While criminal defense attorneys in California have been working tirelessly to protect the rights of their clients, a backlog of cases has clogged the court systems. In San Francisco, this has seemed to reach a boiling point for some defendants and has resulted in a lawsuit.
Lawsuit is brought forth against the city of San Francisco
According to San Francisco, balancing the safety of the public and rights of criminal defendants has been a challenging pursuit. But the solution is quite clear to one public defender, who has brought forth a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco. The lawsuit claims that the city has failed to give defendants right to a speedy trial, leaving hundreds jailed for egregiously extended periods of time.
The public defender and his clients believe that the city should give preference to criminal cases as opposed to civil cases to free up the backlog of cases in the system. Standard operations require a court date within 60 days of entering a plea deal, but such deadlines have not always been met over the past year. Furthering the problems, most criminal defendants are confined to their cells for roughly 23 hours a day.
Protecting civil rights
Although there is currently no comment from the city of San Francisco, advocates hope that the lawsuit will cause some form of change in California. The right to a speedy trial is a basic humanitarian right available to criminal defendants. Even when the justice system is not operating perfectly, a criminal defense attorney is designated to use the legal means necessary to protect clients from violations of their rights.