In Defense of Defense Attorneys - Articles

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Posted by: Brittany Sims on Jun 19, 2014

The Washington Post examines why being a public defender is increasingly bad for a candidate’s political future in a June 17 article. Political candidates in Arkansas and South Carolina were subjected to attacks for having "personally defended dangerous criminals" as part of their jobs as defense attorneys. The paper notes one of the reasons Debo Adegbile’s nomination to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division was rejected was because he once helped prepare a brief in defense of a man convicted of murdering a police officer. Potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also faced attack for her work as a defense attorney early in her career. Steven Benjamin, the immediate past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called the attacks on criminal defense attorneys and public defenders assigned by the state “grossly unfair.” "Public defenders and court-appointed attorneys are the backbone of the criminal justice system," he said. "Without them, the criminal justice system couldn't function."