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Case Name Luckey v. Miller PD-GA-0002
Docket / Court 4:86-CV-00297 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Attorney Organization NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
In 1986, a group of criminal defense attorneys and indigent criminal defendants filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit against Georgia state officials (including the governor and all state court judges responsible for appointing attorneys to indigent criminal defendants) in the U.S. ... read more >
In 1986, a group of criminal defense attorneys and indigent criminal defendants filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit against Georgia state officials (including the governor and all state court judges responsible for appointing attorneys to indigent criminal defendants) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The plaintiffs claimed that a number of inadequacies in Georgia's indigent criminal defense system (including inadequate resources, delays in the appointment of counsel, pressure on attorneys to hurry their clients' case to trial or to enter a guilty plea, and inadequate supervision) deprived indigent criminal defendants of their rights to counsel, due process, and equal protection. Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU, the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, and private counsel, sought injunctive relief to remedy the alleged deficiencies.

On June 24, 1987 and December 31, 1988, the District Court (Judge Harold L. Murphy) granted Defendants' motion to dismiss on two alternate grounds. First, the District Court reasoned that, while individual state officials had been the nominal defendants, the suit was, in essence, brought against the State of Georgia and was therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Second, the District Court held that, independent of the Eleventh Amendment rationale, the suit ought to be dismissed because Plaintiffs' complaint failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

On November 23, 1988, a panel of the Eleventh Circuit (Judge Robert Smith Vance) reversed, rejecting both grounds for the District Court's dismissal. Luckey v. Harris, 860 F.2d 1012 (11th Cir. 1988). The Court first held that the suit was not barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity because, under the Ex Parte Young exception to the Eleventh Amendment, a suit seeking prospective relief against state officials is not deemed to be a suit against the state. The Eleventh Circuit also rejected the second ground for the District Court's dismissal, holding that Plaintiffs' complaint stated a claim upon which relief could be granted despite the fact that it did not allege the "future inevitability of ineffective assistance." The Court thereby reversed the dismissal and remanded to the District Court.

The defendants were unsuccessful in their attempts to have the Eleventh Circuit panel's decision overturned. On December 29, 1989, the Eleventh Circuit, in a per curiam decision, denied Defendants' petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc, Luckey v. Harris, 896 F.2d 479 (11th Cir. 1989), and, on May 29, 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Defendants' petition for a writ of certiorari, Luckey v. Harris, 495 U.S. 957 (1989).

Upon remand to the District Court, the defendants filed a renewed motion to dismiss the case on the basis of the abstention doctrine as set forth in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). On July 10, 1990 the District Court denied the renewed motion to dismiss, holding that it was bound by the law of the case. The District Court reasoned that, while the Eleventh Circuit had not explicitly ruled on the abstention issue, it had sent the clear message that the case should be heard. The District Court nevertheless certified the issue for immediate appeal. The Eleventh Circuit (Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr.) agreed to hear the case, Luckey v. Miller, 918 F.2d 888 (11th Cir. 1991), and, on April 23, 1991, the Eleventh Circuit (Judge Joel Fredrick Dubina) reversed on the law of the case issue, Luckey v. Miller, 929 F.2d 618 (11th Cir. 1991). The case was again remanded.

On remand, the District Court (Judge Murphy) considered Defendants' abstention argument and, on that ground, dismissed the case on December 16, 1991. The dismissal was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit on November 4, 1992. Luckey v. Miller, 976 F.2d 673 (11th Cir. 1992) (per curiam).

According to the PACER docket, no further appeals were taken and the case was closed.

Krista Swip - 07/12/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Conflict of interest
Funding
Quality of representation
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Georgia
Plaintiff Description All indigent persons presently charged or who will be charged in the future with criminal offenses in the courts of Georgia and all attorneys who represent or will represent indigent defendants in the Georgia courts
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1991
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies (Un)Luckey v. Miller: The Case for a Structural Injunction to Improve Indigent Defense Services
By: Rodger Citron (Yale Law School)
Citation: Note, 101 Yale L.J. 481 (1991)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Written: May. 07, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Written: Apr. 14, 2009
By: National Right to Counsel Committee (The Constitution Project)
Citation: National Right to Counsel Committee, Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation
New York University Review of Law and Social Change
By: Cara Drinan (Columbus School of Law, Catholic University)
Citation: 33 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 427 (2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:86-cv-00297-HLM (N.D. Ga.) 01/26/1993
PD-GA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Complaint - Class Action 11/25/1986
PD-GA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Appellate Decision 11/23/1988 (860 F.2d 1012)
PD-GA-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
On Petitions for Rehearing and Suggestions of Rehearing In Banc [From Eleventh Court of Appeals] 12/29/1989 (896 F.2d 479)
PD-GA-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Untitled 05/29/1990 (495 U.S. 957)
PD-GA-0002-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 10/30/1990
PD-GA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 10/30/1990
PD-GA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Appellate Decision 11/16/1990 (918 F.2d 888)
PD-GA-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Appellate Decision 04/23/1991 (929 F.2d 618)
PD-GA-0002-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Appellate Decision [With District Court Opinion Attached as Appendix] 11/04/1992 (976 F.2d 673)
PD-GA-0002-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Birch, Stanley F. Jr. (Eleventh Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0006
Cox, Emmett Ripley (Eleventh Circuit, S.D. Ala.)
PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0008
Dubina, Joel Fredrick (M.D. Ala., Eleventh Circuit) [Magistrate]
PD-GA-0002-0007
Dyer, David William (S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0008
Edmondson, James Larry (Eleventh Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0005
Fay, Peter Thorp (S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0005
Hatchett, Joseph Woodrow (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit) [Magistrate]
PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007
Hill, James Clinkscales (N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0007
Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0008
Murphy, Harold Lloyd (N.D. Ga.)
PD-GA-0002-0008 | PD-GA-0002-9000
Scott, Thomas Emerson Jr. (S.D. Fla.)
PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005
Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0005
Vance, Robert Smith (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aphrin, Derek (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0006
Bradley, Neil T. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0002 | PD-GA-0002-0003 | PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007 | PD-GA-0002-0008 | PD-GA-0002-9000
Cromartie, John L. Jr. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001
Dodd, Roger J (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001
Garrett, Susan (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0002 | PD-GA-0002-0003
Gideon, Megan E. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0002 | PD-GA-0002-0003 | PD-GA-0002-0007 | PD-GA-0002-0008
Keenan, Don (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001
Kocher, Eric G. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001 | PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0007 | PD-GA-0002-0008 | PD-GA-0002-9000
McDonald, Laughlin (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0008
Remar, Robert B. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001 | PD-GA-0002-0002 | PD-GA-0002-0003 | PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007 | PD-GA-0002-0008 | PD-GA-0002-9000
Tolley, Edward Donald (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001
Webster, David A. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0001 | PD-GA-0002-0002 | PD-GA-0002-0003 | PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007 | PD-GA-0002-0008 | PD-GA-0002-9000
Wilde, Kathleen L. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Dunn, Dennis R. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0008
Evans, Alfred L. Jr. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0002 | PD-GA-0002-0003 | PD-GA-0002-0004 | PD-GA-0002-0005 | PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007 | PD-GA-0002-0008 | PD-GA-0002-9000
Hill, William Bradley Jr. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007
Hobbs, Michael E. (Georgia)
PD-GA-0002-0006 | PD-GA-0002-0007
Other Lawyers None on record

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