For the third time in the week, the Chronicle has run an opinion piece on the need for a Public Defender's Office in Harris County. It's amazing to me that a story that is against their pro-Lykos agenda doesn't get published at all, but something that they want gets run three freaking times in a week! The Chronicle certainly has a special way of being annoying, doesn't it?
In an unrelated story, there is no article, but just a brief snippet with a photograph in the lower right corner of the City & State section about the swearing in of Kenneth Magidson. I guess the fact that it would be a positive and non-scandalous story about the District Attorney's Office probably made it non-newsworthy to Jeff Cohen and crew.
Back to the editorial, I would suggest reading the comments in the on-line version of it. A poster under the name of "Helpful" points out, much more eloquently than I can, his or her views against a PDs Office.
As I've said before, most ADAs don't really care who they are facing in a trial. However, the Chronicle, Senator Ellis, and Barry Scheck's tact in chasing after getting a PD's Office annoys me.
First of all, nobody is citing any specific cases where a Defendant got screwed over because of a court appointed attorney.
Second, the reputations of some of the most skilled defense attorneys in the Nation are being slandered by Ellis, Scheck, and Cohen. Indigent Harris County defendants have the opportunity to have some of the best attorneys in the world representing them for free, and Ellis, Scheck and Cohen are basically sitting in Ivory Towers and telling them that they aren't good enough.
Third, no one has yet to list a case where a defense attorney asked for additional funds for investigations and couldn't get them.
Fourth, the Chronicle cites things that could happen as if they are happening:
All too often, the jurists' wishes count for more than their commitment to defend their clients to the best of their ability.
The system is easy to manipulate in favor of particular lawyers who might be friends or political contributors.
An attorney who displeases a judge can be removed from the appointment list.
On behalf of the judges and defense attorneys who take appointments, please allow me to tell the Chronicle that you can kiss their butts with lines like those.
The Holy Trinity of Cohen, Scheck, and Ellis seem to just be scratching their heads and thinking, if so many people are being convicted in Harris County and sentenced to prison, there must be something wrong with the system. It must be racist. The D.A.'s must be overaggressive. The defense must be incompetent.
Or it could be, that we live in a major metropolitan area and there is a ton of crime and therefore, there are a ton of people being punished. Maybe, just maybe, a lot of these defendants are getting sentenced to prison sentences because, oh, I don't know, maybe they actually did what they're accused of.
One last parting thought.
The editorial starts off with the following line:
Harris County is the only major metropolitan area in the country without a public defender system to represent indigent defendants.
Ah, under that theory, isn't the Chronicle the only major metropolitan newspaper to never win a Pulitzer Prize?
Maybe under that theory, we should scrap them, too.