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Case Name Rivera v. Rowland PD-CT-0001
Docket / Court CV950545629 ( State Court )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
On January 5, 1995, a group of indigent criminal defendants filed a class action lawsuit against the State of Connecticut and its Public Defender Services Commission under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, the state constitution, and a state statute (C.G.S. 51-289 et seq.), in ... read more >
On January 5, 1995, a group of indigent criminal defendants filed a class action lawsuit against the State of Connecticut and its Public Defender Services Commission under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, the state constitution, and a state statute (C.G.S. 51-289 et seq.), in the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Hartford-New Britain, at Hartford. The plaintiffs alleged that the State did not provide minimally adequate legal representation to indigent defendants in criminal cases in the geographical area (G.A.) courts, the judicial district (J.D.) courts, and the juvenile courts due to high caseloads and a lack of sufficient resources. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys for the ACLU and the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On November 1, 1996, the Superior Court (Judge Douglas Lavine) granted four motions to intervene in the lawsuit by individuals who had been convicted of crimes and had filed habeas corpus petitions which were pending at the time. The inclusion of these plaintiffs expanded the proposed class to include indigent criminal defendants in habeas corpus proceedings. Judge Lavine also certified the case as a class action, defining the class as consisting of all indigent persons who are or will be represented by public defenders or special public defenders in the geographic area (G.A.) courts, the judicial district (J.D.) courts, juvenile courts and in criminal habeas proceedings.

We don't have much information about what happened next, but litigation continued until 1999 when the parties reached a private settlement of the case. We do not have copies of the settlement documents and the details are therefore unknown.

We have no further information on this case.

Alison Curran - 07/13/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Crowding / caseload
Quality of representation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Public Defender Services Commission
State of Connecticut
Plaintiff Description Indigent defendants whose cases have been brought in the Geographical Area (G.A.) courts, the Judicial District (J.D.) courts, the juvenile courts, and on behalf of convicted prisoners who have filed habeas corpus claims.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
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 ]

  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 ]

Links 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)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

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

No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum of Decision on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (1996 Conn.Super.LEXIS 2800)
PD-CT-0001-0010.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/23/1996
Source: LexisNexis
Memorandum of Decision on Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification (1996 WL 677452)
PD-CT-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/01/1996
Opinion [Decision on Defendants' Request to Revise] (1996 Conn.Super.LEXIS 3338)
PD-CT-0001-0009.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/13/1996
Source: LexisNexis
First Protective Order (1996 WL 753941)
PD-CT-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/17/1996
Memorandum of Decision on Defendants' Motion for Protective Order Dated September 13, 1996 (1996 WL 753943)
PD-CT-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/17/1996
Second Class Action Complaint
PD-CT-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/22/1997
Ruling on Discovery Disputes (1997 WL 403138)
PD-CT-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/03/1997
Order (1998 WL 61351)
PD-CT-0001-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/23/1998
Order (1998 WL 96407)
PD-CT-0001-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/20/1998
Notice of Settlement (with attached Joint Motion for Withdrawl of Action)
PD-CT-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/1999
Judges Lavine, Douglas (State Trial Court)
PD-CT-0001-0001 | PD-CT-0001-0004 | PD-CT-0001-0005 | PD-CT-0001-0006 | PD-CT-0001-0007 | PD-CT-0001-0008 | PD-CT-0001-0009 | PD-CT-0001-0010
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dahlberg, Robin L. (New York)
Parrent, Ann M. (Connecticut)
PD-CT-0001-0002 | PD-CT-0001-0002
Shuford, Reginald (New York)
Tegeler, Philip D. (Connecticut)
Defendant's Lawyers D'Auria, Gregory T. (Connecticut)
Querijero, Carolyn (Connecticut)
Teitelman, Robert (Connecticut)
Other Lawyers None on record

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