You are on page 1of 5


To: Karen Holt

From: Aaron Thompson

Date: 28 January 2017

Subject: Research Proposal Pains of Public Defender Program


Every person in this country deserves the chance to defend themselves. Research and carefully
conducted studies show that the current program of public legal defense has become inadequate
for taking care of the legal support for those who cant or choose not to hire a personal lawyer.

Some of the main questions or points of interest in this study are as follows:

Why do we need public legal defenders? (Jost 1).

Do current public defenders adequately represent their clients in a professional and
effective way? (Mantel 1).
Will giving a higher budget to public defense lawyers give better incentive to perform as
they are needed in the courtroom? (Mantel 1).


Over the course of my life, I have been influenced greatly by laws and lawyers. Having a legal
system like the one we have, gives us the ability to stand up for ourselves and helps keep people
in check. Other influences of lawyers have come from close family members and friends. My
Father was a lawyer as well as my wife Sarahs Father. These examples and others have given a
clear guide to what should be expected from a legal representative. It is not enough to be an
effective speaker, or to simple know the laws. A lawyer must be willing to put forth many hours
into painstaking research, writing, and understanding the cases they are presented with.

Because of this background, I have gained expectations for what a lawyer should be and I want
people to be aware of the flaws in the system. This is especially significant when a flaw affects
the majority of Americans seeking justice from the law, such as the flaw I will discuss in my full


Without the law and order that we experience through the legal system the society and type of
life that most Americans experience would ultimately be lost. It is the responsibility of each
citizen of whatever country they may be in, to protect that society from failing in whatever way
they can. This is why we need lawyers who know what they are doing and will put forth the
effort to do it. This is why the public defense program needs to work smoothly. And this is why
we as a people need to do what we can to make that happen.


The research that I have done so far comes entirely from secondary sources. These sources come
from scholarly sources from websites that appear to be reliable. Many of these sources have
sections where opposing views are expressed by different authors. This allows a clear view of
what the other side of the argument has to say. In the research that I will yet do I plan to spend as
much time both the school and the public library as I can. After I have found sufficient sources
from there, I will seek primary sources from the lawyers I have contact with as mentioned in
Background section of this proposal.


Because the number of successfully defended legal cases, satisfactory reports of the defendants,
and overall effectiveness of the public legal defender program are steadily decreasing in the legal
world, citizens of the United States are no longer guaranteed the right to fair legal trial. Therefore
the current program of free and public legal defense needs to be re-evaluated and repaired or
otherwise replaced with a better system for free legal justice.

Give overview of key points
Clearly define the topic and my argument

Motivation of legal work

Current system puts a great deal of pressure on defendants
My Position

High failure rates are due to defendants and not the lawyers
Public defense needs more funding

Why much of the failure is due to the lawyer

Money going to public defense is being inefficiently used

suggest possible solutions

summarize previous points


Jost, Kenneth. "Too Many Lawsuits?" CQ Researcher 22 May 1992: 433-56.

Law suits have increased dramatically in the United states over the last few
decades. This has been steadily leading to a strong reliance on the litigation
process for increasingly minor disputes, and has been causing financial instability
in the economy. Includes Pro and Con articles.
--- "Arbitrating Disputes." CQ Researcher 11 Mar. 2016: 241-6
Many companies due to the increased risks and likelihood of being sued not only
by customers, but also by employees require their workers to sign a paper
agreeing to settle disputes through arbitration instead of litigation. Includes Pro
and Con articles.
Mantel, Barbara. "Legal-Aid Crisis." CQ Researcher 7 Oct. 2011: 829-52.

Re-visits the problem of Public defense and how to find appropriate means for
lawyers to fulfill this role both in time and without compensation to take the
burden off of the state and local government. Includes Pro and Con articles.
--- "Public Defenders." CQ Researcher 18 Apr. 2008: 337-60.
Explores the Problem of the Public defense program. Argues that mandatory
ProBono work be required for all lawyers to compensate for those who cant
afford legal representation. Includes Pro and Con articles.
Merritt, Deborah., and Organ, Jerome., and Downs, Diane. Is the Bar Too Low to Get into Law
School? The New York Times debate /2015/09/24/is-
Takes the issue with lawyer effectiveness to the school and Bar examination level.
Are the current law students being properly prepared for their duties? Are they
properly tested and proven to have learned proper skills? Includes Pro and Con
Ogletree, Charles J. An essay on the New Public Defender for the 21st Century. Law and
contemporary problems 58.1 (1995): 81-93.
Dues to the nature of the Public Defense Program, Lawyers who work as Public
Defenders receive lower wages and less opportunities for advancements and
recognition. This has led to decreased effectiveness in their legal counsel and
results in a large number of defendants being wrongly convicted due to their
defense attorneys lack of motivation, skill, and effort.
Richardson, L. Song, and Phillip Atiba Goff. Implicit Racial Bias in Public Defender Triage.
Are Public defenders performing with low quality work when influenced by racial
discrimination. How much does this affect the legal system. Comfortable
situations in public defender positions affect how professionally lawyers handle
certain cases, specifically those involving minority races.
Wice, Paul B., and Peter Suwak. Current Realities of Public Defender Programs: A National
Survey and Analysis. Crim.L.Bull. 10 (1974): 161.

Analysis of the state of the Public Defender Program in the 70s. Shows how
things have changed between now and then and where many of the problems we
see today first had their roots.


Date Activity
2/1 Turn in Proposal
2/3 Bring quotation you will use in paper to class
2/8 Have picture, chart, or table to class for argument paper
2/10 Draft of works cited page due
2/13 Research Peer Review
2/15 Research Paper DUE


This paper will give both the readers and myself an increased knowledge at the legal system of
our country. This will prove useful for both everyday citizens and future lawyers. I plan to attend
law school after completing my undergraduate degree and will therefore benefit greatly from the
research and effort that will come from writing on this subject. I therefore request to receive
permission to write and continue research on this subject for this coming essay assignment.