Eric Holder: Defendants' Legal Rights Undermined by Budget Cuts

Friday, 23 Aug 2013 01:09 PM

By Dan Weil

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The government sequester has gutted federal defenders' offices to the point of weakening the justice system itself, says Attorney General Eric Holder.

"The U.S. indigent defense systems — which provide representation to those who cannot afford it — are in financial crisis, plagued by crushing caseloads and insufficient resources," he wrote Thursday in The Washington Post.

"And this year’s forced budget reductions, due largely to sequestration, are further undermining this critical work."

Up to 90 percent of federal defendants are poor enough to qualify for court-appointed lawyers, Holder said, "yet draconian cuts have forced layoffs, furloughs (averaging 15 days per staff member) and personnel reductions through attrition."

"Across the country, these cuts threaten the integrity of our criminal justice system and impede the ability of our dedicated professionals to ensure due process, provide fair outcomes and guarantee the constitutionally protected rights of every criminal defendant," Holder continued, adding that Congress needs to put money back into the public defender program.

"Unfortunately the federal public defender program is in dire straits."

As an example, he cited the federal defenders representing Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, noting that they have taken about three weeks of unpaid leave because of budget cuts.

"This shameful state of affairs is unworthy of our great nation, its proud history and our finest legal traditions," he said. "In purely fiscal terms, the cuts imposed by sequestration defy common sense because they will end up costing taxpayers much more than they save."

Holder went on to say that the sequester is turning the government's promise of adequate legal representation into a question mark.

"The moral and societal costs of inadequate representation are too great to measure. Only Congress has the ability to restore the funding that federal defenders need to ensure that justice can be done. It is past time for our elected representatives to act," he wrote.



© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Krauthammer: GOP Must Push Its Agenda After Taking Senate

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 22:07 PM

Republicans have 3-1 odds of taking over the Senate, and they need to use that power to push their agenda, conservative  . . .

Wyoming Gay Couples Get Marriage Licenses

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 22:03 PM

Wyoming has become the latest state to allow same-sex unions, bringing the wave of legalizations to a place where the 19 . . .

Alveda King: Obama Proves Skin-Color Voting Doesn't Help Blacks

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 21:13 PM

Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is at sharp odds with the Rev. Al Sharpton about which political  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved