Public Defenders and Appointed Counsel in Criminal Appeals: The Iowa Experience
THE JOURNAL OF APPELLATE PRACTICE AND PROCESS Vol. 16, No. 2 (Fall 2015)
73 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2015 Last revised: 10 Jun 2016
Date Written: February 17, 2015
Iowa’s indigent defendants are represented on appeal by a combination of public defenders in the state appellate defender’s office and private court-appointed attorneys who contract with the state. Existing research about which type of lawyer — institutional defender or ad-hoc assigned attorney — provides better representation is mixed and muddled. This piece contains an original empirical study that explores two calendar years of Iowa criminal appeals and collects objective measures concerning appellate lawyers’ effectiveness. The data reveal that state appellate defenders provide better representation than court-appointed attorneys: appellate defenders obtain more favorable outcomes, they have better filings, and they seek and obtain state-supreme-court review more often.
Keywords: criminal procedure, appellate practice, criminal appeals, appeals, Sixth Amendment, ineffective assistance
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