The Increasing Discrepancies Between Resources Available to Public Defenders & Prosecutors Highlights Severe Injustice
The New York Times recently ran an important piece on the fact that public defenders frequently lack access to gadgets and software that make all the difference in terms of keeping their clients out of jail. In the criminal justice system, citizens who are accused of crimes are supposed to have an advantage because the burden of proof is on the prosecution and state. However, in practice, this is not always the case: even though the government must turn over all evidence to the defense, investigators can compel testimony, issue subpoenas, and pressure defendants into taking guilty pleas.
Access to The Latest Technology Is Far from Equal
Prosecutors also have an advantage when it comes to technology: While law-enforcement can use court orders and warrants to compel companies to turn over communication such as emails and photos, defense attorneys cannot. Prosecutors also have access to forensic technology, which makes their investigations much easier; particularly when it comes to extracting data from smart phones. In order to successfully defend a client, defense attorneys must have access to the same tools that the police do, including forensic devices and software–expensive technology that captures formats that can hold up in court. These devices can not only capture emails and text messages, but also material that has been deleted. Ultimately, this is necessary in order to reconstruct defendants’ movements in order to prove their innocence.
Overall, there is no question that it is an uneven playing field; where there has been an inadequate amount of scrutiny of these new techniques that law-enforcement has access to solve their cases. It is a constant game of playing catch-up, with law-enforcement gaining access to new investigative techniques, and those representing the accused struggling to catch up. While a number of forensics companies are willing to sell to defense attorneys, some companies actually are not, deciding that they are limiting sales distributions to local, state, and federal government law-enforcement users only.
Public defenders are also often turned down by companies such as Facebook and Google, who, at the same time, provide the state’s attorney and police with all of the information they need, and insist on defenders obtaining warrants, even though that’s impossible. The subpoenas that defenders can get are then often ignored by these companies.
Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Are the Very Best: Contact Us to Find Out More
This is yet another reason why it can be difficult for public defenders to provide defendants with the same quality level of representation as private defense attorneys. Not only are there fewer resources for the accused, but those resources that are available are sometimes impossible to rely on.
When it comes to being accused of a crime, you do not want to gamble with your future. Contact our Orlando criminal attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out more about our noteworthy criminal defense services.