The failings of the indigent defense system are so widespread that the ACLU is building a bank of horror stories to raise awareness of just how bad the problem has gotten. The ACLU project has just started as of the posting of this blog entry, but it should be available soon so people can see for themselves just how bad the various systems around the country have gotten.
If you're facing criminal charges, it is always in your best interest to hire a lawyer. Private attorneys typically have smaller caseloads and thus more time to spend per case.
Far too many people don't consider hiring private counsel until after their trial with a public defender has gone badly. By that point, many of the rights they had before trial are gone. The time to win your case is BEFORE trial, not after.
If you are serious about your case, your rights, your freedoms, and your reputation, then you also need to be serious about hiring the best lawyer you can afford as soon as you can. Call us.