CLF comments on public defender budget for Daily Tarheel

A recent article by Corey Risinger at The Daily Tarheel discussed changes to the budget of North Carolina’s public defenders. For a conservative perspective, DTH reached out to the Center for Law and Freedom:

Elliot Engstrom, an attorney with the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute, said he could see the budgeting change as a part of N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin’s rethinking of the court system.

“It’s likely that they’re trying to kind of have the ability to really have all the pieces at their disposal,” Engstrom said.

Regardless of political opinion, he said it is a clear move to take power away from the public defenders’ office.

Later, I commented on a free market approach to public defenders in the form of vouchers:

To improve representation, Engstrom suggested a public defender voucher system, not unlike the state’s private school vouchers. Then, he said defendants could choose any public defender or attorney they deem the most experienced.

“Instead of government throwing a lawyer at you, (vouchers) give you the power to choose which lawyer you have representing you,” he said.

Read the full article here.

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