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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
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
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