Aw, come on. Does anyone really believe that the criminal justice system in a capitalist nation is going to be FAIR? America is about get-what-you-pay-for, and proudly so. This ideology doesn’t just quit at the courtroom, because we like to pay lip service to “justice for all.” Sometimes your free public defender is smart, competent, compassionate, and skilled, and sometimes, well…you get what you pay for.

Oh, yippee, a class-action suit has been filed on behalf of poor-decision-maker Kimberly Hurell-Harring. Ms. Hurell-Harring was very unhappy that her court-appointed lawyer, one Patrick E. Barber, was such an incompetent doofus that he got her convicted on a felony count rather than a misdemanor. Whoops. Well, this happens all the time. There are idiots like Ms. Hurell-Harring and there are idiots like Mr. Barber, and idiots often end up spending time in the same places, wringing their hands over their own idiotic behaviors. Ms. Hurell-Harring’s particular brain surgeon moment was attempting to smuggle in marijuana to her incarcerated husband, jailed for assault with a deadly weapon. She did this by filling a condom with weed and stuffing it up her lady tunnel. The mother-of-two was immediately arrested, for prison folk were more than able to outsmart her wily wits. She told everyone how very sorry she was, and how her husband, in the joint for an 8-year deal, said bad words to her thereby forcing her to become Francis the Drug Mule.

Enter Mr. Barber, working for 50K a year, which is squat for any lawyer, much less one nearing 50 years old and in practice for some time. So why did Mr. Barber wish to take on such relatively-poorly-paid, low-prestige, and draining work? HMM. HMM. Let’s think about that for a minute. Was he a wealthy man, ready to move from private practice to devote his life to serving the destitute in their hour of need? Hmm…nah. It turns out he had been professionally reprimanded twice for case neglect, had emotional problems, and was rumored to enjoy distilled mood-altering beverages perhaps more than would be prudent. His psychiatrist, with the absolutely delightful name of Dr. Koock E. Jung, testified that Mr. Barber’s emotional state would surely compromise his ability to represent his clients. But who cares, right? No one, if honest, would admit to expecting much better to defend the parade of criminal fools that could not even afford to scrape up the cash to buy some Snidely P. Whiplash, Esq., from a splashy ad on a city bus.

So Ms. Hurrell-Harring did her four months in prison, and left with a felony record and a few years of probation. Mr. Barber’s bummer continued downwards, resulting in a brief hospitalization, he quit his job, and then got arrested on his own special felony charge of forging court documents. He is currently awaiting trial. Ms. Hurell-Harring’s conviction was overturned and now she is championed for her Vaginal Trojan Doobie adventure by none less than the New York Times. The fate of the condom and its contents are unknown.

The class action suit may result in states taking a closer look at the men and women they hire as public defenders, and that’s not a bad thing, although no one will want to pony up the money for reform. Let's say it again: this is America. The best and brightest in anything, including those who have toiled away in academia for years getting professional degrees, generally are not going to be attracted to depressing low-paid jobs to pay off their substantial student debt. The noble intent to serve all with the luminance of Constitutional justice fades rather quickly when faced with unpaid bills and the never-ending stream of humanity coming though county jail who cannot seem to follow basic laws or get too close to others who cannot seem to follow basic laws. Ask anyone who has spent time in the D.A.’s office. A lot of those lawyers enjoy their distilled mood-altering beverages, too.

Dumb, meet Dumber.