“Long vacation”? You may want to start packing your bags before Jodi sees this.
The most glaring problem with your OP is that it relies on some broad generalizations that simply do not work in every jurisdiction throughout the country.
Texas, for example, has a bit of a scandal going (alongside their propensity for executing anyone with the bad luck to be accused of a serious crime) because in a number of circuit(?) courts, the closest one gets to a “public defender” is whichever good ol’ boy the judge happens to owe for the last barbecue. This, however, tends to happen more in the outlying districts and less in Houston or Dallas.
The study of problems regarding the death penalty that was released last year noted that one of the really bad problems that guys on death row had encountered was that they were brought to trial with the attitude you expressed, went and found a lawyer on their own instead of relying on the Public Defender’s office, wound up getting a second-rate lawyer (because they could not afford better), and were convicted–in jurisdictions where the local Public Defender’s office had an excellent record of defending capital cases.
In other words, fearing the myth of the bad Public Defender, they passed up the use of an excellent service.
I am fairly sure that a survey of many Public Defender offices probably would turn up a good deal of uneven quality. Local conditions play a big part in any situation.
As stated in the OP, however, the general disdain toward Public Defenders is not warranted.