Let John Oliver Show You How America’s Overworked Public Defense System Screws the Poor


On the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took America’s criminal justice system to task by highlighting the problems surrounding overworked and under-resourced public defenders across the country—including in one California county where only 60 public attorneys are responsible for a staggering 42,000 cases a year.

“A thousands cases in a year? That’s nearly 3 cases per day,” Oliver noted on Sunday. “Those are Gerard Depardieu wine consumption numbers—at breakfast. And with caseloads that heavy, public defenders cannot possibly prepare an effective defense.”

As Mother Jones has reported in the past, such systematic failures are often paid for by the country’s most vulnerable and poor.

To help make his point, Oliver recruited the likes of television detectives, including Dennis Quaid and Jeremy Sisto, to rewrite the Miranda rights warning to more accurately depict the public defense system’s challenges.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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