Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Verdict On Misdemeanors: Government Wasting Money, Creating Deficits, Violating Rights

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) announced the "first-ever national report on misdemeanor courts," and determined the following:\

Efficient enforcement will unclog the courts, improve public safety and save money.

Now now, NACDL, why are you throwing things like this at the public? At elected officials? Since when does efficiency in government unclog anything, improve anything, or save anything or anybody?

This report comes on the heels of the announcement that misdemeanors will no longer be prosecuted in Contra Costa County, California due to lack of funds.

The Report, entitled Minor Crimes, Massive Waste: The Terrible Toll of America’s Broken Misdemeanor Courts, took a look at misdemeanor courts in the United States.

It recommends that, ahem, "states divert non-violent misdemeanor cases that do not impact public safety to programs that are less costly to taxpayers and repay society through community service or civil fines."

There's non violent misdemeanor cases that do not impact public safety? Like what? Selling flowers without a license, urinating in public, commercial vehicle violations, stealing a minor amount of merchandise, drinking in public, loitering, expired tag more than 4 months?

NACDL President John Wesley Hall says “I don’t think there is a bigger waste of human potential and taxpayer money in the entire criminal justice system."

Maybe he has a point, since the report shows there are more than 10 million misdemeanor prosecutions per year.

Also, "In four major cities—Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and New Orleans—public defenders have more than 2000 cases per lawyer per year. In New Orleans it is more than 18,000, which means that the lawyer has five minutes per client.”

Five-minutes? I know, "can we get that down to two" some people are thinking.

Good report, let's see what happens as a result.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit

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