Home

State Court Rules that Overworked Public Defenders Can Withdraw Felony Cases
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

public defenders in florida

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court determined that attorneys at the Miami-Dade County public defender’s office can withdraw third-degree felony cases due to excessive workloads, according to a recent article by the ABA Journal.

The Florida Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of section 27.5303(1)(d) of Florida law, which “prohibits a trial court from granting a motion for withdrawal by a public defender based on ‘conflicts arising from underfunding, excessive caseload or the prospective inability to adequately represent a client.’”

  
What
Where


Justice Peggy Quince wrote the majority opinion, which deemed the statute unconstitutional in this instance, noting that attorneys representing clients in felony cases can have up to 50 cases per week. Overworked public defenders are often less able to adequately defend their clients. At issue was whether low-income defendants were being given their constitutional right to representation in instances where over-stretched attorneys did not have the time or means to properly handle each of their clients. The reality was that a significant number of defendants experienced longer-than-necessary delays between their indictments and when the cases were actually brought to trial, simply because many of the necessary procedures could not take place in a timely manner. As a result, public defenders were often forced into the difficult task of allocating their time and resources for only some clients, while other defendants were left in a state of judicial limbo.

The court was divided in its final decision, with a 5-2 split vote. While the court upheld the constitutionality of the Florida law, it deemed that in this instance, the grounds for withdrawing due to excessive caseload were valid. The decision was heralded as a victory for the rights of criminal defendants to a speedy fair and speedy trial.

Update (May 30, 2013): In an email we received, we found out that Hogan Lovells handled the case mentioned in the above article pro bono. Parker Thomson, an attorney at Hogan Lovell, has been the leader of a team representing the public defender’s office on a pro bono basis for five years.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!






 

Interesting Legal Sites You May Like


BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Trust and Estate Attorney

USA-NY-New York City

Boutique trust and estate firm is seeking an attorney with 7+ years of experience. Candidate should ...

Apply Now

Mid-level Litigation Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office is seeking a support attorney with some experience/familiarity with a litigatio...

Apply Now

Patent Prosecution Attorney

USA-MI-Northville

Northville office of our client seeks patent prosecution attorney with 5 years of experience. The ca...

Apply Now

Litigation Attorney

USA-NY-White Plains

White Plains office of our client seeks attorney litigation attorney with 2 years of litigation expe...

Apply Now

RELEVANT JOBS

Employment Litigation Attorney

USA-CA-San Diego

Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, California\'s leading education law firm, has an immediate opening fo...

Apply now

Transactional Associate

USA-DC-Washington

Boutique construction law firm seeks transactional associate with 2-5 years of experience. Position ...

Apply now

Patent / IP Paralegal

USA-WA-Seattle

Patent / IP Paralegal This is an exciting opportunity to work for one of the top law firms in the...

Apply now

Social Security Legal Assistant - Immediate Opening!

USA-PA-Scranton

Scranton-based workers comp, social security, and personal injury law office is seeking a social sec...

Apply now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top