John A. Steakely

Attorney John Steakley is a 1996 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He began his career as the Special Prosecutor for Drug Crimes for a multi-county, multi-agency drug task force in Tennessee, where he represented the State of Tennessee in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases in a 5-county judicial district.

Philadelphia Abandons Government-Run Public Defense?

The public defender system is the legal version of Obamacare, except 50 years older.  I.e., it is a government system which tries to use public dollars to entitle individuals to the service of another individual.  Predictably, it often fails.  At least for a part of the system, the city of Philadelphia wants out of the business:

In a controversial plan, the city of Philadelphia is planning to retain a private law firm to handle all court-appointed defense work for indigent individuals at an expected savings of $1 million annually.

. . .

Currently, some 300 to 350 lawyers accept court appointments at notoriously low fees. Although the plan is not yet a done deal, it appears that attorney Daniel-Paul Alva is likely to strike a deal with the city to create a 75-attorney firm to handle the public defender's overflow work for $9.5 million a year, the Inquirer says.

He says his firm will be more efficient than farming out the work to individual lawyers. Hence, it will improve on the "hopelessly flawed" current system by providing better representation at lower cost, according to Alva.

Considering what prominent speakers and organizations have said about the state of public defense in the US, it is no surprise that a major city like Philadelphia is distancing itself from responsibility.   

As I've said elsewhere, the public defender system if only for people who CAN'T afford an attorney, not those who don't want to.  It was never intended to be a "public option" for those looking for free legal representation.  If you are able to afford an attorney, you should. 



Gideon Has Failed, Says NPR

Fifty Years Later, And It Still Doesn't Work

Fifty Years After Gideon v. Wainwright . . .

Despite the "True Believers," The Public Defender System is Broken

Indigent Defense Horror Stories

Most Would Not Trust A Public Defender


AG Holder Says Public Defenders Rendered "Less Effective" by Shortages

Online Mugshots, Removal, and Georgia HB 150
Go to Trial, Crash the System

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