July 06, 2006

AS: indigent defense, fa'a Samoa

Casey and a few other former co-workers know that for years I've harbored a daydream about being a public defender in the south seas... American Samoa, for instance.

This looks pretty sweet:

A friendly game of bocce ball outside the Tafuna Correctional Facility. Part of a going away party for a Public Defender many of whose clients are currently incarcerated in said Correctional Facility and were watching the Public Defender barbeque sausages while these four played bocce...

But there are rumblings of trouble in paradise (scroll down a bit):

A resignation letter from an attorney in the Public Defender’s Office cites... that the Public Defender Tautai Aviata Faalevao is maintaining a private practice. Assistant Public Defender Lawrence Wilson says in his letter that the Office of the Public Defender exists to protect the peoples rights and this means elevating the public’s concern over the Public Defender's own personal interests. He told Tautai... "instead of vigorously advocating the people’s rights, you continue to use your time, and the court’s, representing private clients... (S)erving two masters, drawing a government salary as an advocate for the indigent all the while maintaining a private law practice on the side, works a great disservice to the people of American Samoa..."

Rats! Why do there always have to be snakes in Eden?