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NCJ Number: 51630 Find in a Library
Title: PUBLIC DEFENDER AS POLICY-MAKER
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:62  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:176-184
Author(s): B H BOHNE
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Institute for Scientific Information
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UMI Dissertation Services
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Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
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Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE INVOLVEMENT OF PUBLIC DEFENDERS IN POLICYMAKING THAT AFFECTS THE STATUS OF INDIGENT DEFENDANTS IS DISCUSSED, WITH REFERENCE TO THE ACTIVITIES OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIF., PUBLIC DEFENDER.
Abstract: STUDIES OF FREE DEFENSE SERVICES HAVE BEEN PREOCCUPIED WITH THE PUBLIC DEFENDER'S REPRESENTATION OF INDIVIDUAL CLIENTS AND HAVE IGNORED THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF A WHOLE CLASS OF INDIGENT DEFENDANTS. A 6-MONTH STUDY OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER CONFIRMS THAT A PUBLIC DEFENDER AGENCY HAS THE CAPACITY TO INITIATE AND TO SUSTAIN LITIGATION IN SUPPORT OF DESIRED POLICY GOALS. IN THE EARLY 1970'S, THE LOS ANGELES AGENCY FILED THREE SEPARATE INJUNCTIONS AND CLASS ACTION SUITS AIMED AT IMPROVING THE STATUS OF INDIGENT DEFENDANTS. THE LITIGATION CONCERNED THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT'S PRACTICE OF INSPECTING WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN DEFENSE COUNSEL AND JAILED CLIENTS, PRETRIAL DETENTION OF JUVENILES AT STATE REFORMATORIES, AND JURY SELECTION PROCEDURES THOUGHT TO BE PREJUDICIAL AGAINST MINORITIES. THESE ACTIONS BROUGHT THE PUBLIC DEFENDER INTO CONFLICT WITH OTHER AGENCIES. THE LOS ANGELES EXPERIENCE SUGGESTS THAT POLICY ACTIVITIES OF PUBLIC DEFENDERS HAVE THREE GOAL DIMENSIONS: THE STATUS OF INDIGENT CLIENTS; THE STATUS OF THE AGENCY ITSELF; AND THE CHARACTER OF THE LARGER SOCIOPOLITICAL SYSTEM. CONCEPTS OF INTERORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONS--EXCHANGE AND POWER-DEPENDENCY--HELP TO EXPLAIN WHY THE LOS ANGELES PUBLIC DEFENDER'S POLICYMAKING ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF INDIGENT CLIENTS ADVERSELY AFFECTED ANOTHER GOAL DIMENSION: THE STATUS OF THE AGENCY WITHIN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. THE STUDY INDICATES THAT THE PUBLIC DEFENDER OCCUPIES AN UNUSUAL BUREAUCRATIC POSITION. IT PERFORMS AN EXECUTIVE TASK THAT OFTEN HAMPERS OTHER EXECUTIVE JUSTICE AGENCIES ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, AND IT RISKS EVEN FURTHER ANTAGONISM WHEN IT TRIES TO EXTEND ITS INFLUENCE TO POLICY. THE VULNERABILITY OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER TO EXTERNAL PRESSURE SHOULD BE REDUCED, PERHAPS BY GRANTING THE PUBLIC DEFENDER INDEPENDENT STATUS. REFERENCES ARE FOOTNOTED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): California; Courtroom decorum; Injunctions; Public defenders
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