A Plea for Funds: Using Padilla, Lafler, and Frye to Increase Public Defender Resources

29 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014 Last revised: 11 Oct 2014

See all articles by Vida Johnson

Vida Johnson

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: September 5, 2014


In the same way that the Court revolutionized the criminal justice world with its ruling in Gideon, Padilla, Lafler, and Frye might also radically change the criminal justice landscape. This Article will attempt to answer the following question: if there is a solution for the ever-growing case load of the public defender and the crisis of indigent defense, can Padilla, Lafler, and Frye be a significant part of the solution?

This Article will proceed by examining whether these three opinions create a bar too high for most public defender offices to meet. It also seeks to suggest the kinds of changes needed for public defender offices to meet these basic requirements. To do so, I will begin in Part II by discussing guilty pleas in general. I will then describe the legal landscape prior to Padilla, Lafler, and Frye in Part III, and discuss the three cases themselves and their ramifications in Part IV. In Part V, I will then introduce the requirements for effective assistance of counsel, and describe the best practices for public defenders to use during plea bargaining. In Part VI, I will discuss the problem of the overburdened public defender office. Finally, in Part VII, I will conclude by addressing how overburdened public defender offices might employ these cases to help ease their case loads.

Keywords: Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Supreme Court, Public Defender, Padilla, Lafler, Frye, Criminal Justice, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

JEL Classification: K14, K10

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Vida, A Plea for Funds: Using Padilla, Lafler, and Frye to Increase Public Defender Resources (September 5, 2014). American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 51, Spring, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2492215 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2492215

Vida Johnson (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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