that such a refusal would be a denial of a hearing, and, therefore, of due process inthe constitutional sense (Powell v. Alabama, 1932).As it is well established that all have the guaranteed right to access to counsel and the appointment of counsel is more than simply having an attorney appear at a hearing, further refinements of what constitutes performance by defense counsel, and therefore adequate access to counsel are still forthcoming from the courts. In as much as the accused are in need of understanding the services that will be rendered, the providers of the service must also understand what services they are expected to provide. In the Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, (2013) matter, the Plaintiff’s complaint alleges their constitutional right to access of counsel had been violated; alleging that the public defense system was broken, and the public defenders caseloads were too high, thereby limiting access to counsel. Access to counsel having been limited when defendants were not often able to meet with their counsel in confidential settings outside the courtroom, having received limited visits with counsel while incarcerated, and overall allege the system was basically a “meet and plead” form of representation, wherein counsel would meet them at court and discuss and enter a plea which was pre-negotiated with the prosecution. Interestingly, the court in Wilburv. City of Mount Vernon, (2013) found the defendant’s cases were resolved effectively in spite of their claim that their constitutional right to access to counsel had been violated. The court held the problem was not the “ultimate disposition: if plaintiffs were alleging that counsel had
Running Head: RIGHT TO ACCESS TO COUNSEL9affirmatively erred in obtained a deleterious result, the Sixth Amendment challenge would have been brought under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), rather than Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1932)” (Wilburv. City of Mount Vernon, 2013).” Although ineffective assistance of counsel was not an issue in this case, the court found caseloads were well above established guidelines for caseload limits and therefore further defined what access tocounsel should mean; including implementing hard caseload limits, and appointing a public defense program supervisor. The American Bar Association supports previous recommendations from the 1973 National Advisory Commission Criminal Justice Standards and Goal’s recommendation for caseload limits per attorney, per year, which are as follows: 150 felonies, 400 misdemeanors(excluding traffic), 200 juvenile court cases, 200 mental commitment cases, and 25 appeals per attorney per year (The American Bar Association, 2012). The State of Washington worked with the Spangenberg Project to adopt standards that would eventually become law in Washington State. “The standards endorsed by the Washington State Bar Association for the provision of public defense services may serve as guidelines to contacting authorities” (Spangenberg Project,
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- Summer '19
- Gideon v. Wainwright, Lawyer, Bar association, of counsel, public defense