Tina K. Russell

November 16, 2008

“Capital punishment,” in more ways than one

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 11:11 am

Letters – Easing the Burden of Public Defenders – NYTimes.com

To the Editor:

Re “Citing Workload, Public Lawyers Reject New Cases” (front page, Nov. 9):

The assertion that despite increasingly overwhelming workloads, public defenders must “tighten their belts” during these times of severe reductions in state and local revenues is an affront to the constitutional guarantee of effective assistance of counsel for indigent criminal defendants.

We must not shortchange our Constitution regardless of our economic woes. There are, however, huge savings to be had that would substantially reduce the financial burden on public defenders’ offices and other components of our criminal justice system while maintaining our constitutional commitment to ensuring that all defendants receive quality representation.

As has been established by numerous studies in numerous states, including California, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Tennessee, the repeal of capital punishment would save taxpayers many millions of dollars a year.

The time has come for Americans and their elected representatives to seriously consider whether we can afford our error-prone, discriminatory and bankrupting death penalty system.

John Holdridge
Director, A.C.L.U. Capital
Punishment Project
Durham, N.C., Nov. 10, 2008

I’m Tina Russell and I approve this message.

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