As you probably remember this year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the case that recognized the right to counsel in criminal cases and the state of access to counsel by indigent defendants. I have posted on some of the many comments on the state of access to representation here, here, and here.
Unfortunately, much coverage focuses on the unfulfilled promise of access to representation. (I also reported (here)
on the possibility of a lawsuit against the state of Utah for its
failure to provide funding for legal representation of the poor.)
Adding his voice to the chorus, Paul Butler, a professor of law at Georgetown University and a former federal prosecutor, has published an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times in which he argues that "fifty years after the Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteed legal
representation to poor people charged with serious crimes, low-income
criminal defendants, particularly black ones, are significantly worse
off." You can read his full editorial here.
Thanks to George Conk for the link.