- Wednesday, 10 September 2014
from Chief Defender Derwyn Bunton:
I want to share with everyone the optimism I have for the future of public defense and the Orleans Public Defenders Office (OPD). I am excited because all across the country we as public defenders are redefining ourselves, reasserting ourselves and living up to ourselves. More than 50 years ago, in Gideon v. Wainwright, the United States Supreme Court stated we are necessary for fairness and justice in our criminal courts, and we are now breathing in what that means. Sometimes forsaken and minimized, I believe today – truthfully – Gideon is rising.
I say rising because what is happening now with Gideon is not new. It is not some new interpretation of the law or change in statute. We were told 50 years ago how important our job is, what difference we are supposed to make, and for whatever reason public defenders did not believe it or maybe just over time we forgot. We buried our obligation, our duty and our challenge. Our U.S. Supreme court told us we are fundamental to the existence of justice, and I believe OPD is beginning to live up to the promise and duty of the right to not just counsel, but justice.