Mondale: Right to Counsel Is in Jeopardy

Former Vice President Walter Mondale has an op-ed in the Washington Post decrying the erosion of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court decision of 45 years ago promising counsel to indigent defendants in criminal cases.

A report published by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School last fall, "Eligible for Justice," found that if Gideon were to face criminal charges in Florida today, he might well be denied a public defender.

From Florida to Minnesota to New Hampshire and Virginia, the right is in jeopardy because eligiblility requirements are too stringent. Mondale also calls for the right to counsel to be extended to indigent civil litigants in some instances...such as when faced with losing their home.

More on Gideon here.

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    if the state can't (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 01:19:42 PM EST
    bankrupt you, what good is it being a commonwealth's attorney?

    that's the whole point of those stringent requirements: it makes it far more likely that you'll cut a plea, saving the state a lot of time and money.