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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91075 Find in a Library
Title: Indigent Defense Systems - Characteristics and Costs (From Defense Counsel, P 103-125, 1983, William F McDonald, ed. - See NCJ-91072)
Author(s): S Singer; E Lynch
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 23
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: Based on a mail survey and field studies, this paper provides a functional description of defender agencies throughout the United States and compares the costs of public defender and assigned counsel systems.
Abstract: A mail survey of all 523 of the organized defender agencies in the country yielded responses from 825 individual attorneys representing 399 of the agencies. Field studies involving interviews, observations, and court docket studies were conducted in eight jurisdictions. In this study, defender agencies are defined as structures providing nonfee legal defense services through an attorney or group of attorneys, pursuant to a contractual agreement or public employment, on a regular basis to indigent defendants. For analysis, the responding defender systems are classified according to the size of the population they serve and the percentage of the jurisdiction's total felony criminal caseload in which the defender system provides representation. The functional description of the agencies covers (1) the number of attorneys and the size of the population served, (2) staff composition, (3) the selection and tenure of the chief defender, (4) type of cases represented, (5) proportionate caseloads, (6) stages of representation, (7) method of case assignment, (8) support staff availability, (9) eligibility for free legal services, (10) average attorney caseloads, (11) the impact of classification of defender and caseload size, and (12) the point of first client contact. By combining data obtained in the field research, a cost per case figure for defenders and assigned counsel systems in each of the sites was obtained. Tabular data, 12 notes, and 13 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Costs; Defender systems; Legal aid services; Public defenders
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