On television and in the movies, police officers read people their Miranda rights and tell them they will be provided a lawyer if they cannot afford one. But in reality, legal representation is rarely free. The Supreme Court has found the Constitution guarantees the right to counsel but allows states, in most cases, to try to recoup the cost. More than 40 do so, according to a 2022 report by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Iowa takes these efforts to the extremes, an investigation by The Marshall Project found. Not only does Iowa impose some of the highest fees in the nation — affecting tens of thousands of people each year — it also charges poor people for legal aid even if they are acquitted or the cases against them are dropped.

Archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20240212131540/https://www.themarshallproject.org/2024/02/12/miranda-rights-indigent-defense-iowa

  • @PopMyCop@iusearchlinux.fyi
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    154 months ago

    I’ll do you one better on TOP of this: the lowest level offenses, like traffic tickets, don’t afford you the right to an attorney (somehow, eh? Also, catch my pun :P ). Maybe you think that’s fine, because traffic tickets are different from theft charges and assault charges, etc. etc., but the catch is the lowest level of criminal offenses bundle in with those traffic tickets. If you catch a theft charge for the lowest amount, you don’t get an attorney. If you catch a theft charge after the first, even if it’s the same dollar store candy bar amount, now you are in a higher charge, with more jail time. The pattern repeats across other crimes as well. In fact, when I was paying attention, I’d say most of the ‘crimes’ that I saw people brought in for in my city were the low level offenses, and they were always the weasel crimes of cursing, making gestures… anything that could be used to put someone in jail for the night, and they would never get representation to fight the bullshit.