how to talk about Kathy Shelton without feeling dirty in the morning

let’s talk about INDIGENT DEFENSE for a second and how it works:


indigent defense is something we taxpayers pay for because we don’t want to pay more later when it turns out the person our tax ameros went to convicting was actually innocent the whole fucking time. settlements paid to the wrongly convicted can run into the tens of millions of ameros, so paying a few thousand to make sure that doesn’t happen is a pretty good benefit to everyone in the long run. because: schools, healthcare, roads, etc.

you with me so far? okay, so then we have two pools of lawyers that can be tapped to defend people who cannot pay for their own lawyer:

group A: public defenders. these people tend to be underfunded and may have had fewer options based on their score on the state bars. (though the latter is not a rule, a public defender may just be a freedom fighter, though these are generally in the second category).

group B: appointed attorneys (this is where HRC was). these are people who are and were good at lawyering anyhow, but felt a need to give back so they put their names in a hat to be called.

group Pro Bono: there are also pro bono attorneys, but they are not in a pool appointed to serve the indigent. these are people who generally agree with the person who needs a defense and tell them to shove their court appointed attorney so they can get some good press–this may or may not be part of a defense strategy; it also may or may not be a ploy to get new clients or launch a campaign. since they are not available to all who need them, they’re not a group in my book.

aside: this is a lot like how there are multiple pools to pull jury               members from: voter registrations, drivers licenses and                 state or local tax ID numbers are the most popular.

basically, HRC’s name came up in rotation when Thomas Alfred Taylor was in need. and HERE’S THE THING: you don’t get to stay in the pool if you turn down the person who needs a defense, you may serve some jail time yourself and in most places you don’t keep your license to practice either because you are doing the discriminations at that point.

and she did her best and there were memos that were never used because she got him to accept a plea deal, he went to jail for too short a time in most people’s books and died in 1992 after living with “child fondler” stapled to his forehead for 16 years. and this should be the end of it. no?

no. the GOP hates indigent defense even though became required of all courts in Americaland as a result of Gideon v. Wainwright and it was Chief Justice Warren running things those days which the GOP resoundingly hates even though they love to claim Ike anyway. they hate hate hate it because they don’t want to pay for lawyers for poor people because they don’t see this as an endorsement of Inequality R US, but another obstacle to a tax cut which they think the poor people can use to pay for their lawyers. (they can’t.)

some of you will find the indigent defense budget in your state’s budget, but most of you will find it in the county or borough budget. and it’s a waste of time and money for everyone if an appointed attorney decides not to do their job just because they think their client is an asshole.

any questions?


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