The Turner Symposium: Coming Soon!

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2 Responses

  1. I’m looking forward to this, although I’ll admit to strong scepticism about the possibility of the Court recognizing a “categorical civil right to counsel.” Why? Well, the constitutional right to effective counsel* in criminal cases, “in practice…makes a mockery of formal guarantees” (Deborah Rhode). The current structure of indigent defense gives pride of place to ineffective representation. What Anthony Lewis said in Gideon’s Trumpet (1964) remains as true today as when it was first written:

    “It will be an enormous social task to bring to life the dream of GIDEON v. WAINWRIGHT [372 U.S. 335 (1963)]—the dream of a vast, diverse country in which every man charged with crime will be capably defended, no matter what his economic circumstance, and in which the lawyer representing him will do so proudly, without resentment at an unfair burden, sure of the support needed to make an adequate defense.”

    The current criminal justice system—especially for poor people—is, in Monroe Freedman’s pithy characterization, “unethical, unconstitutional, and intolerably cruel.”

    *Keeping in mind that even “grossly incompetent lawyering,” as Monroe Freedman notes, “is not enough to establish ineffective counsel”!

  2. This is a hugely important issue. According to my estimates, in the U.S. on any given day, roughly 50,000 persons are in jail or in prison for child support debt. I hope the experts will consider the decision not just from a narrow legal perspective, but also with respect to the overall purpose and consequences of child support enforcement.