Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
D.C.
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Mass.
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
N.Carolina
N.Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
S.Carolina
S.Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
W.Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Law Firm Website Design Companies : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


It wasn't the brightest decision she'd ever made. She admits that. But if she'd had enough money to hire a lawyer she might not have lost six months of her life.


Kimberly Hurrell-Harring, a certified nursing assistant and mother of two, had driven 7 1/2 hours to visit her husband and then secreted a small amount of marijuana in her private parts. He'd pleaded with her on the phone to bring it, saying he needed to get high in this awful place.

He was calling from a maximum-security prison, and someone must have been listening because when she walked into the Great Meadows Correctional Facility in upstate New York, guards immediately yanked her to the side.

They told her things would go easier if she handed over the dope without a fuss. She did, and things immediately got worse.

With a swiftness that made her head spin, she was handcuffed and hauled to jail. At her arraignment, there was no public defender available. Standing alone, she was charged with one felony count of bringing dangerous contraband into a prison.

And so she tumbled headlong into the Alice-in-Wonderland chaos of court-appointed lawyers, where even those lawyers say there is little time for clients. There are simply too many and not enough hours in the day.

"If you can't afford an attorney, and you fall into the criminal justice system, you are really, really screwed," said Demetrius Thomas of the New York American Civil Liberties Union.

Especially now. The spiraling recession and overwhelmed public defenders, some of whom have rebelled by filing lawsuits to reduce caseloads, pose one of the greatest challenges to the system since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 overturned the petty larceny and breaking-and-entering convictions of Clarence Gideon, a poor Florida man tried without a lawyer. In a landmark, unanimous ruling, justices said state courts must provide attorneys to every criminal defendant unable to afford counsel.

After her arraignment, Hurrell-Harring went back to jail because she couldn't afford bail, either. Three weeks passed before a public defender appeared, and she says she spent a total of 15 to 20 minutes with him before her sentencing hearing.

He told her not to fight the district attorney's recommended punishment — six months behind bars and five years of probation. It was the best she could hope for, he said. But she had no criminal record. Surely, she begged, couldn't possession of less than an ounce of pot, a misdemeanor under other circumstances, be bargained down to probation?

"It was like he had no time for me," she says now, still unemployed 17 months after her release because she lost her nursing license when she became a convicted felon. "He told me to plead guilty."

The accused, their lawyers, and even prosecutors agree that courts increasingly neglect their constitutional duties. In a series of Capitol Hill hearings, the latest scheduled for this week, Congress members are struggling to grasp the enormity of the crisis. But the options are far from clear, particularly when virtually every state and local government is crying poor.


Legal News | Breaking News | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Law Firm Web Design, Attorney Website Design by Law Promo

ⓒ Breaking Legal News. All Rights Reserved.

The content contained on the web site has been prepared by BLN as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case.
   More Legal News
   Legal Spotlight
   Exclusive Commentaries
   Attorney & Blog - Blog Watch
   Law Firm News  1  2  3  4  5  6 
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
New Rochelle Accidents Attorneys
New Rochelle Personal Injury
www.kboattorneys.com
Chicago Business Lawyer
Cook County Contract Law
www.rothlawgroup.com
Canton Criminal Lawyer
Canton DUI lawyer
www.cantoncriminalattorney.com
Surry County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Yadkin County Family Law Attorneys
www.dirussolaw.com
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
www.mjmlawoffice.com
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Wrongful Death Attorneys Houston
Houston Wrongful Death
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
www.lawrsm.com
Santa Ana Workers' Compensation Lawyers
www.gentryashtonlaw.com
Indianapolis personal injury lawyer
Brain injury lawyer Indianapolis
www.rwp-law.com
Eugene Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy Attorney Eugene
willamettevalleybankruptcy.com
Lorain Elyria Divorce Lawyer
www.loraindivorceattorney.com
Denver, Colorado Drug Crimes Lawyer
www.vanlandinghamlaw.com
   More Legal News  1  2  3  4  5  6
   Legal News Links
  Click The Law
  Daily Bar News
  The Legal Voice
  The Legal Report
  Legal News Post
  Crisis Legal News
  Legal News Journal
  Law Firm Logos
  Attorney Web Design
  Immigration Law Web Design
  Law Firm Directory