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Justice Is Swift as Petty Crimes Clog Courts: Cases Adjudicated in Minutes or Less, Often Without Lawyers

Date: November 30, 2014
Authors: John R. Emshwiller and Gary Fields
QUOTE: Years of aggressive policing tactics and tough-on-crime legislation have flooded the American court system with misdemeanor cases—relatively small-time crimes such as public drunkenness, loitering or petty theft. The state courts that handle such charges often resemble assembly lines where time is in short supply, according to judges and lawyers who work in the courts. Many poor defendants, despite their right to court-appointed legal counsel, don’t get lawyers, and those who do often receive scant help in the rush to resolve cases.

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