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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 89597 Find in a Library
Title: Public Defender Programs, Professional Responsibility, and Competent Representation
Journal: Wisconsin Law Review  Volume:1982  Issue:4  Dated:(1982)  Pages:473-533
Author(s): S E Mounts
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 61
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Public defender programs can be improved through greater individual attorney ethical accountability, the elimination of pressures on defender programs that undermine the quality of representation, and by making the defender position professionally and politically independent.
Abstract: The opening section of the article discusses the origins and the nature of outside pressures on defender programs and how those pressures can affect the quality of the representation provided. The political and social environment of a defender program is examined through a consideration of the historical background of defender programs and descriptions of modern defender programs. The second section presents the standards against which defender representation must be judged. Attention is given to constitutional standards and ethical standards. The discussion of ethical standards focuses on the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Code of Professional Responsibility, the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and ethical standards as a control on defender representation. The third section of the article covers the potential and actual reponses of defender programs to the outside pressures brought to bear on them. This includes an analysis of the reasons why there have been few programwide responses. It also considers the implications of requiring individual accountability, including an issue which has received little attention - the potential created by such individual accountability for disputes with the deputy's employer. The article finally presents a proposed standard by which to judge the propriety of a given course of conduct of deputies who seek to comply with their ethical obligations. A total of 266 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Defender systems; Defense services; Professional conduct and ethics; Public defenders
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