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 Public Defenders Often are Just as Effective as Private Counsel, Study Says

NEWS-UNALIENABLE-RIGHTSAnonymous writes "Public Defenders Often are Just as Effective as Private Counsel, Study Says

A study of Chicago-area courts found that public defenders often are just as effective as private lawyers in persuading judges to grant bail, accept plea bargains and sentence defendants appropriately.

But for some defendants, the study found, retaining a private lawyer may be money well-spent, according to Miller-McCune. The bimonthly magazine, which focuses on public policy and academic research, is published by the Miller-McCune Center, a nonprofit in Santa Barbara, Calif.

For white defendants, having a private lawyer makes it 2.7 times more likely that they will get bail. And black defendants with a private lawyer are twice as likely to get the original charge reduced, the article reports.

The study, led by Richard Hartley (PDF) of the University of Texas at San Antonio, is discussed in the Journal of Criminal Justice and abstracted on Science Direct.

It was based on a random sample of 2,850 offenders convicted of felonies in Cook County, Illinois."

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