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NACDL News: NACDL Supports DOJ Effort to Ensure State and Local Compliance With Right to Counsel
By Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer
NACDL News columns.
On August 14, in the case of Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, et al., one of a number of cases challenging systemic deficiencies in the delivery of indigent defense services across the nation, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the federal government, filed a Statement of Interest in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle. As NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer explains in this month’s Inside NACDL column on page 9, the Wilbur case concerns claims that the cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington violated misdemeanor defendants’ right to counsel. In its filing, the DOJ, while not taking a position on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims in this particular case, made very clear that the United States “has an interest in ensuring that all jurisdictions — federal, state, and local — are fulfilling their obligation under the Constitution to provide effective assistance of counsel to individuals facing criminal charges who cannot afford an a
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