How they really think

This article from Fremont, Nebraska's Community Newspaper provides some great insight into how communities and governments think about indigent defense work. Dodge county Nebraska, it seems is considering a public defender system. Why? Just one reason: Cost.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

"In most cases, more-experienced attorneys can predict the outcome, provide “damage control” and work out plea bargains that are fair to everyone."

Huh? fair to everyone? that's what they're looking for in a defender....

“There's a possibility that we'll work out maximum fees for average cases,” he said, adding that extenuating circumstances would be considered. “We can maybe have a peer review committee (for bills that are viewed as too high).”

As a taxpayer, Holtorf said even though he would like to see the court-appointed system continue, it's the county's best interest that needs to be considered.

“If (a public defender's office) can save the county money, it could be the appropriate decision,” Holtorf said.


Anonymous said...

Dollars and lack of sense.

That should be the headline for the article. There is no mention of Constitutional rights and principles. All that matters is the taxpayers money.

Maximum fees for average cases!? I guess that we are now quantifying our rights with a delicate balancing of cost v. protection.

Maybe the money saved by the county in getting public defenders to do damage control, i.e., plead cases, can be used to develop programs to prevent the circumstances that lead to the frustration that so often results in criminal acts. Yeah right.


Anonymous said...


Have you seen this recent post?

Anonymous said...

And the post has a link to actual excerpts of the book! Oh my gosh!
Thanks Anonymous #2.
FFC (Feige's fan club)

theimbroglio said...

I love how one of the private attorneys explains that "The reason we do it is the judges need to have quality attorneys to appoint.” I mean, you wouldn't want to defend the accused to protect their rights or make sure they're not wrongly convicted or anything. Helping out the judge is always what a good defense attorney should strive to do.

Good god! I would not want to find myself accused of a crime in that county, that's for sure.

I also love how attorney's have to have their hours approved by the judge. If you ask me, the defense bar should start thinking of strategies to get this sort of payment scheme banned nationwide. A court-appointed defense attorney should never *ever* be put in the position of choosing between doing something that might help a client or just skipping it b/c she's afraid a judge won't approve the expense.