The Champion

June 2009 , Page 30 

Search the Champion Looking for something specific?

Preview of Member Only Content

For full access: login or Become a Member Join Now

The New Frontier in Indigent Defense Big Firms in State Trial Courts

By Rick Jones

A Broken System

The problem of insufficient resources thwarting meaningful representation for indigent defendants is not a new one. In 1982, to mark the 20th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright1 — a landmark case for indigent defendants — the ABA’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense conducted hearings on the state of indigent defense across the country and found much of what they found in 2003, when the committee convened hearings again for the same purpose:

[A] severe lack of funding; excessive and rising public defender caseloads coupled with inadequate support personnel; insufficient attorney compensation, leading to increased pressure to plead cases; arbitrary and capricious payments to assigned counsel, failures to inform of the right to counsel; acceptance of improper waivers of counsel in misdemeanor cases; and the increased use of contracts for defense services based primarily on cost, not quality considerations.2  

After more than 40 years of Gideon, state gove

Want to read more?

The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.

NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.

Not a member? Join now.
Join Now
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.

See what NACDL members say about us.

To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.

  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us