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Minor Crimes, Massive Waste: The Terrible Toll of America's Broken Misdemeanor Courts

Publication year: 2009
The concept that "misdemeanor courts across the country are incapable of providing accused individuals with the due process guaranteed them by the [U.S.] Constitution" is explained (p. 7). Sections following an executive summary are: introduction -- methodology and the misdemeanor courts; problems in misdemeanor courts -- absence of counsel, deterrents to asking for counsel, misdemeanor caseloads, why caseloads are so high, misdemeanor defense in practice, defendants lack access to support services, inexperienced counsel, lack of standards, inadequate compensation for defenders, judicial conduct, lawyer burnout, and disproportionate effect on minority communities; and conclusion.