Recruiting And Retaining Oregon Public Defenders Is A Problem

Oregon Public Defenders: One day after the District Attorney for Multnomah County, Mike Schmidt, stated that the shortage of public defenders poses a threat to public safety, the head of the public defenders told Focus Hillsboro that the entire judicial system is struggling at this time.

Recruiting And Retaining Oregon Public Defenders Is A Problem

Carl MacPherson, the executive director of the Metropolitan Public Defenders, stated that there are a number of issues that are contributing to the worsening of a system that is already experiencing a crisis. It also includes the prosecutor’s office, the police, the courts, and the police.

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According to MacPherson, the MPD has lost 19 attorneys so far in 2022, and he noted that the pay scales are a major concern when it comes to the recruiting and retention of attorneys.

He stated that there is a shortage of individuals to complete the work as well as a problem with employee retention. “This is one facet of the situation that we’re facing with regard to public safety.”

Recruiting And Retaining Oregon Public Defenders Is A Problem
Recruiting And Retaining Oregon Public Defenders Is A Problem

On Monday, Schmidt stated that the absence of public defenders poses “an immediate threat to public safety.” He also stated that the Multnomah County Circuit Court has dropped hundreds of cases because there was not enough defense counsel.

“Despite the passage of several months since the beginning of this crisis, many people are still waiting for their day in court, while the cases of others have been dismissed entirely. The District Attorney’s Office issued a statement in which he stated that this “sends a message to crime victims in our community that justice is inaccessible, and that their pain will go untreated.”

“Also, it conveys to people who have been convicted of a crime the message that there is no possibility of being held accountable, while simultaneously wasting limited resources on law enforcement and prosecution. Every day that this crisis continues to exist poses an immediate and ongoing risk to the well-being of the general public.

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According to a statement released by the newly appointed executive director of the Oregon Office of Public Defense, Jessica Kampfe, “Public defenders need significant investments to retain existing staffing levels and increase capacity so that they can deliver client-centered representation to all qualifying individuals in a way that improves public safety throughout Oregon.”

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