University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Public Defense Litigation: An Overview"
Date 2018
Author Lauren Sudeall Lucas
Author Institution Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Abstract The focus of this short Article is on how the courts can address and have addressed the failings of underfunded and structurally flawed indigent defense systems. More specifically, it explores lawsuits that identify systemic failures—such as underfunding, excessive caseloads, and inadequate training and oversight—and seek systemwide remedies, capable of transforming the provision of defense services. Although there are a host of other cases related to indigent defense—for example, relating to money bail and fines and fees—those are outside the scope of this Article. This Article is intended to provide a brief, high-level overview of public defense litigation in the United States. Part I of the Article will provide an overview of the legal basis for such lawsuits and the obstacles they often encounter. Part II provides an aggregate depiction of how such litigation efforts have fared in state and federal court and highlights several examples, illustrative of some of the points made in Part I. Finally, Part III concludes by pointing to suggestions that have been made to increase the scope and effectiveness of such litigation and an alternative basis for future litigation efforts.
Source Indiana Law Review
Citation 51 Ind. L. Rev. 89-110

This Resource Relates To
case Duncan v. State of Michigan (PD-MI-0003)

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