The cost of justice denied is more
Reality prevailed over the wishful thinking of legislative leadership in the Florida Supreme Court's ruling that reaffirmed the right of the poor to adequate legal counsel.
than any dollars the Legislature wants to save
The court ruled that trial courts can stop assigning public defenders to new cases when the Legislature has provided so little money that the result is overwhelming case loads.
The case came from Miami-Dade, where public defenders averaged 400 non-capital felony cases a year — twice as many as the highest recommendation of professional legal organizations. The Supreme Court called that a "damning indictment of the poor quality of trial representation" available to indigent defendants.
Read the opinion here. Read the Miami Herald report here.