In a recent issue of the Law Society Gazette (click here for a link to the article), a British judge warned that “dispensing justice will become ‘impossible’ if the ‘erosion’ of the criminal bar continues.”
Although he was speaking specifically to the situation in Great Britain, this judge’s comments apply equally in the US as well (read this recent New York Times article, for example). As funding cuts continue to erode criminal defense systems nationwide, the already wide gulf between haves and the have-nots is growing to Grand Canyon sized dimensions.
And it’s not just the poorer clients who are suffering disproportionately in a system like this which is so rife with disparity. When both sides in the justice system aren’t represented by skilled and experienced counsel, time and money are wasted, the legal profession is damaged, appealate courts are clogged, and penal institutions are overwhelmed.