Indigent defendants denied a basic right

In his March 18 guest column, “Justice is fair representation for both sides,” Sean R. Berry went to great lengths to applaud our system of providing indigent defendants with free public defenders.

While he is absolutely correct (in my humble opinion) in touting the constitutional rights provided, he is missing entirely the subject of a “news” article occupying one half of the facing page (“Serious problems persist in indigent legal defense”). This article belabored the financial and general public disregard for an overtaxed and understaffed system that, in fact, denies indigent defendants the competent public defenders that are supposedly provided under the Constitution.

This is a disgrace and should not receive the editorial support implied by the selection of your guest column. The Gazette should be applauded for publishing information covering both sides of this issue but they should also be chastised for placing the “pro” side on the editorial page thereby implying an agreement. The issue of “biased imprisonment” is a flagrant disregard by our judicial system that should be cured with a relatively minor infusion of funds which pales in comparison to the money we as a country have spent in “nation building.” We need to rebuild a nation in this country that is consistent with the founders and writers of our Constitution.

Gordon Taylor

Anamosa

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