PD Reading

Christopher Harbin, a law student reader, emailed me this interesting article which follows a Florida PD over the course of a year.

Interestingly, the subject of the article, Charley Demosthenous, didn't want to be a public defender. But I guess it was the only place where he could get hired.

I'm not sure whether it's because I work in a big city or what, but I think that most, if not all, of the lawyers are here because they really wanted to be public defenders.

I hate the image of public defenders as public defenders only because they couldn't find any other job. But I guess it's a fact of life in some, if not many, places.

Either way, it's a good read. I recommend it.


  1. The problem I have with the series on this young PDs that you mentioned is that it gives a completely skewed view of PDs overall. Right now it is incredibly difficult to land a PD slot in most places in the country. In most places the best trial attorneys in the county are the PDs. In most places the only people with investigators on staff are the PDs. I think a better series on the subject is the one the San Jose Mercury News is running (a five part series this week on problems in the criminal justice system, including the defense bar). http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/stolenjustice/

  2. Consider also that this guy might have been the only one dumb enough to let the paper follow him around, put his name all over the paper, and let him make himself look kind of dim and immature.

  3. If I were ever arrested in my state, I would definitely want a PD even though I probably wouldn't qualify financially.

  4. I have also heard that if you are a public defender, you are not a very good attorney or don't have much experience. The truth is that many are skilled attorneys.

  5. I spent 10 years in private practice, leaving for the world of corporate finance with a client I had worked for the entire 10 years. During my private days, almost 70% of my work (and more like 80% at the end) was court-appointed work. Of those percentages, I'd say it was evenly split between criminal defendants (adult and juvenile) and social services cases.

    I routinely told people who came to me looking for a criminal attorney that getting someone from the PD's office was the best because they were really the specialists in criminal defense. I made the analogy of your family doctor to a brain surgeon.

  6. I wish they didn't feed into the stereotype of PDs as the "couldn't find a job" type, but the article was a good read. I saw a lot of my clients in the newbie pd... a person who can do ok for themselves if they get a break. I hope the guy goes on to a long career of sticking it to the man and learns that the media is rarely ever the friend of the pd.