The Right to Two Criminal Defense Lawyers
23 Pages Posted: 9 May 2018
Date Written: May 7, 2018
In conjunction with a symposium on “disruptive innovation in criminal defense,” this article proposes that indigent defendants be assigned two lawyers each of whom would have primary responsibility for different functions – the “settlement lawyer” would have responsibility for the counseling and negotiating roles while the “trial lawyer” would be the principal advocate. The proposal to divide defense representation between two lawyers, as a potential “disruptive innovation”, provides an occasion to consider various problems associated with indigent defense apart from underfunding and excessive caseloads. These problems relate to how some defense lawyers think about and structure their work, where they choose to direct their energy and how they prioritize their time, how they respond to incentives, preferences and even unconscious motivations, and how they relate to prosecutors, clients or others in the criminal process. Whether or not a right to two lawyers is realistically achievable, the proposal provides a vehicle for contemplating deficiencies in criminal defense representation and potential responses.
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