Public Defenders: Pragmatic and Political Motivations to Represent the Indigent
ISBN-13: 978-1-59332-068-3 / Hardcover
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 / vii, 303 pages
Weiss finds that public defenders' motivations may be "pragmatic" and include the opportunity for trials or the lifestyle advantages that come with government legal work. Others may be "political" -- the desire to give meaning to constitutional protections, the altruistic urge to help others, or the chance to confront police, prosecutors and judges who many public defenders believe treat their clients unfairly. These sentiments arise frequently and their expression suggests that they comprise a mindset unique to public defenders. While critics claim that public defenders lack the dedication to represent poor clients effectively, Weiss concludes that many are passionate about their work, seeing it as a way to challenge the mistreatment they believe their clients suffer.