Friday, April 16, 2010

How to Be a Public Defender Revolutionary, Part IV


Fourteen Public Defenders in Minnesota have filed a labor grievance over their heavy caseloads. This may be the first example of street-level public defenders taking organized action against their bosses to curtail excessive caseloads, as reported here.  (For more about how ABA ethics opinion 06-441 gives PDs the tools to control excessive caseloads, see How to Be a Public Defender Revolutionary, Part I, II and III).  The Minnesota 14's stance is patriotic, in the best sense of the word, and should inspire all of us to stand up to any government agency that attempts to violate our clients' right to receive effective assistance of counsel and our right to provide it.  Public Defenders in Minnesota, we salute you!

(Thank you, Martha, for posting a link to this story on the comments--and on The Power of Yep! :)  )


Anonymous said...

The power of yep. So juvinile when you think about it. Just say "yes" like a grownup and show some respect for the may want that respect retuirned someday when you are sitting there.

Anonymous said...

The PD caseloads in Minnesota are absurd. I clerked for a PDs office during law school and it was ridiculous how much the attorneys were overworked then, before the last three or four rounds of layoffs. I hope this serves as a wakeup call to Pawlenty and the MN legislature.

Frayed Knot said...

To Anonymous re Yep!

I am happy to say "Yes," even like a grown-up. I will say "Yes, your honor," with enthusiasm, if necessary. I will even say "Yes, Indeedy Dumpling, May it please the Court, Your Honor," if that is what is required.

The story of "Yep," was a metaphor--not about the actual word, but about the arbitrary and selective enforcement of rules--something public defenders fight against, I hope. It was also, by way of analogy, a story about the power of solidarity against the arbitrary, selective power of those who try to suppress us.

But you are right, if you read the story only on its surface level, it is a juvenile story about a disobedient lawyer girl who got in a snit when she couldn't say "Yep!"

Anonymous said...

So what are the case load standards these days? Some days I feel like I can't get my feet under me no matter how hard I work,and some days I feel like I am busy, but just enough to keep me happy.

This job is amazing, and this blog helps serve as the support to remember it.