Kansas Senators need to be taught what a public defender does

The main argument used against Carl Folsom in seeking appointment to the Court of Appeals, was the kind of cases he undertook in his role as a public defender.

By

Opinion

June 9, 2020 - 10:21 AM

Republicans in the Kansas Senate have managed to squeeze a number of bad decisions into a short special session. This week, they even denied a judgeship to a respected longtime public defender, Carl Folsom III, because he was once assigned to represent a man convicted of possessing child porn. Which only deepens our impression that one problem area for Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, state Sen. Molly Baumgardner and others is the U.S. Constitution.

Public defenders do more than represent their clients, who include the poor and the poorer, the odious and the innocent, none of whom they choose. They take all comers, and in doing so also defend the Constitution itself every day, with a job description clearly laid out in the Sixth Amendment right to counsel for every single person accused of a crime.

That may not sound right to you, Senators, but it’s a little late to take it up with James Madison.

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