ABA Journal

Indigent Defense

17 ABA Journal Indigent Defense articles.

Lawyer accused of relying on staffer to take CLE classes gets sanction reprieve if he accepts indigent cases

A solo practitioner in Maine may find it difficult to comply with the terms of an ethics sanction imposed for relying on his assistant to take his continuing legal education classes.

Utah’s reforms offer model for serving low-income and indigent people, report suggests

The Utah model of reform allowing nonlawyers to offer legal services could be “critical” to serving people who can’t afford them, according to a Stanford Law School study published Tuesday.

Massachusetts high court tells defense counsel when to stay quiet about confidential information

Massachusetts’ highest appellate court has instructed lawyers about when to stay quiet about evidence that could incriminate their clients.

Maine will hire its first public defenders to aid struggling indigent defense system

Maine, the last state without public defenders, will soon deploy five of them after Democratic Gov. Janet T. Mills signed a bill earlier this month to create a rural public defenders unit.

Oregon’s overburdened public defender system is ‘buckling before our eyes’

The public defender system in Oregon is so overburdened that several hundred defendants don’t have legal representation at any given time.

Panel attorneys who represent children, indigent adults in New York courts flee low pay

Panel attorneys who represent children and indigent adults in New York family and criminal courts haven’t had a fee hike in almost two decades.

SCOTUS should not restrict counsel’s investigations in death penalty cases, ABA says

In an amicus brief filed Monday, the ABA urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reaffirm that counsel representing habeas petitioners should be able to investigate new evidence without first proving that the evidence will provide relief to their clients.

Immigration court system needs independence from the DOJ, ABA representative says at congressional hearing

A former chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration testified before Congress Thursday to advocate for the creation of an independent immigration court system. Immigration courts are currently located within the Department of Justice and under the control of the attorney general.

Law firm earned $6.8M for indigent defense since 2016, according to state’s overbilling suit

A lawyer who was once the highest-paid public defense lawyer in Maine is facing a state lawsuit contending that she and her law firm misrepresented the hours that they worked on behalf of indigent defendants.

Judge is accused of wrongly using coercive detention to get misdemeanor defendants to pay fees, costs

An Ohio municipal judge has been accused of ignoring state law by jailing unrepresented defendants for failure to pay fees and fines without holding a hearing to determine their ability to pay.

Lawyer asks to withdraw from nearly 200 indigent-defense cases after state investigation

A prominent defense lawyer in Maine has asked to withdraw from nearly 200 court-appointed cases after the state’s public defense agency opened an investigation into her firm.

Falling behind on rent could mean jail time in one state, but that could change

Only Arkansas permits criminal consequences for nonpayment of rent—and it has enforced the law during the pandemic. Now, after ProPublica investigated the practice, some legislators want to revoke the statute.

ABA Criminal Justice Section reflects on its first 100 years

As April Frazier Camara celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, she also looks forward to facing the many challenges she sees in the criminal legal system. “Racial injustice is something that is on the minds and hearts of American people,” says Camara, the chair of the section.

SCLAID celebrates centennial by recognizing 2 young lawyers’ work to promote access to justice

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense is celebrating its 100th anniversary by also celebrating the contributions two young lawyers have made to advance access to justice in their communities.

Defense lawyer who didn’t probe death-row client’s bad childhood was deficient, SCOTUS says

A defense lawyer who failed to investigate his capital client’s tumultuous childhood provided ineffective assistance of counsel, the U.S. Supreme Court held Monday.

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