Public Defenders Warn: Nothing Left to Cut

Federal public defender offices are feeling the effects of federal spending cuts, National Public Radio reports, with some seeing layoffs or trial delays due to budget restrictions. Last month, the Justice Department celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court ruling gave poor people facing criminal charges the right to a lawyer even if they couldn’t afford one. According to Ohio public defender Steven Nolder, that obligation does not go away even if spending cuts limit access to public defenders. "These are not luxury services that we're providing," Nolder says. "These are constitutionally mandated services, and because they're mandated, someone has to do it."