Reporters discuss public defender series on Smart Talk

Keystone Crossroads series: No Justice for All -- Pennsylvania's Unequal Access to Adequate Public Defense

  • Scott LaMar

Anyone accused of committing a crime and facing criminal charges in the U.S. has a Constitutional right to be represented by an attorney, and as the famous Miranda warning says, an attorney will be appointed if the defendant can’t afford one.

Indigent defendants are often represented in court by public defenders.

An investigative series by Keystone Crossroads finds that Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that doesn’t provide funding for public defenders. It’s up to counties to pay. The series also found that many public defenders are stretched thin because they handle too many cases, and as a result may not provide adequate representation for their clients. At least one lawmaker is concerned that Pennsylvania isn’t meeting its Constitutional responsibilities.

Reporter Emily Previti, who led the series, and reporter Katie Meyer, who contributed to it, appeared on Thursday’s Smart Talk to describe what they found.