Read more on this subject: Legalities/Legal Rights
Feature Article by Marc J. Victor
It was over a quarter of a century ago when I first began representing people charged with criminal offenses. As a young inexperienced criminal defense attorney, I often wondered why someone would voluntarily part with their hard-earned money to hire me when they could likely secure a criminal defense attorney from the Public Defender's Office for free. It seemed I had an impossible case to make to my prospective clients.
However, it soon became apparent that most people held preconceived, and often erroneous or seriously flawed, ideas about public defenders. I often heard people refer to public defenders as public pretenders or simply proclaim that public defenders were actually on the prosecutor's side. I found myself correcting people who believed public defenders were somehow not actually lawyers. Given my financial incentive, it would have been easy for me to simply confirm their erroneous beliefs in the name of securing a fee.