The Right to a Fair Trial

If accused of a crime, a person has the right to fair legal proceedings within a court of law.  If one cannot afford a lawyer and is declared indigent, a lawyer for criminal proceedings will be provided through the state-funded public defender system.  (Otherwise known as CPS or committee for public counsel services. )

However, many people have non-criminal civil action law suits and are indigent yet have no guarantee to a lawyer.  Child custody cases, caretakers with large medical bills refused by Medicare — have no access to a state funded attorney.   Without a lawyer, there is a definite lack of justice.

There are nonprofit legal aid organizations that can help the impoverished who work hard to provide assistance to families who are being evicted, who need to remain safe from harm, or any number of such scenarios.

But legal aid organizations are in financial trouble. They rely financially on federal and state governments as well as donations from lawyers or patrons.  In Massachusetts, legal aid organizations had their budgets reduced severely due to cuts in state funding.  For example,  Greater Boston Legal Services now has to deny over 60% of eligible clients.

It is vital to donate toward local legal aid organizations.  We must make sure every citizen is given a fair trial, be it a criminal or civil case—But now there are substantial funds for criminal cases only.

Reference

ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE BY MARGARET H MARSHALL, “Provide Legal Support to Those Most Vulnerable – Boston.com.” Featured Articles From Boston.com. 29 Oct. 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://articles.boston.com/2011-10-29/bostonglobe/30337231_1_legal-aid-legal-assistance-litigants>.

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