Saturday, July 03, 2004
Editorial: Where's the justice?
From the RoundTable blog
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For defense lawyers. Whose clients are poor.
Bad enough to have to advocate for competent defense among politicians sure to be more eager to burnish "tough on crime" credentials - so much easier to sell, come the next election. But ask them for more money to defend criminal suspects who are poor?
Not a happy prospect in the tight-fisted commonwealth, where poverty itself seems to be regarded as a character flaw, if not a crime.
The integrity of the criminal justice system rests, though, on public confidence in its fairness: the belief that, in court, every suspect is innocent until proved guilty, and every person will be treated equally.
Given the pittance the state pays lawyers of indigent clients - $245 per case, on average, the lowest rate in the nation - the scales of justice appear to be decidedly weighted, in favor of the state.