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Resource ID: #17383
Subject: Criminal Justice System
Source: Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas)
Date: 2000-10-15



A Star-Telegram three-part series reveals that in Tarrant county, Texas, "people who can't afford their own attorneys are much more likely to receive a jail or prison sentence than people who pay for their own lawyers, even among defendants with similar criminal histories." The reporters examine more than 10, 500 court records and find numerous cases of innocent people, spending months in prison, because they can't afford to pay an experienced attorney. The investigation also shows that poor are more vulnerable to death penalty. "The findings reveal a system in which poor defendants must stay in jail because they can't afford bail or an attorney; low compensation leads many top defense attorneys to avoid court appointed cases, leaving defendants with inexperienced lawyers; rules for providing lawyers to the poor differ from judge to judge."

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