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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81795 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Indigent Defense in Iowa, Fall 1980
Author(s): R A Lowe
Corporate Author: Iowa Crime Cmssn
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 145
Sponsoring Agency: Iowa Crime Cmssn
Des Moines, IA 50319
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The report assesses the status of defender services for indigent Iowa residents. Background information, indigent defense systems, and recommendations are included.
Abstract: Although the right to assistance of counsel is clearly stated in the sixth amendment, this right has not been enjoyed by many citizens, particularly the poor. In recent decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has offered interpretations of the right to counsel and due process concepts which attempt to apply these principles to all Americans. Decisions addressing these issues include Powell v. Alabama, Betts v. Brady, and Gideon v. Wainwright. Nevertheless, the process of establishing indigency remains difficult. The number of States which have implemented public defender systems has increased dramatically within the past 20 years. For those States which do not have statewide defender systems, county defender systems or assigned counsel systems predominate. A review of the literature reveals that the type of indigent defense system implemented in a State does not necessarily dictate either cost effectiveness or success of the system. Four sections of the 'Code of Iowa: 1979' are pertinent to assessment of indigent defense systems for the State. The code states that indigents are entitled to counsel, that court-appointed counsel are entitled to reasonable compensation for their services, that indigents must file financial statements, and that one or more counties that are contiguous and within the same judicial district may establish a public defender office. Based upon assessment of costs and caseloads for all Iowa counties, it is concluded that public defender offices operating in conjunction with a court-appointed counsel system provide high quality defense and can be cost effective. Recommendations for improvement of the Iowa system include collection of necessary information for evaluation purposes, development of a definition of indigency, establishment of court-appointed counsel fees, and coordination of existing court-appointed counsel systems. Tables, a list of evaluations and needs assessments conducted in Iowa (1970-80), a sample data collection form for case information, and 23 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Defender systems; Indigents; Iowa; Public defenders; Right to counsel
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