The Champion

January/February 2003 , Page 33 

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National Responses

By Shubhangi Deoras

The ABA's 'Ten Principles' Ensure Proper Legal Representation

The 40th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright serves as both cause for celebration and a fitting opportunity to reflect upon the current health of our nation’s indigent defense systems. Our country has come a long way since 1963 toward achieving the promise of Gideon to provide adequate legal representation for poor persons accused of crime. Yet it has been well documented that serious problems — such as a lack of funding and resources, high attorney workloads, and little or no oversight with respect to quality of services — continue to plague many indigent defense systems and may result in the conviction of innocent people.1 

Through its extensive work in all 50 states,2 the American Bar Association has found that these widespread problems often reflect a lack of knowledge on the part of many state and local government officials regarding the fundamental elements that must be present in an indigent

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