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NCJ Number: 97753 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Public Defender Program in North Carolina
Journal: Popular Government  Volume:49  Issue:2  Dated:(Fall 1983)  Pages:5-10
Author(s): F G Lind
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes North Carolina's public defender system, explains how the system works in practice, and examines some arguments for and against it.
Abstract: Seven of North Carolina's judicial districts maintain an office of public defender; in the other 27, the court assigns private lawyers to represent indigent clients. The State recoups about 10 percent of the costs of defending indigent criminal defendants. The North Carolina system began in 1970. The governor appoints most of the public defenders from nominees named by written ballot of the attorneys living in the district. Public defender offices mainly handle criminal cases: traffic, larceny, breaking or entering, assault, arson, robbery, sexual offenses, rape, and murder. One lawyer generally stays with the case through all levels of representation. A case example involving a breaking and entering case in Guilford County shows all the steps involved in a case that goes to a jury trial. The system's main advantage is that it gives indigent defendants effective and efficient representation. It speeds the handling of cases and provides criminal defense materials to other local lawyers. Low cost and better outcomes for defendants are other benefits. Objections to the system are that it can deny young local lawyers trial experience and that public defenders may be too cooperative with prosecutors. However, it is possible for young lawyers to obtain trial experience, and no evidence supports the second complaint. The public defender system should be expanded. A total of 22 footnotes are supplied.
Index Term(s): North Carolina; Public defenders; Services effectiveness
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