The OPIA Blog

Gap Seen Between Court-Appointed Lawyers and Public Defenders

Adam Liptak reports on a recent study which found that lawyers paid by the hour are less qualified and achieve worse results for their clients than public defenders earning salaries.

The study, conducted by Radha Iyengar of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, concludes that “appointed lawyers impose an additional $5,800 in costs for the system for every case they handle,” costing “taxpayers $61 million a year more than salaried public defenders would.” Defendants represented by court-appointed lawyers also received longer sentences: eights months longer on average, and up to a year and a half more for those convicted of weapons charges. Full New York Times story here. Text of the study here (.pdf).