Systemic Failure of the Judicial Branches

Wrongful conviction, the ultimate sign of a criminal justice system’s breakdown and failure, has been documented in too many cases,” the decision said.  In a 4-3 decision, the highest court for the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals (think Supreme court if you don’t live in New York) is allowing a class action suit to move forward that challenges the sufficiency of counsel appointed for indigent clients.  The court determined that the “suit, which had been bitterly opposed by the state, could proceed because it posed fundamental questions about the fairness of the criminal justice system.”  YAY for this court!!!  And BOO HISS to the state!

The ruling was something of a milestone after decades of reports and findings by state commissions that New York’s locally financed system for meeting the constitutional requirement to provide lawyers for indigent defendants, which varies greatly by county, is inadequate, with inattentive, unavailable, poorly trained and supervised lawyers handling huge caseloads. In many counties, the ruling noted, poor defendants are routinely arraigned without lawyers at all during initial appearances, where bail is set and many defendants are sent to jail.”  And why should you care about that instant jailing?  Because you're paying ENORMOUS taxes to fund keeping people in jail who shouldn't be there!  It isn't all that unusual for those finally convicted to get "time served" because they've been there 3-5 times longer than a normal sentence would have been before they even get to trial and YOU paid for their accommodations when a stay at the Hilton, including room service, would have been cheaper.

The way is now cleared for a trial or a settlement by New York, as has been the result in several other states that have faced such challenges. There have been similar class-action challenges over public defense systems in states like Connecticut, Indiana, Minnesota and Montana that have ended with inconsistent decisions and settlements. Last month, the Michigan Supreme Court permitted a similar challenge to proceed.”  Every single one of those states has indigent defense that looks stellar compared to what we provide in the not so great state of Texas.

“Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court held that criminal defendants have a right to meaningful counsel, the state’s highest court has held that New York may well be violating that right every day,” said Daniel Greenberg, a lawyer at Schulte Roth & Zabel, which filed the suit with the New York Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Greenberg was referring to the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling, Gideon v. Wainwright, that declared poor people facing criminal charges have the right to a lawyer.  50 years!  How sad and sick is that; that we’ve been and just go right on convicting innocent people for 5 DECADES and in the face of regular releases of those being proved innocent with DNA?  What is wrong with us that we collectively stand by and watch the innocent convicted?

Does it really make you feel safe to send the innocent to jail to be trained to be criminals?  Oh, yes, many of the innocent come out criminals because every other option has been taken from them by that wrongful conviction.  Are you starting to see the cost of this ass backwards system?

The three-judge dissent… acknowledged that “there is no doubt that there are inadequacies in the delivery of indigent legal services” but said that such a complaint should be addressed to the Legislature.  In other words, the dissent agrees that the system is abysmal but they want to pass the buck.  Just amazing that high courts have their thumbs on anyone who dares represent others, claiming unto themselves extraordinary inherent powers, but, when it comes time to exercise those powers to benefit the public in need, they want to pass THAT to the legislature!  Hooray for the one true conservative judge who crossed over to help prevent that buck passing!

The state’s defender system consists of Legal Aid societies, private lawyers who are appointed by the courts and local public defender offices. With more than 80 percent of defendants facing criminal charges unable to afford to pay for lawyers, public defender systems have come to define most criminal-justice systems in the United States.

The author of that article calls this a “liberal” ruling.  Hooey!  There are 7 judges and 4 of them are Republicans.  The only disagreement is WHO should fix this particular jumble f**k; all are in agreement that it is indeed just exactly that.  Beyond that, if one is truly conservative, one wants the defendants to have extraordinary defense so that those convicted are actually guilty and then the hammer can come down hard and fast at sentencing.  If you’re really for law and order, THIS is what you want; GOOD and unimpeachable convictions.

“more than 80 percent of defendants facing criminal charges unable to afford to pay for lawyers” and that probably holds true for those facing quasi-criminal suits to extract, through civil seizure/forfeiture and/or condemnation, what little property one may own.  And, sadly, the legislatures have been allowed to permit governments to thieve property and violate fundamental rights thus far simply by calling the statutes “civil” when they are anything but.  I ask again: What is wrong with us that we collectively stand by and watch the innocent convicted?  Make no mistake, they are convicted and punished, almost always under poorer circumstances than what is described above, property spirited away (often before even civil suits are laid) and never returned, appeals beyond the piss ant court level denied (if any court hearing was had at all), victims of government gone badly wrong for decades now; the proceeds of these illegal takings used to fund more takings and other forms of abuse of us all.

Those of you who flame and defame and feel safe in doing so because someone has been convicted while having little or no legal representation and in the face of multiple government attorneys come to hang them high for the benefit of the government or some activist agenda should really think twice because the rate of wrongful convictions is outrageously high.  Those of you willing to defame based upon allegations alone need to think thrice OR MORE.  Yeah, media and, I’m talking to YOU (amongst others).

“First they came for…”  I promise you that sooner or later they will come for you or yours.  Help stop them now!

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