Public Defenseless Episode Is Arguably Most Powerful Episode Yet
Today on the Public Defenseless Podcast, I sat down with Rocky Ramirez and Paul Chambers for what I think is my most important conversation yet.
Rocky is a Managed Assigned Counsel in Bexar County, Texas and Paul works out in the West Texas Public Defender Office with one of my previous guests, James McDermott.
Now by this point, I have spoken with some titans in the Public Defender world. Chief Defenders, Defenders who have been fighting for change for decades, and yet I hold this conversation to hold arguably more potential then all of them. Why? Because Rocky and Paul have found a way to create more of the one thing all Public Defenders are lacking: time.
From my many conversations, I have taken away an startling truth: Public Defender and Assigned Counsel are light years behind in utilizing technology in their offices. They hand jam data entries, manually decide who qualifies for counsel, and some are just barely getting off of paper filing systems. In smaller offices without sufficient resources, it is the Defenders or Assigned Counsel themselves who are required to handle this administrative tasks that pull them away from dedicating all their energy to their client and their case, and this is where Paul and Rocky step in.
With the help of basic automation and coding, Rocky and Paul were able to come up with a system that lowered the time for a person to get appointed counsel in the Far West Texas office from 6.7 days down to .4 days. There have been instances where appointments are happening so fast, that the PDs are beating the magistrates to the court room. Over the course of a single year, this reduction in appointment times has potentially saved more than 8 years of time for people who otherwise would be sitting in pre-trial confinement without counsel and without hope.
I am truly so excited for the many ways in which their practices can be expanded to help attorneys cut down on tasks that detract from the level of representation an attorney can give their clients. From helping with data entry, time management, and even voir dire, the potential for automation to help Public Defenders is truly limitless.
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