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The Champion

December 2013 , Page 55 

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Indigent Defense

By William P. Wolf

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A Tale of Two Counties And Two Very Different Outcomes

Assistant public defenders have it really tough in the trial courtrooms. These lawyers are typically assigned to large caseloads in which surprises can arise at any time, even when meeting the client for the first time. First meetings can be very tense, and a lawyer must possess the required skills to resolve the tension and seek a favorable solution for the client.

Sometimes this tension comes from a difficult client who demands more than should be realistically expected from a lawyer assuming the case for the first time on “day one” of representation. Tension can also stem from a prosecutor who extends a plea offer with an “it’s good for today only” deadline. Finally, tension can come from a judge who believes that assistant public defenders are “fungible,” meaning that any assistant public defender whom the judge wants to step up on a case should be able to do so at a moment’s notice regardless of the posture of the

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