Public Defenders

Archive Report

Legal Aid for Poor Defendants in Court

Inequities in the administration of justice in criminal cases, arising out of differences in the ability of defendants to pay lawyer fees and other costs, appear headed for corrective action in the early future. The Kennedy administration has served notice that it intends to press for enactment of legislation to improve the present court practice of assigning counsel to indigent defendants charged with federal offenses.

A major innovation would be creation of the office of public defender in the various federal courts which would supply experienced lawyers to undertake the defense of accused persons not able to engage counsel at their own expense. At present, a federal judge appoints any lawyer he wishes—or can get—to defend an indigent without ...

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