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Notable Recent Publications - November, 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


Malia Brink, ABA SCLAID Public Defense Workload Studies Reveal Systems in Crisis, 37 Criminal Justice, 45-47.

In early 2022, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (ABA SCLAID), together with consulting firm Moss Adams LLP, released two reports on public defender workloads-one on Oregon, the other on New Mexico. The reports reflect over two years of study of the jurisdictions' current caseloads and staffing, as well as a Delphi study in each state, which is used to arrive at standards reflecting the average amount of time an attorney should spend to meet the constitutional threshold of effective assistance of counsel, i.e., provide reasonably effective assistance of counsel pursuant to professional norms.

Cynthia Conti-Cook, Digging out from under Section 50-A: The Initial Impact of Public Access to Police Misconduct Records in New York State, 18 University of St. Thomas Law Journal 43 (2022).

In the three-week period following May 25, 2020, the day Officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd in south Minneapolis, a 44-year-old piece of New York State legislation [preventing release of police personnel records] went from being a long-shot to signed law.... [T]ransparency is only the first step towards accountability and a far journey from fully transforming public safety and ending police violence... To realize the potential that transparency makes possible, independent databases that obtain, organize, and open police misconduct information must be supported.

Jamie Kalven, Chicago Could Be a Model for the Future of Miranda Rights. The Atlantic.

[From the article:] "[M]ore than 50 years after the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that the Fifth Amendment requires police to inform people in custody of their rights, the promise of the decision remains largely unrealized. Throughout two decades of reporting on patterns of police abuse in Chicago, I have again and again seen how fateful the first hours in police custody can be for those without competent legal representation—the problem Miranda was intended to address."

O. Nicholas Robertson, John D. McCluskey, Shakierah S. Smith, and Craig D. Uchida, Body Cameras and Adjudication: Views of Prosecutors and Public Defenders. Criminal Justice Review 

[Interviews] indicate that both defense and prosecution [lawyers] anticipate [body-worn cameras, BWC] changing approaches to cases and how cases may be negotiated to an outcome. They also report that jurors expect BWC footage, and that it functions as a means to establish case facts and the credibility of police, the defendant and witnesses...

Abbe Smith, Defending Gideon, 26 U.C. Davis Social Justice Law Review 235 (2022). 

[From introduction:] "[Sections I & II contend] that defending individual rights and dignity is important, no matter the deep structural flaws in the criminal legal system; Section III explains why the values underlying Gideon...are especially important in grappling with mass incarceration; and Section IV urges public defenders and other indigent defense lawyers to embody allies and accomplices to the Black Lives Matter movement and other racial and social justice movements..."

Amy M. Yost, A Fall from Grace: The Rising Rate of Attorneys with Substance Abuse Disorders, Chemical Dependencies, and Addictions, 5 University of Central Florida Department of Legal Studies Law Journal, 63 (2022). 

[From the introduction:] "This article will explore addiction and dependency issues of law students and lawyers alike... [Possible solutions include] expansion of the existing Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAP) to include therapy, specialized group sessions, monitored sponsorships and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses [or] a reimaging of the protocols surrounding publicized disciplinary actions against lawyers engulfed in addiction or dependency."


Gabriel Petek Assessing the Provision of Indigent Defense. [California] Legislative Analyst's Office.

[From the Executive Summary:] "We recommend the Legislature: (1) statutorily define appropriate metrics to more directly measure the quality of indigent defense; (2) require counties collect and report data to the state’s Office of the State Public Defender; and (3) use the data to determine future legislative action, such as identifying whether resources are needed to ensure effective indigent defense as well as how such resources could be targeted to maximize their impact."

Ali Boyd and Rebeccca Shaffer ['Contacts,' in collaboration with Jeanette Husseman, Genevieve Citrin Ray, Eyob Moges and Andreea Matei], Closing the Gap: Advances in Youth Access to Counsel at Arrest, Fair Trials International.

[From the website:] "This report outlines the recent wave of legislation being enacted to ensure that children have access to counsel after arrest and prior to interrogation. Such legislation not only supports youth in exercising their rights, including their right to remain silent, but can also help to mitigate coercive practices by police and to improve communication channels among police, youth, their families, prosecutors, and defense lawyers in ways that can support public safety and community trust."

The Right to Counsel in Oakland County, Michigan: Evaluation of Trial-Level Indigent Defense Services in Adult Criminal Cases. Sixth Amendment Center.

[From the website:] "[T]he Oakland County government has structured its indigent defense system in ways that violate defendants’ rights to effective assistance of counsel. The report...recommends that the county coordinate with all other local governments within the county to establish a unified indigent defense system [including] both a public defender and assigned counsel component with expanded centralized supervision."

The Right to Counsel in New Hampshire: Evaluation of Trial-Level Indigent Defense Representation in Adult Criminal and Juvenile Delinquency Cases. Sixth Amendment Center.

[From the website:] "...New Hampshire’s indigent defense system has been hindered from growing and evolving for years due to, among other things, a lack of independence, inadequate funding, and flat-fee contracting. The result, the people providing this essential service are unable to do so effectively and the indigent clients served are potentially not receiving their constitutional right to counsel."


Law Enforcement Lookup. The Legal Aid Society of New York City.

[From the website:] Law Enforcement Lookup (LELU) provides one-stop access to law enforcement misconduct data in New York City. LELU is an extension of the Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project (CAP), which empowers organizations and communities across New York City to hold police officers accountable for civil rights violations. [See also Isabel Song Beer, Legal Aid Society Unveils New Law Enforcement Misconduct Database, AMNY.]