Study Says Public Defenders Do Better Than CJA Lawyers
The New York Times reports on a new study by an economist at Harvard that says federal public defenders get better results than CJA lawyers (privately appointed lawyers under the Criminal Justice Act.) The 40 page study is here.
How much better? The study says the PD's clients sentences were on the average 8 months shorter.
I think federal public defenders do a great job. I always laugh when I get a call from a prospective client who tells me they want to get rid of their pd and hire private counsel so they can get a "real lawyer."
I also do a few CJA cases a year. It's how we private lawyers give back -- our way of doing pro-bono, taking cases for far less than we get in our private practices. In my district, we're not contract lawyers in that we don't agree to take a percentage of the court's case load or even a set number of cases a year. We get called occasionally, when the Public Defender has a conflict, and if we're free (usually 2 days from the time we get the call), we agree to take the case.
I'm not an economist or a statistician, but I think this study is seriously flawed. The first problem I have with the study is this incorrect premise:
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