The Developing Crisis in Providing Representation to Indigent Criminal Defendants


Before examining the modem development of New York City’s indigent defense system subsequent to the adoption of Article 18-B, we will trace the nationwide tension between the adversarial rhetoric of Gideon v. Wainwright and the cost-effective practices of indigent defense providers. Next, we will examine the responses made by defender agencies and the organized bar to increased case pressure following the Supreme Court’s decision in Argersinger v. Hamlin. We explain how institutional defenders, despite continued reliance on assembly-line practices, “shed” substantial numbers of cases to assigned counsel and private contract defenders. We then will describe the organized bar’s efforts to legitimate indigent defense systems by promulgating professional standards which invest institutional defenders and assigned counsel with an acceptable adversarial veneer.

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