How can journalists and public defenders work together to bring awareness to the real issues plaguing our court system? Today, Hunter spoke with Maggie Shepard, Director of Communications at the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender, to discuss how public defenders can use media relations to deepen their connection with the community they are working to protect.

A policy can only be effective if it has adequate momentum behind it and with most offices unwilling to comment publicly, it makes it difficult for the public to fully grasp the issues. There is a lot of bureaucracy in our court system but it does serve a purpose, to protect the rights of the accused. Everytime a public defender refuses to make a comment they miss the opportunity to highlight the deeper issues surrounding the case, which can be done while honoring the anonymity of the client.

Today’s conversation highlights the real need for communication between the public and the courts and between journalists and public defenders.