Critics say Slameka is right. He might sound extreme, but Slameka reflects widespread problems across the country. In New York City, because there aren't enough defenders, overworked lawyers say they show up for trials ready to tell the judge they've done nothing on the case. In Miami, they say the only way they can squeeze in jail visits is if they work every weekend. And in Detroit, public defenders haven't seen a raise in more than 30 years. Slameka has to take on 50 clients at a time to earn a living.This was linked to via a Slashdot story where there was a discussion about public defenders. I'll repeat what I wrote there:
I've always thought a good idea would be simply to force lawyers who want to practice criminal law in a state to occasionally serve as a public lawyer. Say every 5 years of private practice they would have to do 1 year of this public service. Both prosecutors and free defense lawyers would be drawn from this pool.