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The First Public Defender’s Office in the Country Was Born 100 Years Ago This January

Did you know that the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office was the first of its kind in these United States of America? Perhaps the first person to ever propose the creation of a public defender’s office anywhere in the country was Clara Shortridge Foltz, who by the way was the first woman admitted to the California Read More

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Government Gridlock: “It’s Time to Tell Congress to Go to Hell”

“It’s the right thing to do.” So says a senior federal district judge in Nebraska, and he’s right. We’re well into the third week of a government shutdown that is raising questions around the world, and what’s worse, we are fewer than 36 hours away from the presumptive, approximate moment when the United States reaches its debt limit and thereafter, essentially, Read More

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The Sixth Amendment Means More Than A Warm Body Sitting Next To You

There is cause for optimism yet. Last month, in a lawsuit challenging the quality of indigent-defense services in two cities north of Seattle, Washington, the U.S. Justice Department did a remarkable thing. It filed a Statement of Interest declaring that “[t]he United States has an interest in ensuring that all jurisdictions — federal, state, and local — are fulfilling their obligation under Read More

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We’ve Officially Run Out Of Money for Court-Appointed Lawyers in Federal Criminal Cases

On the heels of Constitution Day comes news that we’ve officially run out of money to pay court-appointed lawyers in federal criminal cases. Such lawyers, many of whom have already been waiting for payments, will not get paid now until the new fiscal year starts October 1, and they may not get paid then either, due Read More

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The Constitution Needs Us, And Our Kids, And Our Grandkids, And Their Kids

The Constitution needs our help to remain strong and supreme. Yes you, and me too. It was the first constitution of its kind: a culmination of centuries of advancements in political thinking and theory, and it changed the world. It is the moral beacon of America against which no ally or enemy can rail, and it continues Read More

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Attorney General Delivers Important Policy Speech at the ABA’s Annual Meeting

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law-enforcement reason.” That is from a speech Eric Holder gave on Monday to the American Bar Association. In it, the U.S. Attorney General outlined a series of steps to improve our justice system and make us smarter (rather than merely Read More

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