U.S. Supreme Court Almost Answers Question About Underfunded Public Defender System
Category: Maryland Criminal Defense
April 1, 2016
Does America’s underfunded public defender system meet the Sixth Amendment’s standards for adequate legal counsel?
In a 5-3 decision in Luis v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court came close to asking and answering that question in a case that had nothing to do with public defenders.
Sila Luis was indicted for federal health-care fraud, stealing approximately $45 million over time. At the time of the indictment, Luis had $2 million in personal assets.
Luis wanted to use her money to pay for private criminal defense attorneys. However, the government sought a court order barring Luis from using her money in order to collect the money after a conviction for restitution and criminal penalties.
Luis argued that seizing untainted funds violated her Sixth Amendment right to seek assistance of private criminal defense lawyers.
The lower courts disagreed and her case ultimately ended up in front of the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court held that the government cannot seize Luis’ legitimate funds and prevent her from hiring a lawyer of her choice.
The Supreme Court likely did not answer the question about the underfunded public defender system, because the answer could potentially create many issues regarding the adequacy of representation in thousands of criminal cases.
Underfunded Public Defender or private Carroll County Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Maryland public defenders are hardworking and passionate attorneys. I’ve had the pleasure to work with public defenders as a prosecutor and private defense attorney. Considering a public defense or private attorney, then review these factors before making your decision.
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