This Article responds to an article authored by John P. Gross, in which Professor Gross argues that representation by a public defender with an excessive caseload may be the defendant’s “best option.”
In Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court held that all criminal defendants facing serious criminal charges are entitled to the assistance of counsel, regardless of whether they can afford an attorney. In the years since Gideon, however, the provision of public defense to those who cannot afford counsel has fallen far short of the ideal expressed in Gideon that “every defendant stands equal before the law.” The failure of public defense systems to provide adequate representation to indigent defendants is often caused by severe underfunding and has resulted in the chronic appointment of “incompetent or inexperienced” counsel; delays in the appointment of counsel and discontinuity of attorney representation; a lack of training and oversight for counsel representing indigent defendants; excessive public defender caseloads and understaffing of public defender offices; inadequate or nonexistent expert and investigative resources for defense counsel; and a lack of meaningful attorney-client contact.
One response to these failings—as is often the case when constitutional violations are afoot—has been to challenge them in court. The focus of this short Article is on how the courts can address and have addressed the failings of underfunded and structurally flawed indigent defense systems. More specifically, it explores lawsuits that identify systemic failures—such as underfunding, excessive caseloads, and inadequate training and oversight—and seeks system-wide remedies capable of transforming the provision of defense services.
by Kayleigh Long, 2L Note Candidate In a political climate of gridlock where the Senate refused to act […]
by Zachary J. Mahone, 2L Note Candidate This past July, the haunting cell phone footage of Philando Castile’s […]
by Tyler J. Smith
J.D., 2015, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
H-I-V. Arguably, no three letters in American society have generated more fear of a “viral underclass”  than those associated with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (“HIV”). In many states, including Indiana, simply having HIV is a crime with potentially severe consequences. The criminalization of HIV is founded on a fear of something many people do not fully understand and the stigma of “HIV’s association with an ‘outlaw’ sexuality, anal intercourse, gay men, people of color, and people who use drugs.”  Indeed, convictions under these statutes rarely have anything to do with actual HIV transmission or risk of transmission.  Over thirty states currently have HIV specific criminal statutes “based on perceived exposure to HIV, rather than actual transmission of HIV to another.” 
by Marcus Alan McGhee
2015 Fellow, Program on Law and State Government
J.D. Candidate, 2016, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
M.P.A., 2012, Northern Kentucky University
B.A., cum laude, 2010, Northern Kentucky University
Starting a few decades ago, school districts across the nation began to adopt and strictly adhere to zero-tolerance policies related to student behavior.  As a result, hundreds—if not thousands—of youth were funneled into the criminal justice system.  This over-criminalized reaction has been exacerbated by the presence of the school resource officers (“SROs”)  in some jurisdictions. Minor infractions once left to the resourcefulness of teachers or principals are now under the purview of in-house police officers.  As a result, more students are receiving the end-of-school designation of felon instead of high school graduate.  Of course, not all instances result in a conviction. Nonetheless, simply being arrested is sufficient to create a lasting record in the criminal justice system. Furthermore, the arrests discussed in this Article are not the ones of gun wielding deviants, but instead are those resulting from behavior most would argue typify adolescence: things like back talk and disobedience.  Indeed, after reading some arrest reports one might assume that the reports were drafted for mock trials instead of genuine criminal hearings: a fourteen-year-old arrested for texting,  a thirteen-year-old arrested for passing gas,  and a six-year-old arrested for throwing a temper tantrum.