On television and in the movies, police officers read people their Miranda rights and tell them they will be provided a lawyer if they cannot afford one. But in reality, legal representation is rarely free. The Supreme Court has found the Constitution guarantees the right to counsel but allows states, in most cases, to try to recoup the cost. More than 40 do so, according to a 2022 report by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Iowa takes these efforts to the extremes, an investigation by The Marshall Project found. Not only does Iowa impose some of the highest fees in the nation — affecting tens of thousands of people each year — it also charges poor people for legal aid even if they are acquitted or the cases against them are dropped.

Archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20240212131540/https://www.themarshallproject.org/2024/02/12/miranda-rights-indigent-defense-iowa

  • @some_guy
    1105 months ago

    For poor people who can’t pay, the effects can be devastating. Among other things, they can lose their driver’s licenses and the ability to register a vehicle. Their wages, bank accounts, and tax refunds can be garnished. If they are on probation, failure to pay can help put them back behind bars. Debtors report damage to their credit scores and harassing phone calls from collection agents.

    Sounds like it’s having the intended effect of keeping the landless, non-gentree, class down.