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Report: Oregon has far too few public defenders

KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has only roughly one-third of the public defense attorneys it needs to provide reasonably effective assistance to low-income defendants, a committee of the American Bar Association and a major accounting firm said in a report released Friday.

“We all need to recognize that the gap between what we are currently providing and what this report reflects that we should be providing is vast,” said Steve Singer, executive director of the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services.

The researchers found that Oregon only has 31% of the attorneys it needs to provide reasonably effective assistance of counsel for adult and juvenile defendants.

The Oregon Office of Public Defense Services also has significant data deficiencies that prevent the agency from providing meaningful oversight, said the researchers, who recommended that the state invest in a centralized data system for all public defense attorneys.

The Oregon Project report was requested and financed by the Legislature and was conducted over two years by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and accounting firm Moss Adams LLP.

The Associated Press

Comments

9 Comments

  1. The last paragraph was the most interesting one of the bunch. “The Oregon Project report was requested and financed by the Legislature and was conducted over two years by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and accounting firm Moss Adams LLP.” A major conflict of interest when the party doing the survey/counting is also the party who will benefit the most from the information compiled, of course there is a shortage and I would have been shocked if they had said otherwise. More hands will be reaching into the public-funded cookie jar.

  2. What does it matter if there aren’t enough public defenders when there aren’t any laws to break anymore? The police actually have to arrest people and prosecutors have to bring charges. That doesn’t happen on the west or east coast anymore.

  3. Too few public defenders, or ya could say too many criminals. With Oregon legalizing so many crimes in the last few years its tough to say which statements are actually true.

  4. I think we need less public defenders to keep the two class system running effectively. People that have enough money to lawyer up and the guilty. ( I mean people experiencing houseless mess.)

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