According to the co-chairs of the Constitution Project’s National Right to Counsel Committee, proposed budget cuts to the Public Defender’s Office threaten to exact a toll on San Francisco that would greatly outweigh their modest fiscal benefits.
SF Chronicle: The proposed cut is seriously shortsighted and dishonest. If a defendant can't get a public defender, the job goes to a pool of private lawyers where one will take the case - and bill the city. Total savings: just about zero.
The Public Defender's Office has marched in the pride parade for over 25 years. "We'll have 100 in our contingent with several banners. You'll know us because we'll be blasting 'Fight the Power' and John Lennon's 'Power to the People.'"
The mayor's plan to slice $1.9 million off the Public Defender's budget would result in the city paying up to $1.4 million more per year as the public defender would be forced to farm out 2,600 cases to private attorneys.
A report released by the San Francisco City Controller on case costs of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office has found that the the office's representation of 28,000 people every year is the most efficient and cost-effective way to provide legal representation to those who cannot afford lawyers.
The Public Defender's Office is facing a budget cut of about $1.9 million at the same time as the Superior Court is budgeting an additional $1.2 million for handling cases that the public defender can't. Is San Francisco trying to take all of the misdemeanor cases away from the PD's office and give them to private defense lawyers?
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