Below is a 5 minute talk on participatory defense we gave at PopTech 2015, a gathering of social innovators and scientists who are bringing new ideas to the world’s most challenging problems. We were fortunate to be a Poptech Fellow, where we were able to receive guidance and mentorship on how to expand our work from some of the world’s most dynamic social innovators and thought-leaders. Here is the talk we gave on participatory defense.
Editor’s Note: With great honor we publish this guest post from Howard Franklin, a retired public defender who wrote the acclaimed novel Gideon’s Children. If you haven’t picked it up, please do. This November, he is generously donating all book sale proceeds to ACJP!
It’s a sad fact that fifty years after the Gideon v. Wainwright decision mandated representation for every person charged with a crime, Public Defenders are still drastically underfunded, understaffed, overworked, and often disrespected by prosecutors, judges, court personnel, and sometimes their own clients.
As illustrated in my novel, Gideon’s Children, Public Defenders are outnumbered by prosecutors by as much as 3 to 1, depending upon the jurisdiction. When I served as a Los Angeles County Public Defender in the late Sixties, and was stationed in the Compton Judicial District, I faced calendars of 10 Felony Preliminary Hearings or 25 Misdemeanor cases alone, while the prosecution had two or three Deputy DAs handling the State’s interests. And while the prosecution had the assistance detailed below, I had me, myself, and I. Continue reading
Thanks to The Free Press in Maine for covering our talk at Poptech! Click their image to read the full story.
Eight out of ten people who face the justice system in the U.S. can’t afford a lawyer. Raj Jayadev, director of De-Bug, a media company in San Jose, California, saw that the accused were cut off from their families and other resources and didn’t know how to navigate the court system. Typically, they got a public defender who was stretched thin across too many cases. Ninety percent of those who are charged in the U.S. and can’t afford a lawyer plead guilty without ever going to trial, regardless of whether they are innocent or have extenuating circumstances that could lessen their sentence, said Jayadev. “It looked like a conveyor belt to jail,” he said. Read more >>>