issues facing the public defense system in our nation. It seems, writes Stuart, that access to public counsel is at risk – both locally and nationally.

 

Gideon v. Wainwright established every person’s right to legal counsel, even if they couldn’t afford a lawyer. This right was already articulated in the U.S. constitution, but the 1963 Supreme Court case made state-appointed public defenders a legal right.

 

States want to provide quality legal defense, and Minnesota is no exception. In the face of what you might call a public defense crisis, Minnesota’s doing a lot – like providing well-educated, passionate people who practice law and work long hours every day to try and accomplish their case load.

 

But that’s the problem: really long hours. Minnesota public defense lawyers are overworked, trying to handle 250 new felony cases every year when the American Bar Association says 150 should be the limit.

 

Take a look at the infographic below, illustrating and summarizing the crisis on a local and national scale alike.

 

This infographic was created on behalf of the Law Office of Carolyn Agin Schmidt. Please share it so that more people can learn about the status of criminal representation in the U.S.

 

Brooke McDonald writes and blogs for Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Carolyn Agin Schmidt.

 

Our Blog

Are Technical Probation Violations in IL on Hold Right Now?

COVID-19 | Probation Violations

While probation offices across Illinois are closed or operating with fewer employees due to COVID-19, there may be a decrease in technical probation violations resulting in any real punishments.

For many years, criminal justice researchers have gathered a lot of data about whether or not punishments for non-criminal probation violations are helpful to anyone. With many probation offices changing the way they do things during the COVID-19 pandemic, that question is being asked again.

So what is the difference between

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Illinois Prisoners Have Rights — Are They Being Violated?

Prisoners Rights | Early Release | Criminal Defense

Regardless of how a person winds up in prison, all prisoners’ rights are the same. This is true even during the current pandemic or any other natural disaster for that matter.

One of those rights is personal safety. To help protect that right and to prevent further COVID-19 infections in the state prison system, certain inmates are being released early.

The concerted effort, however, has since given way to public questions about precisely who has been released and whether or

[...]
Law Offices of Andrew Weisberg