Provide legal counsel at public expense for when physical liberty is at stake, ABA House urges
Legislatures should pass laws ensuring that low-income people are provided with legal counsel at public expense for any proceeding—criminal or civil and regardless of whether it was initiated by a governmental entity—which could result in the loss of their physical liberty, according to a resolution passed by the ABA House of Delegates on Monday at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Resolution 114 also says “no court should accept an in-court waiver of the right to appointed counsel in a case that may result in a loss of physical liberty unless the person has had the opportunity to confer with a lawyer;” and that “a person who has waived appointed counsel should be offered appointed counsel at each subsequent stage of the proceedings at which the person appears without counsel.”
The resolution was sponsored by Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
No one rose to speak in opposition, and the resolution was passed in a voice vote with little opposition.
Link to Resolution 114 updated Feb. 7.
Follow along with our full coverage of the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting