2010 -- NATIONAL LEVEL
Nebraska Law Review
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ABSTRACT & CITATION
This article argues that the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Vermont v. Brillon is in tension with its 1963 decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. In Brillion, an indigent defendant was assigned six attorneys over the course of three years before his case went to trial. Some of these delays were arguably due to the defendant’s own disruptions and some were due to dysfunction in the Defender General’s Office. The Vermont Supreme Court reversed Brillon’s conviction on speedy trial grounds, finding that most of the delays were attributable to the state, which had failed to adequately fund and oversee its indigent defense system. The Supreme Court of the United States, in an opinion by Justice Ginsburg, reversed the Vermont Supreme Court, and instead largely attributed the defendant’s delays to him and his counsel, which meant that his speedy trial rights had not been violated. Glaser, in this article, criticizes the Court’s decision as overly outcome-based, because the Court feared that treating indigent defendants differently than other defendants would cause indigent defendants to manipulate the system by purposely delaying their own trials. He argues that any inequity between defendants almost always disfavors those who are indigent, and that courts should thus perform a limited factual inquiry into the efficacy of their appointed counsel systems in such cases. In addition, that inquiry should be guided by the four-factor test laid out in 1972 Supreme Court case Barker v. Wingo. Glaser urges courts to consider the factual realities of indigent defense if they hope to vindicate its foundational legal rights.
Glaser, J. (2010). The Silence of Gideon’s Trumpet: The Court’s Inattention to Systemic Inequities Causing Violations of Speedy Trial Rights in Vermont v. Brillon, 129 S. Ct. 1283 (2009). Nebraska Law Review, 89, 2, 396-419.Topics: Assigned Counsel, Caseloads, Funding, Independence of Defense Providers, Resource Disparity, Supreme Court Decisions
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Last revised: June 12, 2015 10:33 am