Host Karen James speaks with Oregon attorney Tara Herivel about Oregon’s shortage of public defenders which deprives defendants’ constitutional right to a speedy trial. While criminal courts promise equal justice under the law, nationwide they are failing to provide effective counsel to those accused of crimes and facing imprisonment who cannot afford private lawyers. While COVID-19 reduced access to the court system, Oregon public defenders called for reduced caseloads and higher pay and warned that the system was on the brink of collapse before the pandemic. Oregon’s criminal system is operating illegally and causing harm to its most vulnerable residents: poor people, youth, the houseless, people suffering with mental illness or substance use, the disabled and disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
Tara Herivel is a prisoners’ rights lawyer and practices in habeas corpus, post conviction, and federal and state public defense.
Tara Herivel firstname.lastname@example.org