There was a little disagreement this week between ModernEsquire and Jerid (BSB) and Matt (RAB) over the guaranteed right to counsel, at state expense if necessary, to all defendants in criminal cases.

Jerid argues it’s a right guaranteed by the constitution.

Matt disagrees, not surprisingly, with that interpretation of the constitution and argues that the state should not pay for legal counsel.

Jerid is in law school and therefore has a personal interest in seeing this activity continue.

While Matt hates spending tax dollars on anything besides fighting wars and funding for-profit charter schools.

So I thought I might suggest a solution that everyone can live with:

Legal Vouchers

Instead of using public defenders paid with tax dollars, maybe we should give defendants a legal voucher to pay for a private defense attorney.

This way they still get a lawyer if they can’t afford one- which Jerid should like.

But the lawyer is not a part of a big government bureaucracy- which Matt should like.

And, as a positive by-product, market forces will, like with charter schools, force the quality of legal service up across the board.


  • Matt N.

    I’m no wikipedia fan, but i think it is interesting that many states started their public defender offices around the time the courts created that right in Gideon.

    But whatever- The meaning and history of the constitution means nothing to xxxxxxxxxxx (Jerid) when he wants to find a right in it, and this case is no exception.

    [Do the name calling on your own blog. Fucktard. – Eric]

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