Public Defenders Fight Back Against Budget Cuts, Growing Caseloads

Source: Teresa Wiltz, Stateline, November 21, 2017

Public defenders have complained for decades they’ve got too many cases and not enough money — or time — to do their clients justice.

Now, more public defense advocates are suing states for more funding. Overwhelmed public defenders also are increasingly trying other tactics: refusing to take on new cases, raising money through crowdfunding, even trying to assign a case to a sitting governor….

….With declining budgets and crushing caseloads, juggling clients has become a Sisyphean task, public defenders say. In New Orleans, for example, 60 public defenders manage roughly 20,000 cases a year. And overburdened public defenders, they argue, can’t mount a vigorous defense for their clients…..