The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to be represented by an attorney. However, it wasn't until the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963 that criminal defendants unable to afford a lawyer were granted the right to free legal representation.
The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington does not make a determination as to who is awarded representation. Rather, this decision is made by the court in which the person is being charged with an offense. A person who wants to have a public defender must provide information to the court showing that he or she lacks sufficient income or assets to hire a private attorney. The court will review that information to see if the defendant meets the indigency standard. If the person qualifies for a public defender, his/her case will be sent to the Federal Public Defender, which will assign an attorney to the defendant.
The term indigency essentially means to be poor or have insufficient income. The court weighs a defendant's income and assets against his/her expenses and debts to determine if he/she meets the indigency standards to qualify for a public defender. To qualify for a public defender, a person must have an income that is no more than 25% above the poverty line, based on the number of people in the household. The figures below are current as of January 2020 and are subject to change.
Household Size Annual Gross Income
A Private / E-1 earns a base pay of $1,733.00 per month, or $20,796.00 per year. So a Private in the Army simply will not qualify for a Federal Public Defender if he or she chooses to fight an unjust District Court Violation Notice (DCVN) in Federal District Court. As soldier gain more rank and have additional years of military service, they earn a greater base pay (along with benefits and allowances) and with very few exceptions will have income that is more than 25% above the poverty line.
The Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) police (the Directorate of Emergency Services / DES) recognize that soldiers and most others employed on the base are not indigent and therefore will not qualify for a Federal Public Defender. The JBLM DES uses DCVNs as a way to target, harass, and retaliate against individuals who may have committed no crime on JBLM, but against whom DES leadership hold a personal grudge. An assistant chief of police in the JBLM Police openly stated "you don't have to have actually done anything wrong, we just have to make it look like you did".
An innocent person so targeted by the JBLM police can then either plead guilty to the made up charges on the DCVN and pay a fine and court cost or several hundred dollars, or hire a private attorney and fight the DCVN in court. An initial fee for a private attorney to represent you in Federal District Court can range from $2500.00 to $5000.00 depending on what you have been charged with and the probable complexity of the case. If your case goes to trial your attorney will likely charge additional fees of $1000.00 - $2000.00 per day. Even in a case where it can be shown that the government manufactured evidence and submitted false statements to the court, they can drag the case out for a few days just to cost the defendant more in attorney's fees.
JBLM police leadership not only condones this type of conduct, but actually encourages it as a way to retaliate against individuals who question their activities or challenge their official misconduct. In her book, *Spying on Democracy* Heidi Boghosian, the former director of the National Lawyers' Guild, wrote "In the words of the government agencies involved [at JBLM], they aimed to neutralize [peaceful political protests] through a pattern of false arrests and detentions, attacks on homes and friendships, and attempting to impede members from peacefully assembling and demonstrating anywhere, at any time. Harassment was systematic and pervasive."
This is just one more dirty trick used by the corrupt JBLM police against anyone who questions government misconduct, supports Black Lives Matter, or disapproves of the actions of the current administration. https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/02/23/18783250.php