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View Diary: 70-year-old great-grandmother fired for helping free an innocent man (142 comments)

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  •  So We should withold the facts of the law from (10+ / 0-)

    those involved in the process?

     I don't get that.

    If the law is so complicated that a reasonably intelligent lawyer cannot find this and provide it to his client, then something is terribly wrong.

    I don't care which side he is on. I want every case to benefit from due process, I want both sides to be able to access the statutes they need to present a good case on behalf of their client.

    Otherwise--what are we paying for again? It's like throwing money down a hole for the defense, without even the benefit of landing on it, when one ends up in jail, in this case.

    Harm done--beyond the harm to this man's professional character and his social standing, and the harm done to his earning power and to his family in the same vein, but do you have any idea what happens to rapists in jail?

    Holy crap.

    I would love nothing more for the woman who was raped to have her day in court and to face the perpetrator and get justice for the harm done to her.

    But no person should be declared guilty for the purpose of giving the public the illusion of closure.

    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

    by GreenMother on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:24:22 PM PDT

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    •  No - we should not withhold. (4+ / 0-)

      We should fund the public defense system better than adequately AND if you scroll down thread you will see that I argue that any convict whether indigent or not should have access to at least one DNA test without any judicial review.  I believe it should just be a matter of course if they want it.

      I'm not arguing for injustice to stand, but I am saying that it would be better if the court workers weren't freelancing.  And the truth is that more often than not, they would freelance for the prosecutors than the defense, so, be careful  what you wish for if you want this kind of vigilante justice to take hold.

    •  Also, if you scroll down, you will see that (5+ / 0-)

      I linked to a story about the dramatic cuts that are coming to the Federal Public Defender's Office.  If you want to get outraged, that's where your energy should be going - and then please, I beg you, to then use the momentum to not just preserve that workforce, but also expand it.  Then if you have any energy left over, work in your state to get more funding for the State Public Defender's offices. Then, let's see if Legal Aid  can be expanded writ large.  It is bad out there for people accused of crimes these days, really bad.

      •  I know, I have watched it unfold for friends (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, Buckeye Nut Schell

        personally. And there was nothing to be done.

        Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

        by GreenMother on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:53:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have watched friends labor to manage (4+ / 0-)

          80+ defense cases at a time.

          •  So what's your point? (0+ / 0-)

            You think that watching someone juggle 80 defenses is worse than watching someone's family ripped apart by  bigotry of a DA is somehow more [what should I fill in the blank with here?]

            I don't know what to make of your posts here. I cannot relate to you at this point, because I am not sure what angle you are working.

            I belong to the segment of America that would have to mortgage their lives if I had to hire a retainer for any reason. Too much for legal aid, not enough for a good lawyer.

            I have watched others in my shoes go down in flames because of that. I have watched people spend their retirement just to keep their heads above water.

            Sometimes, the legal eagles are part of the problem.

            Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

            by GreenMother on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 05:38:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  80 cases is too many cases - the point is (0+ / 0-)

              that the "legal eagles" are human beings and can only take on so much before they start to drop balls - and that's because there's not enough funding to add more human beings to the pool of folks who would work on these cases.

              The point is that our judicial system is both inequitably and poorly funded.

              Anyway, the integrity of the system is important.  Funding the defense options is important.  If you want to protect those families, that is.

              •  You seem to want to monopolize the criticism (0+ / 0-)

                process. That isn't helping the discussion go forward.

                For instance: taking a more sympathetic stance:

                Yes, the working poor, and the barely middle class can also be at the mercy of a broken system. I offer that part of that problem is that when affordable, good lawyers do arise, they are quickly overwhelmed by a huge caseload.

                --totally different tone.

                You still express your frustration from your unique position, without alienating those who are expressing frustration from another angle.

                This fosters the understanding of interdependence of low quality representation, exacerbated by a broken, corrupt system that cannot self regulate at any level and cries out for reform in a multitude of ways.

                Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                by GreenMother on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 08:41:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

                  Right out of the gate when you entered the thread, you decided that I didn't care about the guy because I believe that relying on the kindness of courthouse employees is not a solution to the problem and because I believe that the ethics rules that are in place are there for very good reasons.

                  You went after me for not caring about justice which was totally wrong - not wrong for going after me - but wrong in the sense that you drew exactly the wrong conclusion about what I was saying in that particular comment in the thread.

                  Then you went on to blame the public defenders and to cast aspersions on lawyers working in this arena.  Again totally your right to think and do that, but you are wrong about what the real problems in our justice system are.

                  Like the ethics involved in this particular case of the helpful courthouse worker, the layers upon layers of inequity built into our system right now are complex - but they come down largely to the question of funding and resource allocation.

                  The Police and Prosecution generally have healthy budgets.
                  The Public Defender system all of the country is under siege and being defunded.
                  Public Defenders tend to have no where to go in terms of rising through the ranks whereas Prosecutors tend to be the favorites in appointed and elected judgeships.  
                  Most Judges start out as Prosecutors - not PD's - which to me is the most chilling aspect of our criminal justice system having known a few Prosecutors and understanding their biases.
                  Juries and the Public are more likely to believe the Police than any other witness in a trial and most jurors tend to believe that the accused would not be in the Defendant's seat if they were not guilt of a crime - or "something".  
                  Public Defenders are underpaid and overworked.  
                  The Federal Prosecutor's office is suffering no cuts as a result of the Sequester - the Federal Public Defender's office may see cuts in personnel around 40% because of how the Sequester was designed and applied in this area - the Federal Prosecutors are taking advantage of the furlough days when the PD's office is closed, I am told.

                  These are all trends that have been in the works for a couple of decades now.  The priority of policies in the judicial system has been trending away from "justice" and trending towards a system that cripples the defense and gives clear advantage to the prosecution.

                  Americans confuse "Law and Order" with "Justice".  That's the kind of perverted thinking that saved George Zimmerman's ass after he killed a kid for walking home too slowly (or whatever insanity that defense was).

                  I am glad that the lady helped the man successfully petition for a DNA test, but she's not the answer to our ails.  

                  I lived in a small, fairly corrupt, third-world country for a while.  It was really taxing and stressful to try to get anything government related done there because the reality was that on most things you had to know and be liked well enough by the lady at the courthouse; the lady at immigration; the lady at customs; the lady at the DMV; the car inspection guy etc. well enough to get through basic government transactions.  Basically, I know what it is like to live in a society where your only hope is finding someone sympathetic to you or your situation - and hope that you or someone close to you hasn't pissed someone off - in order to live your life.  There was nothing remotely just about that environment.  Mostly it was a biased, partial and quixotic experience.  I missed the States a lot on those days when I had to do something involving the government.

                  •  No I am just confused why you say you care but (0+ / 0-)

                    then seem to jump all over people on the thread. You are all over the place.

                    It's not the first time I have seen professionals get proprietary over their profession, when faced with a combination of personal frustration and public criticism.

                    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                    by GreenMother on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 05:28:31 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  The law isn't withheld (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, twigg, Buckeye Nut Schell

      You can find out pretty much anything you want about the law and the rules of judicial procedure. It shouldn't take you much longer than teaching yourself matrix algebra, quantum mechanics, or how to do open heart surgery.

      If you have a reasonably clean record you could also go to school and study law, take a bar exam and practice for a while. Either approach takes some time and some money, but you aren't forced to be represented by an attorney unless you are in a fiduciary relationship.

      Most prosecutors believe its their job to do the best they can to convict everybody who comes before them. Defense attorney's take the opposite approach, judges are supposed to just act as competent administrators of the rules. Sometimes you just get lucky and the clerk mentions something that saves your bacon.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:36:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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