Category Archives: Criminal Law

New Article: “The Power of the Public Defender Experience: Learning by Fighting for the Incarcerated and Poor”

Patrick C. Brayer, The Power of the Public Defender Experience: Learning by Fighting for the Incarcerated and Poor, 53 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 105 (2017). Abstract below:

This Essay discusses how public defender apprenticeships impact law students and help mold their future careers. Brayer discusses the tangible advantages that the apprenticeship imparts on students as well as the transferable skills that students gain. Brayer then analyzes the internal and professional growth of students that participate in this apprenticeship. Brayer situates this growth within the context of Chief Justice John Marshall’s own similar experience, arguing how the public defender experience focuses and matures aspiring lawyers.

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New related op-eds: “Time to end injustice in juvenile justice system” AND “Gouging families with kids in detention serves no one. California should make it stop”

New related op-eds:

Op-Ed: “In California, poor people go to jail, rich people go free. How long will this go on?”

Editorial Board, In California, poor people go to jail, rich people go free. How long will this go on?, The Sacramento Bee, August 28, 2017. [A look into California’s cash bail system and its disparate effect on California’s less fortunate.]

New Article: “Reflections on the Challenge of Inez Moore: Family Integrity in the Wake of Mass Incarceration”

Ann Cammet, Reflections on the Challenge of Inez Moore: Family Integrity in the Wake of Mass Incarceration, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 2579 (2017).

New Jotwell Review: “Tracing the Roots of the Criminalization of Poverty”

New Jotwell Review: Wendy A. Bach, Tracing the Roots of the Criminalization of Poverty, Jotwell, Aug. 11, 2017 (reviewing Elizabeth Hinton, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (2016)).

New Report: “Ban the Box and Racial Discrimination: A Review of the Evidence and Policy Recommendations”

New Report: Christina Plerhoples & Stacy Mychal Cohen, Ban the Box and Racial Discrimination: A Review of the Evidence and Policy Recommendations (Urban Institute 2017).

Paper: “Is Mass Incarceration History?”

Paper: “A Home of One’s Own: The Fight Against Illegal Housing Discrimination Based on Criminal Convictions, and Those Who Are Still Left Behind”

Not strictly about poverty but worth watching / reading: Daily Show and Guardian Op-Ed on Philando Castile

And from a friend, this op-ed: Chiraag Bains, “We must remain shocked over Philando Castile. Justice needs moral outrage,” The Guardian, June 21, 2017.

Article: Housing Defense as the New Gideon

Article: Kathryn A. Sabbeth, Housing Defense as the New Gideon, 43 Harv. J. L. & Gender (forthcoming).

New York City is poised to become the first jurisdiction in the United States to guarantee a right to counsel for poor people at risk of losing their homes. Although millions of Americans are evicted every year, until recently, scholars and policymakers largely ignored the eviction phenomenon. New research demonstrates the frequency of eviction and the breadth of its economic and social impacts on individuals, their families, and society at large. Relying on studies showing that housing defense lawyers decrease eviction rates and promote positive social outcomes, NYC legislators concluded that a right to housing defense counsel would be both morally right and cost-effective. They introduced Intro 214-A to establish such a right and, in February 2017, the NYC mayor announced that his administration will provide the funds the bill needs to move forward. This Article is the first to analyze this ground-breaking legislation.

The right to appointment of criminal defense counsel recognized in Gideon v. Wainwright grew out of the Supreme Court’s response to the Civil Rights Movement. Using NYC’s housing defense bill as a case study, this Article identifies three ways in which the civil right to counsel has the potential to build on the Gideon model and expand it for today. First, in targeting the secondary effects of the eviction phenomenon, the NYC legislature moves beyond procedure to promote substantive outcomes. Second, its focus on housing defense recognizes a set of concerns that disproportionately impact Black women, thus building on the racial equality aims underlying Gideon and adding a move toward gender equality. Third, whereas the criminal defense model defends individuals against state power, the new bill applies to tenants of public and private landlords, thus checking abuses of private power.

The Article also addresses the dynamics of defensive lawyering, a feature of both the old and the new models of appointment of counsel. Defensive lawyering suffers from systemic limitations and fails to challenge social problems that could be addressed through affirmative suits—such as discrimination, harassment, and unsafe conditions. The availability of counterclaims in civil litigation, however, makes the civil defensive position more flexible than its criminal cousin, and may overcome some of these limits. The Article concludes that the new right to counsel holds significant promise.