Colin Miller has an interesting and brief article about wrongful convictions. He writes:
“Two key statistics: 95% of disposed American criminal cases are resolved by guilty pleas, often as a result of plea bargains. And 80% of people arrested in this country are represented by public defenders. These statistics are not unrelated. Public defenders are underfunded and overworked, and often refuse to take new cases.”
This brings up an important issue in reforming our very broken justice system. Why do we allow the lawyers that defend most of the accused in America to be low paid and inexperienced public defenders? Why isn’t there a national credential required for public defenders? I am told anyone that passes the Bar exam can become a defense attorney and defend the accused unless it is a capital case. I wonder if we would accept that for our surgeons? Why don’t we spend more money so that there are an adequate number of attorneys so that the accused can be adequately represented? Wouldn’t it be both more just and cheaper to do this than to incarcerate so many innocent people?