Im inclined to think there's a disconnect between the SAPD and the local PD offices. SAPD have very little, if no, actual client contact and I think they tend to view their appeals more globally, i.e., is this case going to make bad law..or can this case be used along with others to steer the Court of Appeals towards overturning "State v. Shit Case"....I think the individual can get lost in that.
Whereas the trial level practitioner focuses on that client and their issue..
That is, of course, basically what the SAPD (Idaho State Appellate Public Defender) has said it is doing.
I would accept this explanation, but I really want to just think they are lazy. The folks at the SAPD never struck me as bad people. It's hard to accept that they simply don't consider themselves to work by the same ethical constraints as the rest of us, that they think of themselves as outside that system. Remember:
As a representative of clients, a lawyer performs various
functions. As advisor, a lawyer provides a client with an informed
understanding of the client's legal rights and obligations and explains
their practical implications. As advocate, a lawyer zealously asserts
the client's position under the rules of the adversary system. As
negotiator, a lawyer seeks a result advantageous to the client but
consistent with requirements of honest dealings with others. As an
evaluator, a lawyer acts by examining a client's legal affairs and
reporting about them to the client or to others.
No where in there does it say a lawyer is a crusader for some random cause called "overturn state v. shit case." Is there such a thing as non-client centered advocacy for lawyers? Not in Idaho. Hopefully not anywhere. And sure as shit if you ARE going to go on a cause streak, you better not be harming your client in the process.
There are (though I can't recall where you find them) special rules for public defenders requiring them to fight anything they can raise in good faith largely because we are seen as "the government," we're civil servants, and the danger is there that we will simply become what so many people say we are- meet 'em and plead 'em warm bodies. Closest thing I could find to what I'm referring to is this bit from the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services:
3. “Work Hard FOR Your Client”
APD’s MUST Work Hard
-Hard work is the only thing that can attempt to “level the playing field”
-A lawyer must be diligent and zealously represent his or her Client (Rule 1.3)
-The duty to use the law to “the fullest benefit to the Client’s cause”
(Rule 3.1, Note 1)
-In order to pursue a matter, all you need is a good faith basis that includes
“a good faith argument for a …modification or reversal of existing law”
It is All About the Client
-APD cannot have a “lawyer’s ego” (it is NOT about “you”)
-Always ask colleagues or other lawyers for opinions or help
-Never base decisions on personal motives
-Client’s interest is primary (over offending judges or bureaucratic office rules)
For the SAPD to decide they are going to see their clients on some macro scale that allows them to blow off claims they can make in good faith... that's pretty horrifying. Private counsel would never ever do that. Why should the poor find themselves with attorneys who don't care about them as individuals? Who don't zealously pursue their defense?
No. That's just way too much bad mojo. I won't accuse them of that. Not yet anyway.