The Cost of Crime: Part Two

Those of you who’ve hired an attorney know how expensive that can be. Public defenders represent those charged with a crime, who can’t afford an attorney. You pay for those services.

“All cases are given full attention, however we cannot try every shop lifting case, we can’t try every possesionary drug offender case. It just doesn’t make good financial sense,” Commonwealth attorney Chris Corhon said.

One of the expenses that come from the justice system is the Department of Public Advocacy. In Warren County, public advocate Renae Tuck and her office see over 4,000 cases a year.

“Without public defenders, basically the criminal justice system would shut down because we probably represent, I would say 80-percent to 90-percent of all criminal cases that are prosecuted,” Tuck said.

Tuck and the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chris Cohron both agree that time is the most valuable asset to a public advocate and something they never have enough of.

Cohron said public advocates are better prepared than private attorneys to deal with certain people that have mental problems or other issues.

“You see some states that have gone to a contract system, solely where private attorney’s are paid per case to represent indigent clients and that can have costs sore through the roof,” Tuck said.

Even though no one wants to ever be the victim of a crime, Tuck said we’re all at risk.

“It could happen to anybody. We’d like to think we’re insulated. Nobodies 100-percent insulated from crime touching them in some manner, whether they’re a victim a family or person charged with the crime,” Tuck said.

Since we all feel the effects of crime, it’s important to have knowledgeable public advocates to represent those that can’t afford their own and to make sure the job is done right.

“It’s expensive enough and time consuming enough to deal with the cases the first go around, much less having to deal with the case a second go around or a third due to incompetent representation,” Tuck said.

Stuart Cohron said even though his office has to put large amounts of time and resources into each trial they handle, he said more than 99-percent of all felony cases in Ky. end in plea bargains.

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