What is Causing the Crisis in Oregon Public Defense?
The Oregon Public Defender System is broken. Due to a shortage of attorneys willing to take on the cases, hundreds of people wait for months without ever having an attorney appointed to their case. During this wait, they are often required to return to court to mandate another hearing because attorneys are not available to take the case. With each passing day, evidence grows harder to find, the memories of potential witnesses fade away, and whatever trust the accused had in the legal system withers and dies.
To help Hunter understand how this crisis consumed Oregon Public Defense, he spoke with Chris O’Connor, a Public Defender at the Metropolitan Public Defender in Multnomah County Oregon. After 20 years as a Public Defender, Chris is the perfect guest to help understand the history and decisions leading up to the crisis.
As he reveals, report after report over the years have continuously showcased the many failings of the overly complex, contract based public defender system. Yet despite the issues being obvious, the legislature and the judiciary continued to allow the issue to fester. This episode is a must listen if you want to best understand the uphill battle the Public Defenders in Oregon are facing!