"This study empirically examines the associations between legal representation and four key outcomes in mental health courts. The outcomes include whether eligible defendants chose to participate in a municipal mental health court (MMHC); if defendants chose to participate, whether the MMHC resolved their criminal charges without court supervision; whether eligible defendants attended the initial MMHC court hearings; and whether defendants successfully completed the MMHC program. The study included 1012 defendants who were accepted into a MMHC in a state where municipal court defendants do not have to be represented by a defense attorney. We conducted bivariate and logistic regression analyses to identify differences in each of the four outcomes between MMHC defendants who did or did not have a defense attorney. The results of the bivariate and logistic regression analyses found defendants represented by defense attorneys were more likely to choose not to participate in the MMHC, to resolve their criminal charges without court supervision, to participate in initial court hearings, and to successfully complete the MMHC program. All four regression models were statistically significant, although the amount of variance explained was relatively low, ranging from 6% to 13%."
Data breach at US legal aid firm Brooklyn Defender Services exposed clients’ personal data
[From the piece:] "New York law firm Brooklyn Defender Services says it has been struck by a data breach involving sensitive personal information belonging to its low income, government-funded clients. The public defender organization said that on September 13, it discovered that “some” employee email accounts had been compromised by an “unauthorized person”, according to a press release published on December 10. A subsequent investigation revealed “that emails or attachments may have included employees’ and clients’ names, addresses, financial account numbers, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, passport numbers, health information, and/or biometric data such as fingerprints”."