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Case Name Foster v. Kassulke PD-KY-0002
Docket / Court 89-5838, 89-5839 6th Cir. ( W.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
In 1989, a criminal defendant in Kentucky filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Kentucky state law claiming that DPA's decision to limit attorney compensation to $2500 violated ... read more >
In 1989, a criminal defendant in Kentucky filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Kentucky state law claiming that DPA's decision to limit attorney compensation to $2500 violated her rights to due process, equal protection and effective counsel. As a result of this, plaintiff claimed that she was disadvantaged in prosecuting her appeal of five death sentences in the Kentucky Supreme Court. Plainitiff also alleged that the state refused to provide her with a written transcript of her criminal trial. Plaintiff sought both declaratory and injunctive relief, asking that the court order DPA to pay reasonable attorney's fees and to provide her with a written transcript of video testimony. Plaintiff is represented by an appointed attorney.

The District Court dismissed her claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the grounds that she lacked standing. The District Court abstained from deciding the transcript issue holding that since there is a criminal prosecution currently pending, Younger v. Harris 401 U.S. 37 requires noninterference by a Federal Court.

On March 22, 1990, the Court of Appeals (Kennedy, J.) affirmed the District Court's ruling, but found that it should have also abstained from deciding the attorney compensation issue on the same grounds as it did the video transcript. On May 4, 1990 rehearing was denied.

Dayna Frenkel - 03/02/2009


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Funding
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Department of Public Advocacy
Justices of the Supreme Court of Kentucky
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a prisoner who was convicted in a Kentucky state court where she received five death sentences and was presently appealing that case. She filed the present suit alleging that state court procedures violated her rights to a meaningful appeal.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1990
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies 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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 03/22/1990 (898 F.2d 1144)
PD-KY-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Guy, Ralph B. Jr. (E.D. Mich., FISCR, Sixth Circuit)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Kennedy, Cornelia Groefsema (Sixth Circuit, E.D. Mich.)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Lively, Pierce (Sixth Circuit)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers McNally, Kevin M. (Kentucky)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Robinson, Gail (Kentucky)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Jones, Barbara Willett (Kentucky)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Logan, Edwin A. (Kentucky)
PD-KY-0002-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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