How being poor wrecks your chances of good legal representation
From: Catholic News Agency
Date: May 12, 2016
Author: Matt Hadro
... Yet that promise of legal counsel for everyone is still largely unfulfilled today, legal experts say. In a 2013 speech on the 50th anniversary of the Gideon decision, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “America’s indigent defense systems exist in a state of crisis.”
“It’s really more of a scenario where states have never honored the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in a way that the Supreme Court envisioned,” Cara Drinan, a law professor at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, told CNA in an interview.
When poor people are accused of a crime and are unable to secure adequate legal assistance, it is absolutely a social justice issue that Catholics should be concerned about, Mary Leary, another law professor at Catholic University, said.
“This speaks to the Catholic social justice issues of dignity and the common good,” she told CNA. “And neither of those are advanced when we have ill-funded public defenders, or public defenders working under impossible conditions.” ...