50 Years After Gideon v. Wainwright, Legal Needs of Poor Unmet


Fifty years after the Supreme Court’s Gideon v. Wainwright ruling gave criminal defendants the right to a lawyer, many legal needs still go unmet, says the New York Times. The case did not cover civil issues, and the Legal Services Corporation calculates that 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor are unmet.

The Times offers the example of Georgia, where the Southern Center for Human Rights has filed a class-action suit seeking a guarantee of a lawyer for child-support cases. Georgia is a case study on the mismatch between lawyers and clients at a time when each needs the other. The Legal Services Corporation says 70 percent of the state's lawyers are in the Atlanta area, while 70 percent of the poor live outside it.

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