The Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases: Still A National Crisis
41 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2020
Date Written: 2018
In 1963, Gideon v. Wainwright dramatically changed the landscape of criminal justice with its mandate that poor criminal defendants be entitled to legal representation funded by the government. As scholars and practitioners have noted repeatedly over more than fifty years, states have generally failed to provide the equal access Gideon promised. This Article revisits the questions raised by the authors over a decade ago when they asserted that a genuine national crisis exists regarding the right to counsel in criminal cases for poor people. Sadly, despite a few isolated instances where litigation has sparked some progress, the issues remain the same: persistent underfunding and crushing caseloads, and little support from the Supreme Court to remedy ineffective assistance claims. The authors conclude that our patchwork system of public defense for the poor remains disturbingly dysfunctional.
Keywords: Prosecute, Criminal, Defendant, Plea, Counsel, Reform, Indigent, Representation
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