Indigent Defense System

In October 2008, the Rural Sub-Committee of the Nevada Supreme Court Task Force on Indigent Defense formally filed this report with the Nevada Supreme Court.  The report concludes that the members of the rural sub-committee (judges, defense attorneys, county managers, and others) “firmly and unanimously believes that it the responsibility of the State of Nevada to fully fund indigent defense throughout the state, in accordance with Gideon, in order to ensure that each citizen of Nevada, regardless of where they live, is afforded the full equal protection of the law when accessed of a crime.

Author/Organization: Nevada Supreme Court Indigent Defense Commission Rural Sub-Committee
Publication Date: 10/2008

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TX County Looks to Cut Indigent Defense Costs

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Like so many counties across the nation, Montgomery County, Texas, is looking to cut its expenses. According to the Conroe Courier, a member of the local judiciary suggests looking to indigent defense to cut costs.  The county currently operates under an assigned counsel model for adult criminal cases, with judges approving attorney vouchers. Juvenile cases are handled under contract with three private attorneys at a $175,000 flat annual fee.

Gideon Alert: Ignoring the 6th Amendment in Broward County, Florida Municipal Courts

BY David Carroll on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

It is an all too common occurrence for misdemeanor courts in the United States to pressure people charged with misdemeanors into waiving their right to counsel without adequately informing them of the consequences of doing so.  Courts defend such practices as an attempt to expedite the processing of cases and save money, but the Sixth Amendment does not allow this type of shortcut.  And, the consequences for unrepresented people can be severe, such as loss of public housing, deportation, inability to serve in the armed forces, ineligibility for student loans, and significant financial penalties.

Letter from the Broward County (Florida) Public Defender to the Fort Lauderdale City Manager regarding the "Defense of Indigents Charged with Violating County or Municipal Ordinances."

Author/Organization: Howard Finkelstein, Broward County Public Defender
Publication Date: 03/22/2007

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The state appellate court granted class action status to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s landmark lawsuit, Hurrell-Harring et al v. State of New York, charging New York State with failing its constitutional duty to provide effective counsel to poor New Yorkers accused of crimes. The unanimous ruling by the Appellate Division, Third Department reverses a lower court’s decision to deny the NYCLU’s motion for class certification.

Author/Organization: State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department
Publication Date: 01/06/2011

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New York Court certifies class in NYCLU lawsuit

BY David Carroll on Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM

On May 6, 2010, we reported that New York’s Highest Court allowed the NYCLU lawsuit to proceed.  Two months later a trial court judge ruled that the class could not be certified, making the lawsuit potentially more difficult to pursue.  On January 6, 2011, an appellate court overturned that decision and certified the class, noting “denial of class certification gives rise to the possibility of multiple lawsuits involving duplicative claims of those asserted in this action and inconsistent rulings by various courts in the state.”  The ruling paves the way for the case to proceed to trial, as an appeal to the Court of Appeals is viewed as highly unlikely.

Editorial calls for solutions to Oklahoma's right to counsel system

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:00 AM

The editors at The Oklahoman, lamenting the state's indigent defense system "gasping under the weight of too many cases, too few attorneys and too little funding," have called for solutions "that are smart, not just tough, on crime."

On July 1, 2008, the Colorado State Court Administrator and the State Public Defender jointly requested a formal opinion from the state Attorney General on the constitutionality of the law requiring misdemeanor defendants to delay appointment of counsel until after speaking with a prosecutor about a plea deal.  Attorney General response included.

Author/Organization: Colorado State Court Administrator and the State Public Defender
Publication Date: 07/01/2008

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 The Agenda for Developing & Implementing Case Management Systems for Public Defenders and Beyond.  A two-day by invitation only workshop held October 22-23, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia.

Author/Organization: Phyllis Mann, National Defender Leadership Institute (NDLI)
Publication Date: 10/22/2010

Items contained in the NLADA Library do not and are not meant to constitute advice of any kind. Content in the NLADA Library is contributed by users. If you believe this material infringes your or any other person’s copyright or if you feel that the material is inappropriate, please report this to NLADA Staff by clicking below.

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