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InlandPolitics: Greasing a lucrative criminal defense contract ? – Part 1
The Sentinel: Allegations of irregularities in awarding of $40 million indigent defense contract

Monday, February 17, 2014 – 02:00 p.m.

In part one of the series we looked at the stacked contract bidding process to handout four, three-year contracts totaling some $40 million in taxpayer dollars.

But there’s more to the story.

A human side of the story.

First, Inland Defenders, the now known lead contender to walk away with all the contracts, has several panel attorneys with records of being disciplined before the State Bar of California.

Public records reveal six to be exact.

The firm constantly boasts it’s panel quality. But then again!

Secondly, if their was such a term as attorney welfare, it would be the conflict panel under Carter, Spring, Shank & O’Connor. After taking a closer look at the attorney component of the equation, one has to wonder how these professionals make it. It’s a sad situation. It would appear that getting paid a flat rate to make one or more court appearances, on behalf of an indigent defendant, is hardly a way to provide any semblance of a defense for the accused, or earn a decent living for the counselor.

The story being, that it’s crystal clear that it’s very tough for the conflict panel attorneys to get by. I’ve seen them run through the courthouses from courtroom to courtroom, with bundles of case files under their arms. They don’t look to thrilled.

It’s doubtful that county supervisors could really give a gee-whiz either.

These conflict attorneys are up against Deputy District Attorneys, who top out near $140,000 per year in salary, plus a benefits and retirement package. That’s in addition to the unlimited taxpayer-funded resources at their disposal.

The counterparts to the conflict panel lawyers is the Deputy Public Defenders, a county department whose lawyer compensation and benefits identical to the prosecutors.

When the inherent incentive is the rapid disposition of cases, troubling thoughts come to mind.

Yes, what about the accused? One just has to wonder!

The only way a conflict attorney can receive more for a case is if the case is designated as a complex case by the court. Something that rarely occurs due to, you got it, budgte concerns.

Back in 2009, Former Public Defender Doreen Boxer, stuck her neck by pushing a plan for the county to create an Alternate Public Defender Panel, identical to one in Los Angeles County. The new panel would have eliminated roughly ninety-percent of the existing conflict panel caseload. Her neck was chopped off after getting sent a message about interfering with millions of dollars in contractual relationships, that had been in place for years.

Less than a year later, Boxer, a Board of Supervisors appointee, was dismissed.

Sources say San Bernardino County officials recently interferred in Boxer’s potential appointment to the Orange County Superior Court bench.