The accused shall have a vigorous defense under our system of justice. Defense counsel may accurately be considered law enforcers. While representing a lone individual against all the power of the state, counsel must “police the police” to determine if there has been an unconstitutional search, a coerced confession, an unlawfully suggestive lineup, or the fabrication of testimony. 
But pity the poor Broward County Office of Public Defender. Online reviews by former employees almost all complain about the large caseload. “Management does not support its employees and the pay is terrible. They do not seem to remember what it’s like to have a caseload in a trial division,” writes one reviewer. “[T]here is a heavy caseload,” complains another. “Salary is dismal. Way too many cases to truly be effective,” reveals yet another. 
And then, already groaning under the weight of a huge caseload, around February 14, 2018 the Broward County Office of Public Defender had an enormous case dumped on their lap: that of Nikolas Cruz, accused murderer of 17 persons at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “It’s too much!” may well have cried the public defenders to themselves.
And so we find, within only three days, chief public defender Howard Finkelstein had let it be known that Cruz “will plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table.”  This may be why, generally speaking, the Office of Public Defender is often perceived as the Office of Plea Deals. Their imaginary motto: “If you can’t afford a real attorney, the Office of Plea Deals is here to assist you.”
Nikolas Cruz is reported to have an $800,000 trust fund, established for him by his dead adoptive parents. Cruz, 19-years-old, is apparently to receive the money when he turns 22. But a judge will determine whether he can access the money now. 
If Cruz is allowed to access some or all of the trust fund money, he could hire his own attorney, one not already overburdened by an enormous caseload and therefore less inclined to ease her or his labors by running towards a plea deal. This would mean a trial, where we the public could finally hear what the evidence against Cruz might be. Are there eyewitnesses who will testify they specifically saw Nikolas Cruz doing the shooting? What about the surveillance tapes? What might they show us? And what about the “confession”? Was it coerced? Was Cruz, reportedly autistic, under “diminished capacity” when he allegedly confessed? The Broward County Office of Public Defender is the gatekeeper for what evidence the public will be allowed to see.
——- Sources ——-
 “The Role of Defense Counsel in Ensuring a Fair Justice System”, by Richard Klein. https://www.nacdl.org/champion.aspx?id=24996
 Office of Public Defender Broward Reviews. https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Office-of-Public-Defender-Broward-Reviews-E887609.htm
 “Finkelstein Is the Gatekeeper”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, March 12, 2018. https://ersjdamoo.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/finkelstein-is-the-gatekeeper/
 “The Florida shooting suspect appears poised to inherit an $800,000 trust fund from his dead adoptive parents”, by Michelle Mark. Business Insider (online), February 21, 2018. http://www.businessinsider.com/nikolas-cruz-800000-inheritance-could-pay-florida-shooting-legal-defense-2018-2