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Facing a financial crisis and critical shortage of attorneys, the public defender for the State of Missouri utilized a little known but valid state law to assign a case to the Governor of the state.  I love this story and the outside the box thinking.  It is well known that the State must provide an attorney to defend those accused of a crime, but budget cuts and lack of interest in public defense has put most states in a critical position, none more than Missouri.  The State of Missouri ranks 49th out of 50 states in public defense spending and efficiency.  One report suggests that they need to hire at least 270 new attorneys just to keep up with demand and tread water.  The long serving Governor has repeatedly cut the public defense budget and reneged on promises to support the firm and increase the budget.  Recently that same Governor cut a promised 4.7 million dollar financial boost to just 1 million dollars.  Fed up, the Public Defender tapped into a law on the books that says in the face of a crisis the public defender has authority to assign defense cases to any member of the bar in good standing.  Since the Missouri Governor is a licensed attorney who previously worked for the Attorney Generals office, the public defender assigned him a case!!

We are very often asked about the Public Defenders in our office.  Are they good attorneys? Should I trust them with my case?  Maybe I should just go to the Public Defender? It is a common question and since private defense attorneys are expensive, we understand.  The reality is that the attorneys who work for the public defender are mostly excellent attorneys and some of them are the best criminal defense attorneys in the State.  They are, however, tremendously overworked and under ridiculous budget restrictions.  For one, RI public defenders could easily handle 3-4000 cases a year.  Thats a staggering number of criminal defense cases that no attorney could handle properly.  If you are with the public defender you will not have a chance to meet with the attorney prior to your first court date.  You will only have a few minutes to talk to your attorney during the entire procedure.  This is not because they are unprofessional or uncaring but because your case is one of 20 they have to handle that day.  Second, they are financially handcuffed.  Public defenders need permission to even copy large files or take depositions.  There simply isn’t enough money in the budget.

In short, only a private criminal defense attorney can give you careful attention and review your case thoroughly.  We will not take financial shortcuts and will be sure to hire expert witnesses, additional independent tests, or other expenses that might help prove your innocence.

Former clients and those who know the Law Office of Joseph Lamy are probably aware of my injury blog.  When I started my own practice six years ago after leaving a firm in Boston I began blogging right away as a way to reach new clients and discuss complex matters of injury law with Rhode Islanders and Massachusetts residents.

So, as the office has grown, it has become more full service to meet all of the needs of our awesome clients.  The approach that successfully grew my injury practice remains my approach in our criminal defense practice.

At our law office we believe each lawyer should focus on their area of expertise.  To that end, our criminal law group is led by Attorney Richard James, a criminal defense trial attorney with over twenty years of experience.  If you hire the law office of Joseph Lamy to help you with your criminal defense you will receive two trial attorneys ready to take your case the distance to ensure that you receive justice.Rich for blog