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Notable Recent Publications - March, 2022

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


Catherine Young and Wendy Packman, The Wounded Attorney: How Psychological Disorders Impact Attorneys. Rowman & Littlefield. 

[From the publisher's website:] "In The Wounded Attorney, Catherine Young and Wendy Packman provide keen insight and commentary into how psychological disorders manifest in attorneys. Attorneys experience an alarming rate of mental health challenges, yet mental health and substance abuse issues often go unnoticed by colleagues and are unacknowledged by attorneys themselves. As both attorneys and psychologists, the uniquely qualified Young and Packman explore how mental health issues appear in the legal profession. The authors urge for an overhaul of the current framework of attorney discipline and construct a compelling argument for a therapeutic approach that destigmatizes mental health issues."

Ed Johnston, The Role of the Defense Lawyer: Conceptions and Perceptions within a Changing System. Rowman & Littlefield. 

[From the publisher's website, context of book is United Kingdom.] "The culture of defense work has undergone significant change over the course of the last twenty years.... If the lawyer is confused as to his role, is it possible to zealously advance the best interests of his client? .... This book explores how lawyers view their own individual role in the context of the changed obligations introduced by the CPIA 1996 and the CrimPR, looking at the defense lawyer as part of a system, rather than as part of a relationship."

Journal Articles 

Elena Bild, Annabel Redman, Eryn J. Newman, Bethany R. Muir, David Tait, and Norbert Schwarz. Sound and Credibility in the Virtual Court: Low Audio Quality Leads to Less Favorable Evaluations of Witnesses and Lower Weighting of Evidence  Law & Human Behavior, Vol 45, Issue 5, (pages 481-495).

....Very little empirical research has focused on how the subjective experience of processing evidence affects evaluations of trial participants and trial decisions.... We hypothesized that when people experienced technological challenges (e.g., poor audio quality) while listening to eyewitness accounts, the difficulty in processing evidence would lead them to evaluate a witness more negatively, influence their memory for key facts, and lead them to weigh that evidence less in final trial judgments.... When people heard witnesses present evidence in low-quality audio, they rated the witnesses as less credible, reliable, and trustworthy...; had poorer memory for key facts presented by the witness...; and weighted witness evidence less in final guilt judgments...

Alex Bunin, Public Defender Independence. Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, Vol. 27:1, pp 25-71.

...[P]ublic defenders face scrutiny from funding authorities who may disapprove of advocacy for systemic change on behalf of clients. That disapproval can result in punishment, including termination of chief defenders.... This article explains what can be done legally and practically to protect defenders from retaliation when those political disputes arise. After surveying the current system, the article provides five case studies of chief defenders who were challenged for their actions. It lists structural, cultural, and legal remedies to protect public defenders.

Matthew Caldwell, The End of Public Defenders. Inquest.

[From the article:] "Because we’re so deeply embedded in this mess, there is at least one disruptive tactic within our reach as system actors: releasing our records. Not piecemeal — we never hesitate to release data that makes our offices appear beleaguered and heroic — but all of it. In our filing cabinets lie the detailed histories of so many people caught up in the system — witnesses, the accused, police, victims, judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors. We can turn over all the triumphs and lies and dirty secrets, in granular detail."

Ingrid Eagly, Tali Gires, Rebecca Kutlow & Eliana Navarro Gracian, Restructuring Public Defense After Padilla, Stanford Law Review, Vol 74, issue 1. 

....This Article presents the first empirical study of representation by public defenders in the post-Padilla era.... [E]ach county in California has created its own approach to immigration advising.... [M]ost large counties with institutional public defender offices have embedded immigration experts within their offices and reshaped attorney understanding of adequate pre-plea advisals and plea-bargaining practices.... The urgency to create a workable Padilla delivery system is particularly acute in California’s small and rural counties, which generally have not established an institutional public defender office and instead have relied on a county-funded contract system for appointing defense counsel.... [T]his Article concludes by offering policy recommendations for how to improve the representation of immigrants in California. 

Katharina Geppert, Explaining the Gender Gap in the Criminal Justice System: How Family-Based GenderRoles Shape Perceptions of Defendants in Criminal Court. Inquiries Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 02. 

Numerous studies have investigated why women are vastly underrepresented in prisons across the United States... Through qualitative interviews with federal judges and attorneys, as well as observations of criminal court proceedings, this study examines how the family, as a site of inquiry, produces lenient court outcomes for women, specifically at the detention and sentencing stages... The findings of this study show that female defendants are treated leniently not because of their gender alone, but rather due to the responsibilities they are expected to uphold in the family.

Shaun Ossei-Owusu and Atinuke Adediran, The Racial Reckoning of Public Interest Law. California Law Review Online, vol. 12, Issue 1, Reckoning and Reformation Symposium.

This Essay....contends that segments of public interest law often get a pass on questions of race because it is a field of law that is genuinely concerned with marginalized communities. But the historical record, the dearth of empirical data on race, the homogeneity of the legal profession, and the recognition that no one is necessarily immune from racial biases all demand that the public interest bar reckon with its racial character.... Part I of this essay provides a brief history of race in public interest law. Part II addresses the contemporary lack of race and ethnicity data in public interest law. Part III introduces two paths towards addressing both the lack of racial and ethnic diversity and lack of data. 

Book Review

Enshen Li, Review of Yu Mou, The Construction of Guilt in China:An Empirical Account of Routine Chinese Injustice. Asian Journal of Criminology Vol. 17, pp. 105–107 

[From the review:] "Reading The Construction of Guilt in China, we are taken on a lucid journey through three major phases of criminal proceedings to perceive the way in which the criminal case is constructed by police, reviewed by procuratorates and heard by judges. Mou views these steps as “an official recognition and confirmation process” (222) whereby a person’s guilt is not established at trial but predetermined at the time when the case dossier is produced by police following investigation."