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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78492 Find in a Library
Title: Pro Se and Forma Pauperis Litigation (From Prisoners' Rights Sourcebook, P 177-195, 1980, Ira P Robbins, ed. - See NCJ-78483)
Author(s): I P Robbins; S N Herman
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
New York, NY 10014
Sale Source: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
435 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter from a sourcebook on prisoner's rights focuses on procedural obstacles to pro se litigation; appropriate remedies are suggested.
Abstract: Most litigants who proceed without counsel do so because there is no feasible alternative. Many can neither afford counsel nor convince the court, in its discretion, to appoint counsel. Because of poverty, the pro se litigant suffers procedural setbacks and cannot afford to file the documents necessary for case processing. The right to submit papers to the courts is an empty one if the courts have no concomitant obligation to enable prisoners to prosecute their suits. Procurement of forma pauperis status is not an adequate remedy because of the notable difference in the treatment of papers filed by such litigants. Problems of equal protection, due process, and efficient judicial administration often arise under the forma pauperis statute. In addition, indigent civil litigants have no sixth amendment right to court appointed counsel, even in habeas corpus and other quasi-criminal proceedings. Therefore, the Committee on the Federal Courts recommends that assigning counsel, at least in nonfrivolous prisoners' civil rights cases, may not be a matter of discretion, but of constitutional imperative. The same reasoning might well be extended to other, perhaps all, pro se cases. The chapter proves 85 reference notes.
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Defense counsel effectiveness; Indigents; Inmate lawsuits; Prisoner's rights; Pro se defense; Right to counsel; Trial procedures
Note: Adapted from the article, 'Litigating Without Counsel - Faretta or for Worse,' published in Brooklyn Law Review, V 42, N 629 (1976).
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