Matt Yglesias weighs in on the efficacy of public defenders without ever having read . . . oh, you know where this is going:
Matthew Yglesias speculates about what would have happened if George Zimmerman had been represented by a public defender. As somebody who knows quite a few public defenders (and — full disclosure — is married to one), I was surprised to see Yglesias describe most public defenders as having “little emotional … investment in winning the case.” It’s been my general observation that many public defenders are extremely passionate, whether about helping their clients, defeating overreaching prosecutors, or both. It’s not a bearable job if you don’t have an emotional investment in it.
That assertion aside, Yglesias’s broader point is to worry that those who are represented by public defenders may have worse outcomes than those with represented counsel because public defenders lack adequate incentives and resources. But some of the research on this is actually quite interesting. Morris Hoffman, Paul Rubin, and Joanna Shepherd wrote a paper arguing that while public defenders’ clients do tend to fare worse than those with private counsel, that may be caused by a selection effect . . .
Knowing stuff is for suckers.
Bonus: He thinks British Imperials never wore shorts.
Update: I’d say that the category is now closed because of this impressive compendium. But I’m sure there will be more.