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NCJ Number: 69147 Find in a Library
Title: REFLECTION ON LEGAL REPRESENTATION OF THE ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED - BEYOND ASSEMBLY LINE JUSTICE - TYPE OF COUNSEL, PRETRIAL DETENTION, AND OUTCOMES IN HOUSTON (TX)
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(JULY 1980)  Pages:319-332
Author(s): G R WHEELER; C L WHEELER
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS STUDY OF PRETRIAL DETENTION AND TRIAL OUTCOME FOR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED DEFENDANTS EXAMINES THE ROLES AND EFFECTIVENESS OF COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEYS AND PRIVATE, RETAINED COUNSEL.
Abstract: IN HOUSTON, TEXAS, COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEYS REPRESENT INDIGENT CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS. THE STUDY WAS DONE TO DETERMINE WHETHER DEFENDANTS WITH COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEYS ARE MORE LIKELY TO RECEIVE A PUNITIVE DISPOSITION (CONVICTION VS. NONCONVICTION; A PRISON SENTENCE RATHER THAN PROBATION OR A FINE) THAN DEFENDANTS REPRESENTED BY PRIVATE, RETAINED COUNSEL. DEFENDANTS (586) WERE SELECTED AT THE TIME OF CHARGE AND FOLLOWED FOR 1 YEAR OR UNTIL THEIR CASES WERE DISPOSED. WHEN CHARGE AND PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS WERE CONTROLLED, COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEYS AND PRIVATE COUNSEL APPEARED TO BE EQUALLY SUCCESSFUL IN OBTAINING NONCONVICTIONS FOR THEIR CLIENTS. ALTHOUGH PRIVATE ATTORNEYS OBTAINED NONPRISON DISPOSITIONS MORE OFTEN THAN COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEYS DID, THE DIFFERENCES DISAPPEARED WHEN PRETRIAL STATUS WAS CONTROLLED. THE DATA SUGGEST SEVERAL TRENDS IN HOUSTON COURTS (1) SOME LOW-INCOME DEFENDANTS APPEARED TO BE BOYCOTTING COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL; (2) PRE-TRIAL DETENTION WAS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN CASE DISPOSITION; AND (3) SOME DEFENDANTS DETAINED IN JAIL BEFORE TRIAL WERE THERE APPARENTLY BECAUSE OF INEFFECTIVE COUNSEL. WHILE THE TYPE OF ATTORNEY DID NOT SEEM TO BE SIGNIFICANT, ADVOCACY-ORIENTED COUNSEL WORKING TO ENSURE BONDING OF APPROPRIATE DEFENDANTS IS RECOMMENDED. OVER 30 FOOTNOTES AND FIVE DATA TABLES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Court appointed counsel; Detention; Indigents; Pretrial procedures; Sentencing disparity
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