The Sixth Amendment guarantees the rights of individuals to a public trial, the right to a lawyer, and the right to an impartial jury. However, with a broken criminal justice system and underfunded and overburdened public defense system, many of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens lack proper representation and few receive their day in court. Today we look take a look at the public defense system and how it impacts people of color by interviewing Ashley Adams, a staff attorney at non-profit organization and former public defender in Alabama. In the interview we discuss the importance of using a sociological lens to understand legal outcomes (12:30), the role of public defenders in the criminal justice system (16:25), how money and privilege impacts legal outcomes (29:45), gender, motherhood, and intersectionality in the courtroom (36:45), the plea bargain process and the cost of pleading not guilty (43:10), how we bring justice back into the justice system (57:00), and common mistakes that people make when entering the legal system (1:00:30).
Other Topics Include:
10:00 - Learn more about Ashley’s background
20:06 - Gideon’s Army and the life of public defenders
24:25 - The difference between private defense attorneys and public defenders
1:05:20 - Resources for seeking legal counsel
1:07:30 - Advice for future public defenders
1:10:58 - Ty and Daphne reflect on the interview