Ending Injustice: Solving the Initial Appearance Crisis
Report. Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Southern Methodist University.
48 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2021
Date Written: September 2021
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
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