Florida Supreme Court Sides with Public Defenders

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Supreme Court is siding with public defenders who believe they should be able to reject cases if they don't have the budget and lawyers to adequately represent poor people charged with crimes.

Thursday's ruling overturns an appeals court decision that said public defenders had to accept the cases to represent those who can't afford lawyers.

The Supreme Court cited statistics that show public defenders in Miami-Dade were taking on 200 to 300 cases beyond what they should have been able to handle. It also mentioned conditions that often meant defenders had to start trial before they could interview witnesses or visit crimes scenes.

The court asked the original Miami-Dade County court to determine whether public defenders are still overburdened.


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