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

  • @some_guy@lemmy.sdf.org
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    1094 months ago

    For poor people who can’t pay, the effects can be devastating. Among other things, they can lose their driver’s licenses and the ability to register a vehicle. Their wages, bank accounts, and tax refunds can be garnished. If they are on probation, failure to pay can help put them back behind bars. Debtors report damage to their credit scores and harassing phone calls from collection agents.

    Sounds like it’s having the intended effect of keeping the landless, non-gentree, class down.

  • @AdamEatsAss@lemmy.world
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    654 months ago

    Even more messed up is pay-to-stay prisons in the “land of the free”. American culture loves to be “tough” on crime, then anyone who supports helping those found guilty or accused is immediately labeled as a criminal as well, because “why would you want to help a convict unless you’re one too?”

    • @SinningStromgald@lemmy.world
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      474 months ago

      The point of the US prison system is to keep as many people as possible incarcerated as long as possible or as often as possible. We don’t want to reform them or reintegrate them into society.

      • Lem Jukes
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        124 months ago

        We had to replace slavery with somethi…. Well… still slavery but with some extra steps.

        • @Meowoem@sh.itjust.works
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          23 months ago

          I wonder if human labour becoming worthless due to automation will result in prison reform or if it’s more sinister and actually it’s pretty much just a scam to get government money into the hands of private businesses via lucrative contracts

      • @grue@lemmy.world
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        44 months ago

        Well yeah, because if we let them out we can’t exploit them as slave labor anymore.

    • unalivejoy
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      224 months ago

      I’m not a criminal now, but I might be one day. Then people like me better watch out!

        • @gobills@lemm.ee
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          3 months ago

          Yo no one is listening to you, I even looked at your comment and was like na thats a broke link. Then i realized its not the link to the article thats wrong its that you copied another link from the page when you posted the article snippet. I think for some it is only showing your comment i text format not as the link->text format.

          TLDR: OP aint crazy yall are the crazy ones lol

  • @Tremble@sh.itjust.works
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    354 months ago

    If you can not afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. But you will be charged later for the attorney…… which we know you can’t afford?

    • tws
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      244 months ago

      That makes no sense.

      It would be like a bank charging you for a letter that says you’re out of money

    • unalivejoy
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      84 months ago

      If you choose to represent yourself, do they charge you court fees to pay the judge and prosecutor?

  • @jpreston2005@lemmy.world
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    314 months ago

    So whether you can afford it or not, whether you are guilty or not, whether you did anything wrong or not, you’re still gonna have to pay. why? Well, it’s not like we can hire/train professionals to deal with the enforcement arm of these terrible policies. best we can do is 3 months of on the job training. But don’t worry, if they mess everything up, you’ll always have your day in court! Which you’ll be charged for!

    So the real moral of the American justice story is, you only get it if you’re wealthy enough, but also if you’re wealthy enough you’re never beholden to it.

    • @SoylentBlake@lemm.ee
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      44 months ago

      If you’re gonna be fucked either way, might as well go big.

      At least there’s a chance you might go home then

    • @SoylentBlake@lemm.ee
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      4 months ago

      That’s because prisons are just institutionalized state sponsored slavery that sells it’s ‘goods’ to private companies.

      Refusing to work in prison will net you more time. Rinse repeatn= if you ever want to see your family again, you’ll work.

  • @Maggoty@lemmy.world
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    193 months ago

    it also charges poor people for legal aid even if they are acquitted or the cases against them are dropped.

    This is some real damned if you do, damned if you don’t energy. You beat the prosecutor, but you’ll never beat the court putting you in jail for not being able to pay them.

  • @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.