Will the US Public Defense System Be Up for Major Reforms?

    The U.S. Public Defense System is an integral part of the United States criminal justice system. This aspect of the government is based off the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    It provides the right for criminals to receive counsel in a federal criminal prosecution case. This is important because not everyone has the means to hire a lawyer in their defense. This Amendment also stops people from being wrongly or unduly incarcerated.

    While the U.S. justice system does not work 100% of the time it is far from being ineffective. However, many people within the U.S. (and the criminal justice system in particular) wants major reform to take place. Some people want the U.S. Public Defense System to do a better job with representing defendants in court.

    Currently, the U.S. justice system utilizes public defenders, community defender organizations and panel attorneys to provide assistance for defendants. Miranda Rights notices points out how people can receive assistance from the courts if they cannot afford one.

    This is very important in terms of ensuring that a person’s Sixth Amendment Rights are not being violated. This kind of violation could allow a truly “guilty” person to go free. So, courts and the U.S. Justice System must ensure that they are on track with providing defense attorneys for people who need this service.

    The U.S. Public Defense System is not going to be changed from how it is set up. In other words, any reforms to the system on a federal level will not deviate too much from established procedures. Remember, the U.S. Justice System is streamlined and efficient.

    It has been designed to work this way. Even if it seems as if it is bogged down with bureaucracy. The point is that the system works. Once again, the main thing that the system does not want to do is to violate a person’s rights. Whatever reforms that do take place must not strip away these basic tenants of American citizenship.

    To make any major reforms to the Constitution would require a reorganization to the U.S. Constitution. That will not happen. If a person tries to do this, they will do so in vein. There are too many governmental checks for any person, group or organization to violate a person’s Constitutional Rights.

    So, the type of changes that will more than likely take place to the U.S. Public Defense System will be in terms of how attorney’s serve their pro bono clients. They can be required to provide more time on cases or to provide better representation in the courtroom. However, the Public Defense System will not be altered in terms of how people will receive representation in court. You can find out more information about this process at the Bureau of Justice Statitics Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Guardian.


    What is The Future of Law School?

    Derek ByrdDavid Solomon, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, believes that the fate of law programs and law graduate is going to drastically change in the next few decades.

    In a recent segment he wrote for the New York Times DealBook blog, Solomon focuses on the “signs of vigorous life in the legal job market” which is going to be a defining moment for the appeal law school has for most students. Solomon recognizes that issues such as unreasonable student debt, poor job opportunities, and changes in the school faculty structures are big contributors in the shift of law school enrollments.

    Solomon also points to the low levels of student application, which have gone down to 2.9 percent this year alone. He continues to dissect the situation even further, by concluding that class sizes could steady around 37,000 students,  or even in the 1970s levels. Intimate classrooms could mean more jobs available for those who do graduate, and less competition for available jobs in this field.

    For high ranking schools the employment market is already looking up. Georgetown University, for instance, had a 93 percent employed rate for its 2013 graduate class, and more than sixty percent were hired in the private sector-  with a starting salary of $160,000.

    David also mentions other profits of pursuing a legal career. A study conducted by professors Frank McIntyre and Michael Simkovic found that moving on from graduate school in a terrible economy had a generally little effect on lifetime income in respect to graduating with a four year certification. In spite of the fact that unemployment levels at graduation influence pay for the initial four years, the effect disappears as law graduates advance in their careers. The study concludes that, in this day, a law degree is estimated at $1 million in a lifetime. 

    In addition, Solomon also refers to the American Bar Foundation’s After the JD study, which follows attorneys who successfully passed the bar exam in 2000. After two years, law students were very content with the decision to attend law school and career path. Even students from lesser known schools and un-impressive grades were able to earn up to $95,000 during their first year.