Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1817882
 


 



Gideon’s Ghost: Providing the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel in Times of Budgetary Crisis


Heather Baxter


Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad Law Center

September 1, 2010

Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2010, p. 341, 2010
NSU Shepard Broad Law Center Research Paper No. 11-002

Abstract:     
This Article discusses how the budget crisis, caused by the recent economic downturn, has created a constitutional crisis with regard to the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel. The landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright required states, under the Sixth Amendment, to provide free counsel to indigent criminal defendants. However, as a result of the current financial crisis, many of those who represent the indigent have found their funding cut dramatically. Consequently, Gideon survives, if at all, only as a ghostly shadow prowling the halls of criminal justice throughout the country. This Article analyzes specific budget cuts from various states and how those cuts have impacted indigent defense in this country. Further, the Article highlights recent litigation surrounding this issue from four states: Florida, New York, Michigan and Kentucky. It proposes that, while litigation may be one way to reform the system, fundamental reform is necessary in the criminal justice system. The Article offers three specific suggestions on how to bring Gideon back to life: change the tough on crime attitude to free up much needed funding; reform the overburdened misdemeanor system; and implore more prosecutorial discretion in charging crimes.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: Sixth Amendment, Gideon v. Wainwright, Right to counsel, financial crisis, budgetary crisis

JEL Classification: K14

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Date posted: May 1, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Baxter, Heather, Gideon’s Ghost: Providing the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel in Times of Budgetary Crisis (September 1, 2010). Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2010, p. 341, 2010; NSU Shepard Broad Law Center Research Paper No. 11-002. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1817882

Contact Information

Heather Baxter (Contact Author)
Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad Law Center ( email )
3305 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
United States
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