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Federal public defender refuses Hilo man's scam case

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:26 a.m. HST, Aug 28, 2013

HILO » The Federal Public Defender's office in Honolulu has turned down a Hilo man's wire fraud case because of budget cuts.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports this is the first case the office turned down because of federal budget constraints known as sequestration.

First Assistant Federal Defender Alexander Silvert says in a motion filed in court this week that his office doesn't have the resources to defend Justin Wade Smith. The 32-year-old Hilo man is accused of scamming investors of more than $1 million.

Silvert says his office has notified the court they'll be refusing to take certain cases.

A judge will appoint a private attorney for Smith, at the expense of taxpayers. He is scheduled for trial next month on 39 counts of wire fraud. He's being held without bail.

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krusha wrote:
Feds passing the buck through sequestration. Probably cost taxpayers a lot more money than they saved
on August 28,2013 | 10:45AM
cmn848 wrote:
If the Federal Public Defenders are not going to take the case, then why even have them??!!!!
on August 28,2013 | 12:46PM
steveoctober wrote:
Would you like to work for free? The defendant is entitled to appointed representation that is going to stand behind him 100%. He could turn around and say that wasn't the case because his attorney was being willfully uncompensated, sue the govt and easily win, and taxpayers would be in even worse shape. The sequestration is nothing but a political nightmare created to stir up fear mongering.
on August 28,2013 | 03:12PM
scooters wrote:
Really, we have to pay for this s#umbags trail..BS, just let the victims have a turn with him..that'll be justice and will not cost us a dime..
on August 28,2013 | 11:26AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:

This is absolutely horrible. One of our basic rights as Americans is the right to defense when charged with a crime. This is to help bolster the belief that all are innocent until proven guilty.

I find scooters' comment below completely un-American and unpatriotic. Whoever scooter is, s/he clearly has no love for true American justice as the Founding Fathers intended.
on August 28,2013 | 11:43AM
WooWoo wrote:
I agree with ellinaskyrt, but I also think that there should be the option for a jury to impose an additional penalty on the defendant in egregious cases were guilt is obvious. A friend of mine was a juror at a trial where the defendant was caught on security video robbing a store, tripped the alarm, and the police arrived and arrested him on the spot red-handed. He literally mounted no defense. He just wanted a jury trial.
on August 28,2013 | 11:57AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
Intellectually, I agree with you, WooWoo. But how do you codify into law what constitutes guilt as being obvious? I'm not saying it's impossible. I just wonder how possible it is to do that without getting onto a slippery slope of some sort. Our system, as it is, is nowhere near perfect. It's just better than what many other nations have. If ever I were wrongly accused of a crime, I'd much prefer it happen in the US than any other place in the world.
on August 28,2013 | 01:41PM
Macadamiamac wrote:
If he stole $1M, he can hire his own attorney. Jeez Louise! The nerve!
on August 28,2013 | 01:28PM
Kenichi wrote:
After scamming more than $1M from trusting investors, this creep should pay for his own attorney. If he can't afford a private attorney, taxpayers should not be saddled with his defense costs. He should be jailed until he can scrape up the funds for a private attorney, even if it takes the rest of his miserable life. And if this is "unconstitutional", send him to a country where it is "constitutional". Our legal system should quit coddling law breakers.
on August 28,2013 | 03:18PM
soundofreason wrote:
I'll defend him. I'd make a terrible attorney but I'm really ok with that.
on August 28,2013 | 06:33PM
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