Op-Ed: End New York's Two-Tiered Justice System (Newsday)
By Donna Lieberman
Donald Telfair did not meet his public defense attorney until he was standing in front of the prosecutor and judge in a Suffolk County courtroom last year. He had been violently attacked by a group of men, but instead of taking his report, the police charged him with robbery.
His defense attorney didn't explain that Telfair had been assaulted, or protest when the prosecutor argued he was a flight risk. Still in his hospital gown, with one eye swollen and his jaw wired shut, Telfair, 46, of Medford, was instead forced to address the court himself.