Public Defenders


Need a Lawyer? Trump Wants to Make it Harder if You're Poor

The president's budget would eliminate loan forgiveness for people who become public defenders—which could make America's criminal justice crisis even worse.


What Being a Defense Lawyer Taught Me About the War on Drugs

An excerpt from 'Locking Up Our Own,' a powerful book by a former defense lawyer on the realities of the war on crime and how African Americans have helped in its escalation.


Could Removing Brock Turner’s Judge Hurt Poor and Minority Defendants?

Public defenders say Aaron Persky isn't known for giving whites special treatment and that trying to recall judges who don't punish harshly is bad news for people of color.


Do Public Defenders Spend Less Time on Black Clients?

"Implicit bias" may not affect only judges, cops, and prosecutors, but also the lawyers defending America's poor.


How the Legal System in New Orleans Is Screwing the Poor

Overworked public defenders say they're being forced to take on cases under threat of jail time in what amounts to a criminal justice nightmare.


New Orleans's Cash-Strapped Public Defenders Are Refusing to Take on Serious Felonies

Orleans Parish Public Defenders say they aren't given enough money to properly represent poor people accused of serious crimes, so they're going to simply refuse those kinds of cases.


Our Right to an Attorney Is in Jeopardy

Many public defenders in the United States only have minutes to prepare for a case that might result in years in prison for the accused, as well as the loss of benefits, employment, or custody of their children.


How to Repair the Criminal Justice System

We talked to leaders and activists spearheading prison reform to find out what we can do to fix our broken penal system.


Gitmo for the Poor: States Leave Impoverished Inmates in Legal Limbo

People in Mississippi and New York are routinely stuck in jail without indictment or an attorney for weeks or even months on end, but lawsuits may force the states to change.