Saturday, May 11, 2013

Desperation and the Criminal Justice System

A woman just called me.  She has six children.  Her fiance has been accused of committing  a felony.
She doesn't have the money to bail him out so that he can work on his defense and try to hold onto his job.  He is the family's sole breadwinner.  She's staying in a hotel room with the six kids.  The public defender won't say when he is likely to go to court.  She's talked to several lawyers, all of whom want an up-front retainer to represent her fiance and file a motion to try to get the bond reduced.  So do I.  Pro bono cases eat up the time that you have promised to paying clients.  I am sorry for her.  I give her the public defender's email address.  Lawyers respond better to written inquiry.  I give her the number to the Victim Witness Assistance program.  In the eyes of the law she is neither victim nor witness.  I feel guilty for not doing more.   According to the caller, this man has never been in serious trouble before and the evidence against him is weak. Those who get caught in the system are ground into dust. Innocence doesn't even enter into it.In cases like these, innocent until proven guilty is an aspiration, not a reality.
  

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