2011 -- NATIONAL LEVEL
Darryl K. Brown
Missouri Law Review
ABSTRACT & CITATION
Although indigent defense is required by constitutional mandate, the funding that states devote to it is both too little and too mercurial, according to this article. Budgets for indigent defense vary greatly over time and jurisdiction, but do not correspond to expected variables like rates of incarceration, as this article demonstrates by comparing the fifty states. The author argues that indigent defense is thus epiphenomenal, meaning that “it is a secondary effect of … political events and variations, rather than a stable function of constitutional and statutory mandates that closely tie it to the criminal justice systems’ other components.” Prison funding, on the other hand, tends to be more stable because of the costs of both setting up and shutting down prisons. The author argues that some states have made progress in stabilizing indigent defense funding through statutory mandates of pay minimums, statewide oversight bodies, and public defender offices instead of appointed counsel systems. Since the constitutional requirements for indigent defense spending are not clearly elaborated, the author hopes that these state interventions will make public defense less vulnerable to political volatility.
Brown, Darryl. (2011). Epiphenomenal Indigent Defense. Missouri Law Review. 2010 (Summer): 907-930Topics: Assigned Counsel, Caseloads, Federal Court Decisions, Funding, Independence of Defense Providers, Resource Disparity, Salaries, State Court Decisions, Supervision, Training
Last revised: June 9, 2015 4:33 pm