Public Defender Workload
Â From case load to case load, to case load. People in the public defender's office say they have to wear many hats to keep up with the work and provide adequate service to clients.
"When you come to felony, the case load decreases, but over the last year and a half we happen to see an increase in crime. Part of that is based on the economy of the current situation."
Nicole Fried says the economy is taking a toll on the Justice System. Public defenders in seven states are taking action to limit their caseload. Recently, a appeals court judge ruled that the public defenders office in Miami could refuse to take on any 3rd degree felony cases. With budget cuts across Florida, there are fewer defenders but they still have more work to do.
â€œAs the money dries up, the standard for adequate assistance to counsel might go down. Any good lawyer would want to keep performing at the same level of service for any reason.â€
Rick Parker says that in addition to letting people go to meet his payroll, he has to leave vacant positions open as well and he says he will have to let more go if there is a total 4%reduction for the year for his office.
Although public defenders did win that decision to stop handling third degree felony cases... they are still hoping a judge will also limit the number of second degree felony cases they must take.
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