Why is it that even open minded, left leaning, otherwise intelligent, public spirited, trained lawyers can't seem to get past traditional stereotypes about public defenders. I mean, I expect the usual tripe from almost everyone else, but it rankles acutely when it comes from those I think should know better.
Case in point: Noah Levitt's Slate piece about cross-border justice.
In it Levitt, (a guy who writes for counter-punch and alternet and goes hog wild about his lefty cred in his bio) writes that:
"The Mexican high-court decision (concerning extradition) shines a 50,000-watt searchlight on the fact that the United States frequently denies citizens of other countries—primarily Mexico—the right to access their consulates when facing legal problems in this country." Levitt goes on to explain that "American law enforcement officials frequently ignore these rights, and foreign criminal defendants find themselves facing jail, deportation, or worse without ever having had access to their consulate, which might have been able to obtain higher quality counsel than the overworked public defender otherwise assigned to their case."
In other words, the big problem with failing to abide by a treaty our government has signed is that foreign nationals wind up having to be represented by PD's? I find this insinuation particularly galling given that Levitt is writing in the context of the prosecution of Mexican nationals--does he have any idea just how good the Federal Defender programs in San Diego or Southern Arizona (which handle a highly disproportionate number of those cases) are?
It's worth a look. If there's another criminal defense lawyer in Arizona that can hold a candle to Jon Sands--the the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona,I've never heard of him.