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Attorney General Speaks about Need for Public Defenders

eric holderAttorney General Eric Holder spoke at a meeting for North Carolina Advocates for Justice meeting this past weekend and highlighted the need for legal representation for those who cannot afford it.

In his address, Holder called the legal system “overburdened” as public defenders have too large a caseload without adequate finances to properly fulfill their ethical responsibility to their clients. In turn, these circumstances result in a system that is not performing to its fullest and necessary capabilities.

“Unfortunately, the challenges facing North Carolina’s public-defender program – a lack of staff and increasingly limited resources – are the rule, not the exception,” the attorney general said.

To fix this, Holder pushed the Access to Justice Initiative, a program that would give all Americans better access to legal representation. He also explained more communication, awareness and encouragement for defenders were needed to help this initiative achieve full success.

“The initiative was established to fulfill our responsibility to enhance the fairness and integrity of our legal system, and it reflects an historic assurance that expanding access to legal services is, and will continue to be, a national priority,” Holder said. “And I’m pleased to report that this new office has hit the ground running with an ambitious agenda.”

The meeting was held in hopes to gain back what the justice system had lost in terms of adequate legal defense. Holder hopes his address will contribute to the movement toward better representation, regardless of income.

“I have no doubt that many of the attorneys and advocates gathered in this room will contribute to its success,” he said.

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