Justice in Harris County

41-x11QeN-L._SL500_AA280_Harris county may be the testing ground for the limits of the justice system in Texas. One story in the Houston Chronicle described how the lack of adequate legal counsel for poor defendants and a backlog in the courts long combined to leave some poor defendants waiting in jail for more than a year before facing trial. One candidate sat in jail for well over a year before charges were dropped. The jails loaded with people waiting for trial and  representation for those who can not afford it costs $24 million a year. Neither citizens nor the accused are being treated well by the system.

Another story on the proposal to create a public defender’s office demonstrates how hard it is to find a solution. Judges are divided over how to best handle poor defendants. However, it should be clear that the current system isn’t working and something needs to be done.

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