Montana's system for providing criminal defense lawyers for the poor is so flawed that some defendants have been sitting in jail waiting for their day in court for longer than the maximum sentence that could be imposed.
But finally there is some movement....:
This month, with the state facing a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, legislators approved a public defender law that is designed to bring sweeping change and is being hailed as a national model for providing defense lawyers for the poor.
The legislation would be the first in the country designed to address key principles of a public defender system adopted by the American Bar Association in 2002, according to David Carroll, of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the organization that recently studied Montana's system. The study was conducted at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union as part of its lawsuit."
It's about time.