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Letters: Public defenders fighting 'McJustice'

March 20, 2013

Re "Violating the right to a lawyer," Opinion, March 18

I read this piece on inadequate representation for poor criminal defendants with mixed feelings.

I have been a deputy public defender in Los Angeles County for nearly 13 years, and during that time I've worked with attorneys whom I believe to be among the country's finest criminal defense attorneys. The nearly 700 attorneys in our office receive special training at the misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency and felony levels; in fact, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recognized our felony training program in 2010.

There is no denying that race and poverty are obstacles to fairness in the criminal justice system. Even so, I am deeply thankful that while "meet 'em and plead 'em McJustice" seems to be the rule in many parts of the country, my office works tirelessly at trials and appeals to ensure that all of our clients are zealously defended.

Julia Knox

Los Angeles

This article ends with "People facing the loss of life or liberty are entitled to more than McJustice."

Unfortunately the McCourts have run out of McMoney to pay the Mc- Lawyers to defend the McCriminals. So the criminals should kindly "man up" and confess their transgressions without lying and not clog up the court calendar.

Do the right thing, serve your time, and behave better next time. Don't expect our broken system to help you.

Steve Engel

Pacific Palisades

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