2010 -- NATIONAL LEVEL
Missouri Law Review
ABSTRACT & CITATION
The author of this article argues that right to counsel advocates should direct their efforts to state constitutions and supreme courts rather than their federal counterparts. After the expansion of federal power in the Warren Court era, the Supreme Court of the United States has more narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights in the interest of New Federalism. This article “picks up where Justice Brennan left off” in a 1977 Harvard Law Review article where he argued that state constitutions could offer stronger protections for individual rights, especially since state court interpretations of their own constitutions would be largely shielded from federal review. The author highlights three state supreme courts – Florida, Massachusetts, and Missouri – that have used a more expansive understanding of their judicial power to pressure the legislature to fund indigent defense systems. Nearly half of all states have constitutional provisions that allow their supreme courts to “superintend” the justice system or issue all writs necessary to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction. State constitutions also can offer lower justiciability standards for litigants and higher competency standards for counsel. The author directs advocates in other states to wield these powerful tools for reform.
Hanlon, S. F. (January 01, 2010). State Constitutional Challenges to Indigent Defense Systems. Missouri Law Review, 75, 3, 751-770.Topics: Assigned Counsel, Caseloads, Federal Court Decisions, Funding, Misdemeanors, State Court Decisions, Supreme Court Decisions
Last revised: June 11, 2015 10:45 am