On television and in the movies, police officers read people their Miranda rights and tell them they will be provided a lawyer if they cannot afford one. But in reality, legal representation is rarely free. The Supreme Court has found the Constitution guarantees the right to counsel but allows states, in most cases, to try to recoup the cost. More than 40 do so, according to a 2022 report by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Iowa takes these efforts to the extremes, an investigation by The Marshall Project found. Not only does Iowa impose some of the highest fees in the nation — affecting tens of thousands of people each year — it also charges poor people for legal aid even if they are acquitted or the cases against them are dropped.

Archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20240212131540/https://www.themarshallproject.org/2024/02/12/miranda-rights-indigent-defense-iowa

all 39 comments
sorted by: hot top controversial new old
[-] some_guy@lemmy.sdf.org 109 points 1 week ago

For poor people who can’t pay, the effects can be devastating. Among other things, they can lose their driver’s licenses and the ability to register a vehicle. Their wages, bank accounts, and tax refunds can be garnished. If they are on probation, failure to pay can help put them back behind bars. Debtors report damage to their credit scores and harassing phone calls from collection agents.

Sounds like it's having the intended effect of keeping the landless, non-gentree, class down.

[-] corsicanguppy@lemmy.ca 12 points 1 week ago
[-] some_guy@lemmy.sdf.org 10 points 1 week ago
[-] Daft_ish@lemmy.world 2 points 1 week ago

If one thing is true is of the umpteen billion internet users not all of us were cut out to be righters.

[-] deft@lemmy.wtf 7 points 1 week ago

school to prison pipeline

[-] AdamEatsAss@lemmy.world 65 points 1 week ago

Even more messed up is pay-to-stay prisons in the "land of the free". American culture loves to be "tough" on crime, then anyone who supports helping those found guilty or accused is immediately labeled as a criminal as well, because "why would you want to help a convict unless you're one too?"

[-] SinningStromgald@lemmy.world 47 points 1 week ago

The point of the US prison system is to keep as many people as possible incarcerated as long as possible or as often as possible. We don't want to reform them or reintegrate them into society.

[-] Lemjukes@lemm.ee 12 points 1 week ago

We had to replace slavery with somethi…. Well… still slavery but with some extra steps.

[-] Meowoem@sh.itjust.works 2 points 1 week ago

I wonder if human labour becoming worthless due to automation will result in prison reform or if it's more sinister and actually it's pretty much just a scam to get government money into the hands of private businesses via lucrative contracts

[-] GFGJewbacca@lemm.ee 7 points 1 week ago

Of course, because they're incredibly valuable slave labor.

[-] grue@lemmy.world 4 points 1 week ago

Well yeah, because if we let them out we can't exploit them as slave labor anymore.

[-] joyjoy@lemm.ee 22 points 1 week ago

I'm not a criminal now, but I might be one day. Then people like me better watch out!

[-] hglman@lemmy.ml 6 points 1 week ago

The link is not formatted correctly

[-] AdamEatsAss@lemmy.world 0 points 1 week ago* (last edited 1 week ago)

You're not formatted correctly...it looks correct on my end. This is how I do it [Text] (link)

[-] gobills@lemm.ee 2 points 1 week ago* (last edited 1 week ago)

Yo no one is listening to you, I even looked at your comment and was like na thats a broke link. Then i realized its not the link to the article thats wrong its that you copied another link from the page when you posted the article snippet. I think for some it is only showing your comment i text format not as the link->text format.

TLDR: OP aint crazy yall are the crazy ones lol

[-] SpaceNoodle@lemmy.world 0 points 1 week ago* (last edited 1 week ago)

Your link is all fucked up

Edit: downvoting me does not unfuck your link

[-] AdamEatsAss@lemmy.world 0 points 1 week ago* (last edited 1 week ago)

Looks correct to me. How do you format links? I do it the reddit way. "[Text] (link)"

[-] paysrenttobirds@sh.itjust.works 2 points 1 week ago

The link contains parentheses. It looks and works fine in jerboa:) I guess other clients aren't as tolerant

[-] SpaceNoodle@lemmy.world -2 points 1 week ago
[-] AdamEatsAss@lemmy.world 2 points 1 week ago

...again it looks right on my end. I am using jerboa. How should I be formatting links if not like that?

[-] SpaceNoodle@lemmy.world 2 points 1 week ago

Maybe Sync and possibly other clients interpret the markdown differently. You might check your URL for improperly escaped characters.

[-] Tremble@sh.itjust.works 36 points 1 week ago

If you can not afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. But you will be charged later for the attorney…… which we know you can’t afford?

[-] theworstshepard@lemmynsfw.com 24 points 1 week ago

That makes no sense.

It would be like a bank charging you for a letter that says you're out of money

[-] joyjoy@lemm.ee 24 points 1 week ago

There's a thing called overcharge fees...

[-] theworstshepard@lemmynsfw.com 5 points 1 week ago


[-] Fosheze@lemmy.world 11 points 1 week ago

You mean overdraft fees?

[-] joyjoy@lemm.ee 8 points 1 week ago

If you choose to represent yourself, do they charge you court fees to pay the judge and prosecutor?

[-] GladiusB@lemmy.world 8 points 1 week ago

Actually yes. You need to pay to file paperwork.

[-] jpreston2005@lemmy.world 31 points 1 week ago

So whether you can afford it or not, whether you are guilty or not, whether you did anything wrong or not, you're still gonna have to pay. why? Well, it's not like we can hire/train professionals to deal with the enforcement arm of these terrible policies. best we can do is 3 months of on the job training. But don't worry, if they mess everything up, you'll always have your day in court! Which you'll be charged for!

So the real moral of the American justice story is, you only get it if you're wealthy enough, but also if you're wealthy enough you're never beholden to it.

[-] SoylentBlake@lemm.ee 4 points 1 week ago

If you're gonna be fucked either way, might as well go big.

At least there's a chance you might go home then

[-] Telorand@reddthat.com 27 points 1 week ago

Debtors Prison never went away, it just reorganized upstream.

[-] SoylentBlake@lemm.ee 4 points 1 week ago* (last edited 1 week ago)

That's because prisons are just institutionalized state sponsored slavery that sells it's 'goods' to private companies.

Refusing to work in prison will net you more time. Rinse repeatn= if you ever want to see your family again, you'll work.

[-] unreasonabro@lemmy.world 22 points 1 week ago

murica! fuck yeah. doing it wrong every motherfuckin day, yeah

[-] bartolomeo@suppo.fi 1 points 1 week ago

Was I supposed to sing that? Because I did.

[-] Maggoty@lemmy.world 19 points 1 week ago

it also charges poor people for legal aid even if they are acquitted or the cases against them are dropped.

This is some real damned if you do, damned if you don't energy. You beat the prosecutor, but you'll never beat the court putting you in jail for not being able to pay them.

[-] Rediphile@lemmy.ca 5 points 1 week ago* (last edited 1 week ago)

Not unlike turtles, it's lawyers all the way down....

[-] PopMyCop@iusearchlinux.fyi 15 points 1 week ago

I'll do you one better on TOP of this: the lowest level offenses, like traffic tickets, don't afford you the right to an attorney (somehow, eh? Also, catch my pun :P ). Maybe you think that's fine, because traffic tickets are different from theft charges and assault charges, etc. etc., but the catch is the lowest level of criminal offenses bundle in with those traffic tickets. If you catch a theft charge for the lowest amount, you don't get an attorney. If you catch a theft charge after the first, even if it's the same dollar store candy bar amount, now you are in a higher charge, with more jail time. The pattern repeats across other crimes as well. In fact, when I was paying attention, I'd say most of the 'crimes' that I saw people brought in for in my city were the low level offenses, and they were always the weasel crimes of cursing, making gestures... anything that could be used to put someone in jail for the night, and they would never get representation to fight the bullshit.

This varies by state

this post was submitted on 12 Feb 2024
280 points (99.6% liked)


16984 readers
3470 users here now

Welcome to the discussion of US Politics!

For non-political US news see, "News"!
For news OUTSIDE the US, see "World News"!


  1. Post only links to articles, Title must fairly describe link contents. If your title differs from the site’s, it should only be to add context or be more descriptive. Do not post entire articles in the body or in the comments.
  2. Articles must be relevant to politics. Links must be to quality and original content. Articles should be worth reading. Clickbait, stub articles, and rehosted or stolen content are not allowed. Check your source for Reliability and Bias here.
  3. Be civil, No violations of TOS. It’s OK to say the subject of an article is behaving like a (perjorative, perjorative). It’s NOT OK to say another USER is (perjorative). Strong language is fine, just not directed at other members. Engage in good-faith and with respect!
  4. No memes, trolling, or low-effort comments. Reposts, misinformation, off-topic, trolling, offensive, regarding the moderators or meta in content may be removed at any time.
  5. Vote based on comment quality, not agreement. This community aims to foster discussion; please reward people for putting effort into articulating their viewpoint, even if you disagree with it.
  6. No hate speech, slurs, celebrating death, advocating violence, or abusive language. This will result in a ban. Usernames containing racist, or inappropriate slurs will be banned without warning

We ask that the users report any comment or post that violate the rules, to use critical thinking when reading, posting or commenting. Users that post off-topic spam, advocate violence, have multiple comments or posts removed, weaponize reports or violate the code of conduct will be banned.

All posts and comments will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This means that some content that violates the rules may be allowed, while other content that does not violate the rules may be removed. The moderators retain the right to remove any content and ban users.

That's all the rules!

Civic Links

Register To Vote

Citizenship Resource Center

Congressional Awards Program

Federal Government Agencies

Library of Congress Legislative Resources

The White House

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

Partnered Communities:


World News

Business News

Military News

Global Politics

Moderate Politics

Progressive Politics

UK Politics

Canadian Politics

Australian Politics

New Zealand Politics

founded 8 months ago