Indigency | Financial Eligibility

Underrepresentation in Kentucky misdemeanor courts

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

“An inevitable consequence of volume that large is the almost total preoccupation in such a court with the movement of cases.  The calendar is long, speed often is substituted for care, and casually arranged out-of-court compromise too often is substituted for adjudication.  Inadequate attention tends to be given to the individual defendant, whether, in protecting his rights, sifting the facts at trial, deciding the social risk he presents, or determining how to deal with him after conviction.  The frequent result is futility and failure.” [Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25 (1972), affording the right to counsel to every case with a potential jail sentence.]

Gideon Alert: New Orleans DA questions appointed counsel for those who make bail

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Bail is often posted by someone else on behalf of a defendant.  Another person may have all sorts of reasons for wanting to get the defendant out of jail.  For example, parents of an adult defendant may find themselves serving as caretaker for the defendant’s children while the defendant is in jail, or a defendant’s in-laws may want the defendant to get back to work to support the family.  But these people may not have a similar or any incentive to hire a lawyer to defend the charge against the defendant.  The assets of others cannot be considered in determining whether the defendant is indigent and entitled to a public lawyer, because others cannot be compelled to hire a lawyer for the defendant.  

Utah Court finds partially indigent have right to public funds for their defense

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

On October 17, 2011 the Salt Lake Tribune highlighted the potential impact of a recent Utah Supreme Court decision on county indigent defense budgets. In State v. Parduhn, the Court held: “local governments are statutorily required to provide an indigent defendant with funding for a necessary defense resource, even when the defendant is represented by private counsel.” 

Utah court ruling on access to public funds for a partially indigent defendant.

Author/Organization: Utah Supreme Court
Publication Date: 2011

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Louisiana court ruling on access to public funds for a partially indigent defendant.

Author/Organization: Supreme Court of Louisiana
Publication Date: 1997

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Arkansas court ruling on access to public funds for a partially indigent defendant.

Author/Organization: Supreme Court of Arkansas
Publication Date: 5/13/2010

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More Coloradoans requiring public defense attorneys

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 3:22 PM

The Denver Post reports that, even as the number of criminal prosecutions across the state has decreased, the Colorado State Public Defender is facing a record-high number of clients to defend.  This paradox, likely common throughout the nation, has a simple explanation.  The downturn in the economy has caused many people to lose their jobs, which in turn means that more people are falling into poverty.  When these people are cited or arrested for alleged violations of the law, increasingly larger percentages of them qualify for public representation.  So, even as fewer people overall are being prosecuted, more and more of them are financially incapable of hiring a private attorney.

Louisiana Public Defender Board sues Orleans Parish judges

BY Jon Mosher on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM

The Courthouse News Service reports that the Louisiana Public Defender Board has filed a law suit against 23 Orleans Parish (New Orleans) judges for their failure "to collect a $35 fee from criminal defendants who appear before them. The fee, which is mandatory, helps fund public defenders offices, and the judges' refusal to collect it has resulted in 'critical underfunding' of the New Orleans Public Defender's Office, according to the complaint."