Lock 'Em Up!

No wonder this sign on the door of the attorneys' file-review room in the Criminal Justice Center disappeared last week. It says "No Coping," not "No Copying."

How did I miss this?


Today's column chronicles some victims of the state's budget impasse: court-appointed defense lawyers. Ones I talked to hadn't been paid since May. Theses are low-overhead, high-volume sole practionners, many of them true believers in work that pays a tiny fraction of what their peers make in private practice.

I got some interesting calls after it ran, one from a writ servers still knocking on dangerous doors, despite not getting paid since the spring.

And then this e-mail, my favorite, comes from Dr. Eric Greenhow, of West Chester, who has a novel solution for preventing Pennsylvania legislators from shutting down the people's business ever again: 

One month before the budget is due to reach the floor of the legislature, the salary and expenses of all members of the budget committee and their staff moves into an escrow account to be released when the budget is submitted to the legislature.  The day the new budget is supposed to go into effect the salary and expenses of the governor, the cabinet, the legislature and their senior staff, moves into an escrow account to be released the moment the governor signs the budget into law.  This would result in a timely presentation of the budget to the legislature, timely discussion, and timely passage, as the people of Pennsylvania deserve.

The only problem is, the legislators are paid so well for their service, bennies and all, that they might not even feel the pinch. Maybe they should be sequestered somewhere that would scare them straight. Like the city they seem to love so much.