last night’s snow down river
snow now rain–
from a green bottle
in the crotch of the bare oak
the street-walker stares
[Feb. 18, 2005]
“tinyredcheck” If you’re interested in the fairness of our criminal justice system, you need to read the recently
posted “Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Contnuing Quest for Equal Justice” (ABA Standing Committee
on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, 2004) (pointer from Legaline). I agree with each of its major Findings:
#1 Forty years after Gideon v. Wainwright, indigent defense in the United States remains
in a state of crisis, resulting in a system that lacks fundamental fairness and places poor
persons at constant risk of wrongful conviction.
#2 Funding for indigent defense services is shamefully inadequate. The lack of funding impacts
on virtually every aspect of indigent defense systems.
#3 In addition to providing constitutionally adequate representation, lawyers who defend the
indigent also are required to provide representation that is “competent,” as required by rules
of professional conduct. . . . Yet, defense lawyers for the indigent sometimes are unable to or
do not comply with this and other requirements, and as a nation we tolerate substandard
representation in indigent defense that is not acceptable practice on behalf of paying clients.
However, ethical violations routinely are ignored not only by the lawyers themselves, but also
by judges and disciplinary authorities.
I also agree that indigent defendants are far more likely to receive consistently competent representation
in a system with fulltime public defenders (with statewide monitoring and funding) than from situations
that rely heavily on assigned counsel. (see prior post)
“tinyquestionN” Norm Pattis is looking for suggestions on how law school or CLE could better help lawyers to
deal with the irrational and unhealthy demands and desires of clients (and of law firms). Stop over to Crime
& Federalism and give Norm a little counseling. [I suggested that we can learn a lot from the training given
to social workers in jobs such as Child Protective Services, and who deal daily with highly agitated, angry people, and yet remain unflappable but caring.]
Todd Zywicki at Volokh Conspiracy frets over George Mason Univ. being the “other, other George” among
the three D.C. Area colleges, pointing to ESPN coverage. When I was a college student in the late ’60′s, going
to Georgetown, there was only one other George in town. Of course, there is no confusing George Washington
and Georgetown with GMU in the great Ideology Games played out daily here in weblog world and Washington.
“how creative design can help strengthen the impact of a blog.” I looked at Symtym and Patent Baristas, and I
don’t get it. For me, large graphics in a masthead or sidebar add absolutely nothing positive to my opinion of
a weblog or the chance I will return to it. And, dark backgrounds (especially with patterns) detract considerably
from the reading experience. Lisa Stone wonders if you care: pared-down or gussied up?
yesterday. I’ve been playing with its new “WordTranslator: hover your cursor over a word
and the WordTranslator feature will display the word in French, Italian, German, Spanish,
Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese, or Korean.” However, my Windows XP Pro
has completely shut itself down three times, after running very slowly, without asking my
permission, today. Has anyone else had a similar problem? Tara?
February 18, 2005
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