April 23, 2009

WA: Grant County gets it in gear

From the Wenatchee World:

Public defense pilot project posts dramatic results in Grant County

Two years ago, 93 juveniles arrested for crimes in Grant County pleaded guilty at their first court appearance before an attorney was even assigned to them. Last year, only one child did.

Grant County was one of three places in the state chosen for a pilot project last year aimed at providing better defense for indigent and juvenile people who are charged in Washington. The state provided $100,000 to hire an attorney to be present at every juvenile's first court appearance in Grant County.

As a result, not only did those children not plead guilty without knowing all their options, but many of them were able to participate in treatment and counseling programs and received deferred sentences rather than detention for their crimes...

1 Comment:

MildlyAmusing said...

Yeah, that's the last thing we want; people pleading guilty for something they actually did and saving the taxpayer money, and the system time and trouble. It's better to insert another lawyer into the process, and give a shiftless court clerk something to put on those empty dockets.

Sheer genius if you ask me.