Study Calls Illinois Public Defender Process Unconstitutional

Study Calls Illinois Public Defender Process Unconstitutional

A multi-year report from the 6th Amendment Center points out problems in Illinois public defender process, calling the process unconstitutional for indigent defendants.

The state of Illinois is one of seven states that delegates to its county circuit court judges to provide public defense lawyers.

Jon Mosher, of the 6th Amendment Center, said due to the way the system is set up, there is a high possibility of a defendant not receiving a fair trial.

“At root, the problem is that these public defenders are not independent,” he said. “Public defense lawyers most of the time are dependent on trial court judges for their jobs. This opens up the possibility of receiving an unfair trial.”

With Illinois delegating to its counties, Mosher says that the state is left out of the loop on important issues such as how many cases there are and how much the cases might cost.

Illinois is one of 7 states in the country that still uses this system for appointing public defenders which Mosher says is a failure to evolve.