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“Set up to Fail”

Summary Cindy Rodriguez, a 53-year old woman living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, had never been in trouble – “never had a parking ticket” – until 2014, when she was charged with shoplifting. Rodriguez survives on disability payments due to injuries to her neck and back, and lives in constant pain. When her case went to court, she was represented by a public defender, provided to individuals living in poverty who meet certain criteria. Rodriguez said her public defender advised her to plead guilty and accept probation, saying it was the best deal she would receive from the state. Rodriguez was placed…

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