John Oliver, who has turned into quite the activist, talks about what it is like to be arrested and jailed in the United States, and what it is like without an attorney other than a public defender who has little to no time to defend you of charges being laid against you.
Oliver goes on to discuss just how bad public defenders are:
You have a right to an attorney… but as John Oliver pointed out on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” you don’t have a right to an attorney who actually has time for you. Public defenders are so overworked that they often handle hundreds of cases — or in Fresno County, California, they handle up to 1,000 felony cases a year when state guidelines say they should only have 150. And in New Orleans, some public defenders get an average of seven minutes to prepare a case.
This is another reason why the justice system in the US is so terrible. It is a guarantee that if you have to rely on a public defender to represent you in a criminal case that you will be found guilty or pled out guilty even if you are innocent. While criminal justice reform is on the radar these days, and by a few oligarchs named Koch who desire to see reforms made who are working towards that goal, there are still miles to go before anyone gets to sleep.