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By Michael P. Judge
A Different View of Excessive Defender Caseload Issues
On at least a weekly basis my Personnel Reassignment Committee reviews
our balance of personnel and our deployment to ensure we are capable of
providing high quality representation. Personnel assignments are
adjusted to match up the experience and skill needed for the incoming
and existing cases and to properly fill vacancies. In the event that
this is not feasible, representation in certain incoming cases is
declined and private practitioners are appointed.
Having such a system of workload monitoring in place is required to
comply with the standards of the Indigent Defense Services Delivery
System Guidelines promulgated by the California State Bar in 2006. The
Guidelines provide that the public defender (or one in a similar
position in a private bar system) is personally responsible for ensuring
that the workload is not excessive for all employees or members of the
defense team, not merely for the lawyers.
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