Monday, March 24, 2014

Here's What Happens When Public Defenders Are Overworked and Underpaid | TakePart

Here's What Happens When Public Defenders Are Overworked and Underpaid | TakePart



We all know how celebrity justice goes: Thanks to high-powered and pricey attorneys, troubled stars routinely exercise their get-out-of-jail-by-paying-big-bucks card. But some 80 percent of Americans charged with a crime can't afford a lawyer. The legal counsel they end up with might just be an overworked and underpaid public defender. 



How underpaid? You can probably guess they’re not cashing $1 million retainer checks like the Mark Geragoses of the world. Not only are these public defenders not living a life of luxury, but many live paycheck to paycheck, just like the folks they’re representing. That's what the documentary Gideon's Army reveals as it follows three Southern public defenders—Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander, and June Hardwick. The film details their struggles to uphold justice, despite caseloads of hundreds of defendants and rock-bottom salaries.
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