Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We have universal legal care

Wow, is it awesome too!
After his appeal had failed and before he was exonerated, Lloyd filed a complaint with the state. He told them Slameka [Lloyd's public defender] never gave him the time of day. Harlin still has a copy of Slameka's rebuttal, which she read out loud:
“This is a sick individual who raped, kidnapped and strangled a young woman on her way to school. His claim of my wrongdoing is frivolous, just as is his existence. Both should be terminated.”
When asked if he really thought his own client should be executed, Slameka said yes, that's what he wrote at the time and that's how he felt.
Read the full story at NPR.

After having 17 years of his life stolen over a horrible crime that DNA evidence showed he didn't commit, Lloyd got out but died two short years later.

His sister, Ruth Harlin, says if someone close to her needed a defense lawyer today, she would do whatever it took to pay for a lawyer.

“I'd mortgage the house,” Harlin says. “I would not let a public defender defend anyone in my family ever again. Ever, ever again.”

Universal legal care's problems—chronic underfunding, unmanageable caseloads, top talent unwilling to participate in the insanity, poor standard of care, and on and on and on—are built in despite its proponents' good intentions.

Economics 101: Incentives Matter!


Anonymous said...

Was this in America? We don't have universal legal care in America. I don't get a free tax attorney. I can't get a free attorney to help me sue somebody who wronged me. If accused of a crime, we each have a right to a fail trial, and it's not fair if we don't have an attorney (and obviously, sometimes even if we do.) It's a check on the power of the government.

Anonymous said...

The system simply needs more money. Any public institution will be crap if its underfunded.

Anonymous said...

Just because you Americans have never done anything right with your government, except you huge military, doesn't mean that the legal system, the healthcare system, etc. are failures in the rest of the world.

Maybe if you guys had bothered to investigate what the rest of the world does instead of repeating silly talking points and posting anecdotes you'd get some where.

If I was American I would probably feel the same way about any proposal from the govt since it handles everything so terribly. Yet I am not, I live in a country with a reliable and boring civil service, with relatively level headed legislators with enough compassion for the average joe.