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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91074 Find in a Library
Title: Public Defender in America (From Defense Counsel, P 67-102, 1983, William F McDonald, ed. - See NCJ-91072)
Author(s): N Albert-Goldberg; M J Hartman
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 36
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper portrays the importance of the function of competent defense counsel in the adversary trial system, followed by an identification of the constitutional underpinnings of the right to counsel, court decisions bearing upon the right to counsel, the state-of-the-art of defense services in the States, and some problems to be confronted in providing defense services.
Abstract: The adversary trial system depends upon all the facts having a bearing upon guilt and innocence in a case being clearly and persuasively presented to the court. Having a competent defense attorney thus has a bearing on the constitutional right to a fair trial. The most recent advance in the right to counsel came in 1972 when the Supreme Court, in the Argersinger case, ruled that regardless of the offense classification, imprisonment could not constitutionally occur without representation by counsel or an intelligent waiver thereof. This decision, combined with other factors, has created a great demand for defense attorneys. The burden of providing counsel has become too great to be shouldered by the private bar alone. Currently, the defense systems used throughout the country consist of the ad hoc appointment of counsel, coordinated assigned counsel systems, and defender systems, as well as a combination of the aforementioned systems. The greatest problem that must be faced in the 1980's and 90's will be fiscal, and defense systems must also face the threat of political and judicial interference as well as public indifference or hostility. Twelve notes and 39 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Court appointed counsel; Defender systems; Defense counsel; Defense services; Legal aid services; Public defenders; Right to counsel; US Supreme Court decisions
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