A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section


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New York Times—August 23, 2013, 5:31 p.m.

Obama Says Law School Should Be Two, Not Three, Years


President Obama urged law schools on Friday to consider cutting a year of classroom instruction, wading into a hotly debated issue inside the beleaguered legal academy.

“This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck. I am in my second term, so I can say it,” Mr. Obama said at a town hall-style meeting at Binghamton University in New York. “I believe that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years.”

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New York Times, August 23, 2013

Public Defenders Are Tightening Belts Because of Steep Federal Budget Cuts


WASHINGTON — Faced with steep cuts to their budgets, federal public defenders around the country have furloughed or laid off hundreds of lawyers and other staff members, spent less on expert witnesses and cut back on case-related travel.

The cuts for the 2014 fiscal year will most likely result in staff reductions of 30 percent to 50 percent, they said. And some public defenders are even considering closing their offices because of a lack of money.

The result, said lawmakers, judges and public defenders, are court delays that might violate defendants’ rights to speedy trials and could lead to the dismissal of criminal cases.

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