Poor People Lose: Gideon and the Critique of Rights
Paul D. Butler
Georgetown University Law Center
Yale Law Journal, Vol. 122, pp. 2176-2204, 2013
A low income person is more likely to be prosecuted and imprisoned post-Gideon than pre-Gideon. Poor people lose in American criminal justice not because they have ineffective lawyers but because they are selectively targeted by police, prosecutors, and law makers. The critique of rights suggests that rights are indeterminate and regressive. Gideon demonstrates this critique: it has not improved the situation of most poor people, and in some ways has worsened their plight. Gideon provides a degree of legitimacy for the status quo. Even full enforcement of Gideon would not significantly improve the loser status of low-income people in American criminal justice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: racial minorities, critique of rights, racial disparities, low-income people
JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 27, 2013 ; Last revised: August 1, 2013
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