Legal Ethics

Coronavirus and Mass Incarceration: Why Inmates Are Safer in Prison

MICHAEL CONKLIN, Powell Endowed Professor of Business Law, Angelo State University – San Angelo, Texas Anti-mass-incarceration advocates are using the coronavirus epidemic to argue for the early release of inmates.[1] Class action lawsuits on behalf of inmates include accusations of “deliberate indifference to the severe and obvious risk of rampant infection and death that COVID-19 […]

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INTRODUCTION: THE ETHICS OF LAWYERS IN GOVERNMENT

Margaret C. Tarkington Professor of Law and Dean’s Fellow, IU McKinney School of Law Co-Director, J.D. Program Evaluation & Assessment It is likely impossible to articulate or capture the importance of ethics in government. Corruption in government, or, as Vincent Blasi stated, “the abuse of official power” is, in fact, “an especially serious evil.” Government officials […]

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The Future Access to Justice

The United States is a law-bound society that depends on adjudication to address many important questions. We thrust the poorest members of our society into the legal system to decide some of their most basic rights – can they continue to live where they’ve been living, can they keep receiving disability benefits or are they now able to work, how much will be taken from their meager paycheck to support a child or repay the payday loan they had to get to pay rent? Because of their economic status, they cannot pay for lawyers to help them through that process. As stated in the Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers should volunteer their time to help in these cases, but pro bono alone will not fill the gap . . .

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Public Defense Litigation: An Overview

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.

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The Best of Both Worlds: A Solution to Indiana’s Appointment of Counsel Funding Problem

by Burnell K. Grimes, Jr. J.D. Candidate, 2016, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law B.A., 2013, Indiana University – Bloomington; Bloomington, Indiana bukgrime@indiana.edu LinkedIn Editor’s note: Mr. Grimes’s article was selected as the winner of the Indiana Law Review‘s first writing competition. You can read more about it here. The Indiana State Legislature has […]

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Congratulations to Burnell Grimes, Winner of the First Indiana Law Review Blog Writing Competition!

In an effort to promote student involvement in the Indiana Law Review Blog, the Indiana Law Review held a writing competition open to all IU McKinney law students during the 2014 fall academic semester. After reviewing submissions to the contest, the article authored by Burnell Grimes, a second year law student at IU McKinney, was selected as the best submission. His article […]

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Attorney (In)Competence and Discipline

John P. Higgins, attorney Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission john.higgins@courts.in.gov The Rules of Professional Conduct provide the baseline standards by which all lawyers must conduct themselves, both in their professional and (sometimes) personal lives. Violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct may serve as a basis for professional discipline, ranging anywhere from a private admonishment […]

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