Daily Archives: April 17, 2009

Indigent defense is in dire need of reform

gideoncrying

look states, you're making Gideon cry. Boo.

A very important study was released earlier this week by The Constitution Project, titled: Justice Denied: America’s Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel [here's a PDF of the entire report].

The study is a survey of all 50 states and the Federal government and the levels of indigent defense provided by each. It is an extremely lengthy report with many recommendations (22 in all) and observations. The study is damning in its conclusions about the state of indigent defense. Not only does the study identify workload issues with indigent defense but also structural problems with state or county agencies that inhibit the provision of adequate defense.

[As an aside, discussion of this report should not be limited to indigent defense circles, especially in times like these where money is drying up and indigent defense is bearing the brunt. Legislators, judges, etc., in States where funding has been cut or will be cut should be given a copy to read.]

From the Executive Summary: