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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 150015 Find in a Library
Title: Client Abilities To Assist Counsel and Make Decisions in Criminal Cases: Findings From Three Studies
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:18  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1994)  Pages:437- 452
Author(s): N G Poythress; R J Bonnie; S K Hoge; J Monahan; L B Oberlander
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chicago, IL 60603
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Three studies of attorney-client decisionmaking were conducted in a public defender office.
Abstract: In studies 1 and 2, a structured interview was used to debrief attorneys regarding clients' participation in their cases. Study 1 examined a sample of 200 felony and misdemeanor cases selected prospectively and resolved by any means (92.5 percent by plea). Study 2 examined 200 felony and misdemeanor cases resolved by trial. Study 3 involved debriefing both attorneys and clients regarding perceptions of client participation in 35 recently closed felony cases. Attorneys doubted the competence of 8 percent to 15 percent of clients charged with felonies and 3 percent to 8 percent of clients charged with misdemeanors. In cases involving clients of doubted competence, attorneys often responded by means other than referral to mental health professionals for competence evaluations. As compared with clients whose competence was presumed, attorneys tended to view clients whose competence was doubted as less helpful and as less actively involved in their cases, but as actively involved in making key decisions. Defendants' perceptions appeared to be roughly consistent with attorneys' perceptions, allaying concerns that attorneys' reports may be distorted to conform to expected norms. 18 references
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Decisionmaking
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