Why is it so difficult to get free or inexpensive help from lawyers , or pro bono assistance ?

I know that everyone says that he or she is not guilty . But there is a young man in New York State that has served his time , he has actually served longer than he should have , and should be serving . . He has worked so hard to go through all the proper channels and has all the paperwork and legal documents in place to prove it . He is not without guilt nor is he saying that he was wrongfully accused . The system keeps failing him time and time again , and he is desperate to just get someone on his side so that he can show them that he is being held incarcerated far longer than he should be . He just needs some help . This is not a lost cause . I know him personally and I have seen the documents and I have every belief that he is correct and all he needs is one attorney to see the proof and help .

Buffalo, NY -

Attorney Answers (4)

Eric Edward Rothstein

Eric Edward Rothstein

Criminal Defense Attorney - New York, NY
Answered

If someone is indigent the court appoints a public defender which is free of charge.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
Jayson Lutzky

Jayson Lutzky

Divorce / Separation Lawyer - Bronx, NY
Answered

Private lawyers get paid to work. Public defenders and pro bono lawyers have a long list of clients needing assistance. It is a budgetary problem. Good luck in finding the appropriate attorney.

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Carl Scott Spector

Carl Scott Spector

Criminal Defense Attorney - Fair Lawn, NJ
Answered

Thank you for sending such a sincere plea for help. The criminal justice system can be overwhelming especially to those going through it for the first time. I am certain that there is a local attorney in the county that this case is pending that will be willing to work on this case and help your friend. I see that your post is from Buffalo, NY so I am assuming that this is a Buffalo case. I hope that you are contacted by a local attorney willing to help. In the meantime if you wish to reach out to me I would be willing to speak to in order to point you in the right direction.

Note: For informational purposes only. Seek an in person consultation with an attorney to be informed about all... more
Steven Michael Cohen

Steven Michael Cohen

Criminal Defense Attorney - Buffalo, NY
Answered

Your frustration is well justified. This is precisely the kind of case that tends to fall through the cracks. It is a strain on the system to get pro-bono attorneys, public defenders, and assigned counsel involved with all of the arraigned criminal cases involving indigent defendants, just to assure a fair trial or plea disposition. The 6th Amendment to the Constitution and the cases that have flowed from that compel the government to provide attorneys at that stage. Most efforts by bar associations are geared toward assuring competent representation at the trial stage, and secondarily, for any appeals. After that, the next priority for the pro-bono bar is to exonerate people who have been wrongfully incarcerated. When someone has been incarcerated following a fair trial, but has remained in prison for longer than they were properly sentenced, such victims generally find themselves at the end of a long list of people looking for pro-bono assistance, and it can take a very long time before their case will be picked up - if ever. Private attorneys love wrongful incarceration cases, because they can be lucrative (in New York State, Court of Claims Act 8-b provides relief, and the Due Process claims can also find exprression under 42 USC 1983 with fees being provided for under 42 USC 1988). The trouble is, 8-b claims are predicated on actual innocence, and the constitutional claims find greater value in lengthy incarcerations when the wrongfully detained prisoner has lost revenues and been subjected to injury during the period of incarceration. Your friend's situation offers little financial incentive for attorneys who operate on a contingent fee basis, and is a lower priority for already over-burdened pro-bono attorneys. However, I will certainly be glad to speak with you to see if something can be done. Your friend is fortunate to have you to lend your credible voice. By far, the majority of victims of the system are voiceless. Feel free to call me at 716-636-7600.

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