Here are a few tidbits that lept out at me:
"Twenty-two percent of public defender clients are dismissed before charges are even filed, compared to just 13% of people represented by private assigned counsel. After filing, public defender clients are 23% more likely than other indigent defendants to have all charges dismissed." Defendants with retained counsel are slightly more likely than PD clients to have their cases dismissed.
When felony charges are not dismissed, public defenders are more likely to take the case to trial. Wichita public defenders take 1.37% of un-dismissed felony cases to trial compared to 1.25% for private appointed counsel and a .85% rate for private retained counsel. The rest plead out.
"[F]or every 100 typical indigent defendants, public defender attorneys will have 11 more dismissals and two more felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor."
"Once convicted, public defender clients can expect a 29% longer jail sentence than other indigent defendants. This translates to a sentence that is 11.8 days longer for a “typical” indigent defendant."
"[P]ublic defenders meet with clients more promptly, spend 21% more time on each misdemeanor and 42% more time on each felony case, and engage in more assertive use of pretrial motions. If private assigned attorneys applied the same level effort to their caseload at their current hourly rate the overall costs to the county would rise by $141,699."
"Public defenders use pretrial motions and hearings more frequently than private assigned attorneys." Wichita PDs file pretrial motions in 75% of misdemeanor cases compared to 22% for private appointed counsel. PDs file pretrial motions in 97% of felony cases, compared to 52% for their private counterparts.
"Indigent defendants assigned to the public defender are much more likely to have access to pretrial investigation services and experts."
"Indigent defendants can expect at least 40% more attorney time devoted to their case if they are represented by a public defender."
Unsurprisingly, mentally ill defendants are more likely to be assigned counsel than to hire an attorney. "having a mental illness substantially increases the chance a person will be assigned counsel rather than hiring an attorney. Among otherwise identical defendants, a mental impairment raises the chance of a private appointed attorney by 33.7% and the chance of a public defender attorney by 24.4% while reducing the chance of a retained attorney by 20.4%."
Prosecutors are paid 10-15% more in Wichita County than public defenders with comparable experience and tend to have lower turnover. Average tenure among Wichita prosecutors is eight years compared to 3.4 years at the PD's office.
Whether or not defendants are released pretrial has a big influence on case outcomes:
The benefits of pre-trial release are apparent in the data. In Wichita County, statistically identical defendants who make bond experience:MORE: See a report from Texas Lawyer's Ex Parte Blog.
• 86% fewer pretrial jail days
• 333% better chance of getting deferred adjudication
• 30% better chance of having all charges dismissed
• 24% less chance of being found guilty, and
• 54% fewer jail days sentenced