That's the title of Jesse Wegman's post at the New York Times Taking Note blog.
On Dec. 4, a federal judge in Washington State issued a stinging rebuke of the public-defense systems of two towns near Seattle, finding them so inadequate that they violate the Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel in criminal prosecutions.
Calling it “little more than a ‘meet and plead’ system,” U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik excoriated the cities of Mt. Vernon and Burlington, Washington, for failing to provide meaningful representation to indigent defendants facing misdemeanor charges.
The class-action suit against the cities, which was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington affiliate and private citizens, went to trial in June but only garnered national attention after the Justice Department weighed in with the unprecedented request that the court appoint a federal monitor to oversee the cities’ systems if it found in the plaintiffs’ favor.
Related posts are in the indigent defense category index.