Public Defenders

Courtesy of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust

The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra opens its “Celebrate 50” season next Saturday, marking 50 years in Greensburgh, Pa. 

Philly Program Teaches Defendants How To Help Themselves

Oct 5, 2018
Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

 It was an early autumn afternoon in 1975 -- a moment that Steve Austin wishes he could take back.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

How much does your county spend on public defense?

Megan Farmer / KUOW

Twenty cities are still waiting for Amazon to anoint the home of its second North American headquarters. Most will be disappointed, which begs the question: was it worth all the trouble?

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

There are hundreds of semi-official government entities in Pennsylvania that use taxpayer money, introduce legislative agendas and work closely with outside interest groups, but these groups are largely unregulated and operate under no obligation to publicize their meetings or answer questions about their memberships.

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Usually, inadequate representation lawsuits go like this: your lawyer does a bad job defending your case, you're found guilty, and then you seek a new trial on the grounds of insufficient counsel. It's a single response to a single instance of misrepresentation. 

But what if a public defender system is so chronically underfunded and understaffed that criminal defendants know going into their case that they won't be able to get a proper defense? Must they wait, individually, for their case to be tried and then hope for some sort of relief?