A public defender is a criminal defense lawyer employed by the government. They defend people that cannot afford to hire a lawyer for their case. Usually, public defenders represent people with very little or no money at all.
Yes, public defenders are effective because they bring the same passion and dedication to cases they handle as many other lawyers do. They are also well trained in their trade and know that their job is essential to preserve justice in our legal system. In many cases, public defenders are just as good at their jobs as private lawyers at representing their clients in court.
The main issue many people run into when they must use a public defender is that these professionals are very busy. They do not control who they defend, and they are sometimes overwhelmed by the number of clients needing a defense in their region or county.
This can make those who need to rely on public defenders feel that they aren’t getting the best defense they could, despite the fact that they are being defended by a professional with the same training as a private defense attorney.
Public defenders work for the government and are employed by the government; because the right to a defense is enshrined in the constitution, they must defend anyone that needs it. This sometimes obligates them to defend someone that they may not choose to defend if it were up to them.
An ethical attorney will ignore this and do the very best they can for your defense, but this is part of the reason why some people have trouble believing that a public defender will always do the best they can for their clients.
Also, as mentioned before, the public defender system is overwhelmed in many states by an excess of clients and a dearth of defenders to help them. This means that, no matter how well-meaning your public defender may be, amongst other potential issues, there may be less than desirable communication between the public defender and the client.
For the most part, you can trust a public defender to handle your case responsibly and competently because they are hardworking people that want what is best for their clients. But their ethics will not provide them with limitless time, and they will receive payment no matter what happens in your case. Offering legal counsel to indigent persons allows the government to provide equal protection under the law, but that doesn’t mean that the system is perfect.
On the other hand, private criminal attorney fees could seem cheap in comparison to the potential of losing your case. Public defenders are in the position of working hard while barely being compensated. Anyone can work hard and do a good job, but it is more complex and complicated than it looks to work on behalf of the public in this position.
A public defense lawyer can have access to many resources and can still be swamped. You will want to consider hiring a private attorney who has experience with your specific type of case.
Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, has a vested interest in helping you win your case and will work hard for you and be focused on your case rather than being distracted by other clients.