InvestigateTV - Season 2; Episode 13

Citizens have a right to an attorney even if they can't afford one thanks to the Sixth Amendment, but there's a growing shortage of public defenders nationwide.
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 3:00 PM CST
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InvestigateTV - This Week on InvestigateTV: The nation is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an attorney, but there’s a public defender shortage. The problem means delayed justice for victims and prolonged jail time for the accused not convicted of crimes. In some areas, vacancies are at an all-time high. It’s leaving both defendants and victims waiting for months, sometimes even years, for justice. Andy Pierrotti takes an in-depth look into the issue in this special episode of InvestigateTV. WHERE TO WATCH ICYMI – Watch last week’s episode.

The Sixth – Public Defender Shortage: In part 1 of the series, we focus on people accused of crimes waiting months or even years to get an attorney – leaving defendants and their families struggling to navigate. In desperation, one Wisconsin man hanged himself in jail while waiting to get an attorney. A Georgia judge has been live streaming his courtroom, showing that oftentimes there is no one to represent the accused – he likens the crisis in America to what’s happening in countries with historically unjust systems.

The Sixth – Released from Jail: In part 2, Pierrotti looks at the affect on crime victims whose cases are delayed or even dropped because the government can’t find an attorney to handle the defense. Andy speaks with a small business owner in Oregon whose dry cleaning shop was vandalized. While the police have evidence of who did this, the case was dropped after the state couldn’t provide a public defender. It’s an example of what’s happening across the country: cases dropped and/or defendants released because justice can’t be carried out swiftly enough..

The Sixth – Why They are Leaving: Defendants left without a public defender still have to navigate the legal system and when their lawyer doesn’t show up, those facing the judge are left with few options. We take you into a courtroom where everyday citizens find themselves forced into defending loved ones.

The Sixth – Search for Solutions: Lawmakers respond to our national team’s investigation on the impact of public defender shortages across the country, which uncovered hundreds of people accused of crimes with no legal representation. Andy Pierrotti breaks down new proposed federal legislation that could help, and why one Georgia legislator has lost confidence in his state’s office in charge of public defense.