In his review, Radley Balko concluded:
Most people don’t care much for public defenders. The job is often despised not just by prosecutors, victims, and the public, but by defendants themselves, who see the lawyers as at best second-rate and at worst just another cog in a machine designed to crush them. Some don’t want a defense and can be openly hostile, even threatening. . . .Again, more evidence - more grist for the mill - the playing field is lopsided in favor of the prosecution to the detriment of our system of criminal justice. No money? Davis found Chicago's best cared. He found an "unwavering dedication and passion among the task force attorneys, often to the detriment of their families, relationships, and health." I thank him for spending the time to understand them and the heart to write about his experience.
Prosecutors have police to investigate crimes, medical examiners and crime scene investigators to provide them with evidence, and considerably more support staff than public defenders do. The 1999 DOJ study, which seems to be the most recent one of the subject, found that prosecutors’ budgets exceeded public defense budgets by about 2.5 to 1. Indigent defendants don’t have their own forensics experts or private investigators, and courts aren’t always obliged to grant them taxpayer money to hire them. . .
If we’re serious about giving everyone a fair crack at justice, indigent defendants need access to the same sorts of resources prosecutors have, including their own independent experts and investigators. If we’re going to generously fund the government’s efforts to imprison people, we need to ensure that everyone the government pursues is adequately defended and protected from prosecutorial overreach. The ongoing stream of exonerations in felony cases suggests we’re a long way from that goal.