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In concluding that states should also provide public defenders to people accused of committing crimes, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black observed in Gideon v. Wainright, “Governments, both state and federal, quite properly spend vast sums of money to establish machinery to try defendants accused of crime.” Many public defenders view it as their duty to throw wrenches into the cogs of that machinery. In reality, public defenders carry more than just wrenches in their extraordinary toolbox, which they employ daily to challenge the ordinary injustices faced by our clients.

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