John Oliver Puts US Courts on Trial (Again) on ‘Last Week Tonight’


John Oliver’s latest government spanking takes to task public defenders’ offices in the U.S., illustrating how the system verges on requiring them to attend court woefully unprepared. This, in turn, forces their clients to almost automatically plead guilty, breaking the spirit of the sixth amendment, which guarantees the right to counsel.

Oliver pointed, for example, to a public defender’s department where part-time defenders spent an average of seven minutes on each of their cases.

“If I had seven minutes to prepare this show,” Oliver said, “I definitely wouldn’t be talking about public defenders right now. I’d be desperately filling time by listing the Muppets in order of fuckability.”

Like many of Oliver’s segments, including a related take-down of mandatory minimums in prison sentencing, this one will make you laugh right up until the part where you start feeling shocked and very sad.