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Broken System: The Harris County Public Defender’s Office

Updated: Oct 12, 2023 @ 6:08 pm

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

We had the pleasure of viewing a video produced by NowThis News which addresses the problem with the criminal justice system in Harris County. The video addresses how some lawyers in the Harris County Public Defender’s Office network are benefiting off the people in the Harris County Jail. The result; infringement on the civil rights of defendants. There’s a number of interesting points in the video which we’ll review.

If you need legal representation in the Greater Houston area, and prefer to avoid the pitfalls of working with the Public Defender’s Office, contact Attorney Tad Nelson at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today at 713-802-1631. We’re available around the clock.

In Houston and more particularly Harris County, a paradox of prosperity and despair exists within the criminal justice system. Some lawyers, who are entrusted with upholding justice as public defenders, are accused of causing severe damage to the criminal justice system.

Are Voices of the Defendants Forgotten?

Most of the folks detained at the Harris County Jail, many grappling with poverty, are sidelined in a justice system that seems to be indifferent to their plights. Some of these defendants end up trapped in the system in pre-trial for years. As a result, they lose not only their freedom, but their jobs, homes, and relationships.

Some defendants are at the mercy of a system that often assigns them subpar public defenders. This practice blatantly violates a person’s basic Constitutional Right to zealous legal representation. As a result, the affirmation of their Constitutional Rights never occurs leaving them in a progressively deteriorating legal situation.

Pressures Associated with the Legal Profession

Some attorneys and law firms are marred by financial pressures. These financial pressures can result in attorneys handling a high volume of cases to sustain certain lifestyles or pay off overwhelming law school debts.

With attorneys under this kind of pressure, it can mean inadequate legal counsel for defendants. When lawyers attempt to balance things by taking on too many clients and resorting to quick plea deals, they’ll even forego conducting thorough investigations. This is unfair to defendants and gives both independent and court-appointed attorneys a bad name.

At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, we never maintain a caseload so high that it impacts our ability to be effective for our current clients who trust us.

Plea Mill Lawyers

The term “plea mill lawyers” is used to describe attorneys who prioritize case volume over providing quality legal representation. In other words, money – over their clients’ interests. Their quick-fix approach to cases fosters a disconcerting pattern of endless case resets and overall poor representation.

As the term implies, plea mill lawyers often coerce or motivate their clients to sign for time or probation. In other words, they specialize in getting their clients to enter guilty pleas to quickly turnover cases.

This lack of professionalism among some of Houston’s criminal defense lawyers and court-appointed attorneys leaves defendants largely at the mercy of the state

Consequences of Incompetent Representation

One of the harrowing consequences of this failing system is that some of these defendants are on death row and face execution without having their cases reviewed by federal courts.

This happens because their lawyers missed filing deadlines.

Such grave incompetence and dereliction of duty by licensed attorneys should be grounds for disbarment. However, a recurring cycle of campaign contributions to some judges leads to more case appointments for these lawyers which perpetuates the problem.

The Tipping Scales of Justice

The criminal justice system in Houston is anything but balanced. When defense attorneys fail to advocate zealously on their client’s behalf, the scales of justice tip in favor of the state. This imbalance leads to gross miscarriages of justice and the erosion of everyone’s civil rights.

A Beacon of Hope: Real Lawyers

To uphold the principle of fairness in the justice system, lawyers must be loyal to their clients, not to judges or their financial interests. Attorney Tad Nelson and the lawyers of the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates never sells their clients down the river, cut corners on legal representation, or short changes their clients.

If your or a loved one of yours is ensnared by the legal system, contact our law offices for help. We provide affordable legal fees, flexible payment options, and excellent legal representation to our clients. If you’re relying on a public defender to represent you, there’s small chance that you’ll be assigned one of the better ones. If you’re serious about your future and fighting your case, contact our law offices today.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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