This week, DA Jackie Lacey perpetuated an ugly falsity that public defenders are not real lawyers. She also alleged that public defenders don’t care about victims. These statements are not only irresponsible, but they are also dangerous.
Every day, public defenders fight for people who cannot afford private attorneys and these public defenders give voices to the voiceless communities that L.A.’s justice system has marginalized. And they do it, often, with fewer resources. In L.A. County, the District Attorney’s Office receives about $115 million more per year for their office’s salary and expenses than our County’s two public defender offices combined. Public defenders also fight for victims. Often the accused has suffered victimization. Often, victims are left out of the process by prosecutors and call on public defenders to listen to their needs.
Sometimes public defenders are powerless. Sometimes public defenders expose a person’s innocence. Sometimes public defenders uphold constitutional values–including the right to not be illegally searched, and the right to have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt before someone’s liberty is taken. And sometimes, public defenders simply fight to put a name to a person, to tell their story, and to force our justice system to understand the practical implications of mass incarceration. It doesn’t get any more real than that.
As your District Attorney, Rachel would seek to empower public defenders, ensure they are properly resourced, and applaud their oversight of my policies. She wants every conviction under her name to have been fully and vigorously challenged because she wants every conviction to be one of integrity and constitutionally sound.
“I am running for District Attorney precisely because I am a public defender. I am a former public defender and I am a real lawyer with real solutions for how to bring reform to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.”–Rachel Rossi
Join Rachel in bringing the change that Los Angeles wants, needs and deserves.