Notable Recent Publications features the latest empirical research
and data related to indigent defense. Should you have suggestions, ideas
for work that should be included, or trouble accessing any of the
articles featured, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
In ways large and small, defendants who try to assert their voice in the criminal legal system see their agency denied — including, sometimes, by their own lawyers.
Andreea Matei. Plea Bargaining in Philadelphia, Urban Institute.
[From the Urban Institute:] "The Urban Institute is conducting a research project to study plea bargaining in Philadelphia. As part of this project, they want to interview people who have gone through the Philadelphia criminal justice system and accepted pleas and criminal defense lawyers in Philadelphia. This is an opportunity to hear from two actors of the plea bargaining process rarely focused on: people with lived experience and criminal defense. For both interviews with people who accepted pleas and criminal defense lawyers in Philadelphia, it will be a confidential interview, which means only the Urban Institute project team will know if you decide to participate or what you say. Your name won’t be used in any report and the interview won’t be recorded. It will take about a half hour of your time. I’ve attached a flyer with some quick information for people who have accepted pleas in Philadelphia. If you’re interested, you can call or email Andreea Matei, the lead researcher, at 202-261-5477 and email@example.com."
Arnold Ventures Public Defense Portfolio.
[From the announcement:] "Arnold Ventures is thrilled to announce the launch of our public defense portfolio. While AV has engaged in public defense-related grant-making for some time, we have not had a dedicated portfolio around it until now. This strategy and the first round of grants we have made represent AV’s recognition of the essential role strong public defense can play in redressing the harms of the criminal justice system. Moreover, our grantees will employ the full range of tools — policy development, research, litigation, and narrative change — to advance the public defense field in knowledge development, policy change, and vision."
Jeanette Hussemann, and
Genevieve Citrin Ray. Advancing the Case for Early Access to Counsel in Police Precincts. (Fair Trials, in collaboration with NORC, Urban Institute)
"[I]n January 2021, California passed Senate Bill 203 (SB 203), which expanded the requirement that youth be advised by an attorney before they decide whether to waive their right to silence, and to a lawyer from under the age of 15 to under the age of 18. Fair Trials, NORC at the University of Chicago, and the Urban Institute are partnering on a three-year project to study the implementation of SB 203 and provide technical assistance on best practices to support the provision of early access to legal counsel. The project team will also convene a national learning community to facilitate the application and study of arrest and stationhouse counsel in sites beyond California.
Duke, Lindsey, Gluttons for punishment: Why some professionals choose the hard path, Ph.D. Dissertation, Business Administration, Texas Tech.
This study examines the subjective motivations and justifications of a group of public service professional practitioners. For this phenomenologically inspired grounded theory study, I analyze the professional autobiographical narratives of 55 indigent criminal defense attorneys in the United States. Based on the characteristics of the narratives in this study, experiencing contextual discontinuity in conjunction with previously held normative expectations of a social structure can have causal effects on an agent. The potential effect of this discontinuity is a dramatic shift in the personal perceptions, motivations, and agentic mode of an individual. Additionally, the data in this study suggests that some professionals engage in professional work with the intention to dispel and correct institutional myths in their daily practice.
"The government ensures access to legal representation for all defendants by assigning attorneys to those who cannot afford private counsel. Government attorneys are assigned either by the judge or in a pseudo-random manner through a rotation system. However, there are concerns over the mechanism by which attorneys are assigned as some mechanisms may impact case outcomes. Using the juvenile criminal records of 37 counties in America in 1998, this study examines how the assignment mechanism affects indigent defendants’ chances of being convicted. In terms of a reduced risk of conviction, I find that quasi-random assignment results in better outcomes for defendants. This paper elucidates that in counties where the judge assigns attorneys, the assigned counsels are more likely to persuade their defendants to plead guilty, which contributes to the disparities in case outcomes"