Ending Injustice: Solving the Initial Appearance Crisis

Report. Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Southern Methodist University.

SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 529

48 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2021

See all articles by Pamela R. Metzger

Pamela R. Metzger

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Janet C. Hoeffel

Tulane University - Law School

Kristin Meeks

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sandra Sidi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 2021

Abstract

Ending Injustice: Solving the Initial Appearance Crisis describes a crisis in post-arrest criminal procedure and offers strategies to end it. Most Americans believe that, after an arrest, they will quickly appear before a judge, learn about the charges against them, and have an attorney assigned to defend them. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Instead, an arrested person can wait in jail for days, weeks, or even months before seeing a judge or meeting an attorney. Detention without access to courts or counsel strikes at the very core of our expectations about American criminal justice. But the Supreme Court neither guarantees a prompt initial appearance nor requires a lawyer’s help at that procedure.

This report chronicles the resulting initial appearance crisis and highlights its devastating consequences. More importantly, it provides policymakers and advocates with actionable recommendations.

Keywords: Criminal procedure, Criminal justice, Pretrial detention, Arrest, Sixth Amendment, inequity

Suggested Citation

Metzger, Pamela R. and Hoeffel, Janet C. and Meeks, Kristin and Sidi, Sandra, Ending Injustice: Solving the Initial Appearance Crisis (September 2021). Report. Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Southern Methodist University., SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 529, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3976543

Pamela R. Metzger (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Janet C. Hoeffel

Tulane University - Law School ( email )

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

Kristin Meeks

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sandra Sidi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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