Three years ago, Attorney General Eric Holder called the American Bar Association's (ABA) “Ten Principles” the “basic building blocks of a well-functioning public defense system.
In Delaware, “both the primary and conflict indigent defense systems … fail the vast majority of the ABA Ten Principles,” according to a new study by the non-profit Sixth Amendment Center.
The 216-page report explores glaring weaknesses in the state's public defender system, with a focus on the pretrial stage.
Defendants are initially advised of their right to counsel, but “no formal activation of that right occurs unless the defendant is unfortunate enough to remain incarcerated pretrial.”
As a result, many defendants appear in court without representation.
The report notes that those who do invoke their right to counsel still face wide-ranging systemic deficiencies that often prevent their lawyers from providing adequate defense.
Read the full report HERE.