Trial-level right to counsel systems and the ethical obligations of indigent defense attorneys

BY on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 4:52 PM

"Ethical Obligations of Indigent Defense Attorneys to Their Clients" provides a basic introduction to the provision of indigent defense services in courts throughout the country and the ethical obligations of the attorney who provide these services.  The article examines what we do know, and what we do not know, about how public defense representation is provided in adult trial-level systems, complete with maps illustrating the structure and funding of those systems.  It also provides a guide to the rules governing ethical representation of indigent defense clients and the measures by which attorneys can know whether they are fulfilling their ethical obligations.

This paper was first presented at the Missouri Law Review Symposium "Broke and Broken: Can We Fix Our State Indigent Defense System?," held February 26, 2010.  Other papers about indigent defense were also presented, many of which are available from the Missouri Law Review, 75 Mo. L. Rev. Issue 3, Summer 2010.