June 07, 2009

HI: "you can't subject the Constitution to budget cuts"

When it comes to cuts, things are no different in the islands; from the Maui News:

Furloughs leave defendants in a bind - Public defender office closures affecting courtroom schedules

The Office of the Public Defender, which includes a dozen attorneys on Maui, will be shut down three Fridays each month to comply with state worker furloughs required by Gov. Linda Lingle. The closures, scheduled to begin July 1, have affected some courtroom schedules on Maui and Molokai and have raised concerns about representation...

"They have the right to counsel. We have to adhere to the Constitution," said Jim Rouse, one of eight deputy public defenders assigned to... Maui County felony cases. "You can't, just because of budget constraints, eliminate fundamental rights guaranteed to all Americans..."

"It's not like anybody's getting rich being a public defender. You're a public defender because you're idealistic, you believe in the Constitution, you believe people are entitled to help. You do it with passion. You do it with vigor. Now they're telling us you have to do it 14 percent less of the time..."

Individual P.D.'s offices are no different either, it seems. Like the coat rack? Any bets those aren't client go-to-court clothes?