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The Missing Public Defender

Providing lawyers to all defendants who face pretrial detention could keep many of them out of jail and save cities and counties money, says a new report from criminal justice experts. The Washington, D.C.-based Constitution Project contended yesterday, in a report titled “Don’t I Need A Lawyer?“, that lawyers should be appointed “in a timely manner prior to initial bail and release hearings.” Despite the 52-year-old Supreme Court ruling in the case known as Gideon v. Wainwright, which guarantees defendants […]


How Poor Is ‘Too Poor’ to Hire a Lawyer?

Nearly one-third of states require potential indigent defendants to pay application fees when requesting counsel, and almost every state requires defendants to either reimburse the state or make a contribution for representation, according to a new report from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Researchers examined how states decide who is “too poor” to hire a lawyer, as well as potential roadblocks in place that might deter indigent defendants from requesting counsel. Sixteen states require preliminary administrative fees, […]


Delaware’s Indigent Defense Fails ‘The Vast Majority’

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 […]