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Case Name Phillips v. State of California PD-CA-0001
Docket / Court 15 CE CG 02201 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
Case Summary
On July 14, 2015, three residents of Fresno County, one of whom was a former indigent defendant, filed this lawsuit in Fresno County Superior Court. The plaintiffs sued the state of California and Fresno County under 42 §U.S.C 1983 and the California Penal Code 987, 1382, 859B. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On July 14, 2015, three residents of Fresno County, one of whom was a former indigent defendant, filed this lawsuit in Fresno County Superior Court. The plaintiffs sued the state of California and Fresno County under 42 §U.S.C 1983 and the California Penal Code 987, 1382, 859B. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Northern California asked the court for a writ of mandamus, injunctive, and declaratory relief, all aimed at compelling the defendants to comply with state and federal law. They also sought attorney fees. The plaintiffs claimed that defendants have violated indigent defendants’ right to due process, their Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, and Fourteenth Amendment right of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution and Art. I §15 of the California Constitution. The ALCU attorneys in this case made clear they were not calling into question the commitment of the public defenders, but rather the inadequate funding of their office.

Two judges were disqualified from the case: Judge Dale Ikeda on Sept 28, 2015 and then Judge Lisa M. Gamoian on October 19, 2015. The case was reassigned to Judge Mark W Snauffer. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted. They also claimed governmental exception and filed a motion to dismiss the state of California and Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. as defendants. In a hearing to dismiss the case on April 12, 2016, the court ruled that it could go forward on many counts, but granted dismissal of certain claims with leave to amend. On June 28, 2016, Judge Snauffer granted the motion to dismiss the suit against Governor Brown.

As of January 22, 2017, the case is ongoing.

Abigail DeHart - 01/26/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Funding
Quality of representation
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Wait lists
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) County of Fresno
State of California
Plaintiff Description There are three plaintiffs in the case, two of which bring the suit as citizens and taxpayers of the county and state. The third is a former indigent defendant represented by attorneys from the Fresno County Public Defender's Office who alleges that he did not receive adequate representation, was detained longer than necessary and eventually plead guilty to charges of which he is innocent.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
Date: 2011
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Date: 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 ]

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

  Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Date: May 7, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Remick v. Utah (2016)
By: ACLU of Utah
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
15CECG02201 (State Trial Court)
PD-CA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/17/2016
Source: Bloomberg Law
General Documents
Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Under Cal. Const. Art. I 15, U.S. Const. Amds. 6 and 14, Cal. Penal Code 987, 1382, 859B
PD-CA-0001-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/14/2015
Law and Motion Minute Order (2016 WL 1573199)
PD-CA-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/11/2016
Source: ACLU
Judges Snauffer, Mark W. (State Trial Court)
PD-CA-0001-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Andersson, Emma A. (New York)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Coleman, Novella (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002 | PD-CA-0001-9000
Cook, Gina (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Eliasberg, Peter J. (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
House, Holly A. (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Kaufman, Michael Bryan (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Kraft, Kevin M. (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Loy, John David (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Risher , Michael Temple (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Winslow, Kelly R. (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Wright, Misty N. (California)
PD-CA-0001-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Cederborg, Daniel C. (California)
PD-CA-0001-9000
Jones, Aaron D. (California)
PD-CA-0001-9000

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