Marshall Project Originals
Justice Says Mississippi Court Rule to Give Poor Defendants Lawyers Isn’t Working
And there isn’t much the court can do to enforce it, the Supreme Court justice said in a hearing focused on the state’s public defense woes.
Mississippi Courts Won’t Say How They Provide Lawyers for Poor Clients
Six years ago, the Mississippi Supreme Court told judges around the state to file plans showing how they meet their obligations to poor defendants. So far, only one has.
Mississippi Says Poor Defendants Must Always Have a Lawyer. Few Courts Are Ready to Deliver
A rule requiring poor criminal defendants to have a lawyer throughout the criminal process took effect Saturday.
Some Are Jailed in Mississippi for Months Without a Lawyer. A Court Just Barred That.
The Mississippi Supreme Court moved to end the “dead zone” before indictment in a notoriously dysfunctional public defender system.
Life Without Parole Is Replacing the Death Penalty — But the Legal Defense System Hasn’t Kept Up
Just ask a Dallas woman who spent a year in jail without talking to a lawyer.
Two Families, Two Fates: When the Misdiagnosis Is Child Abuse
The power of child-abuse pediatric specialists and parents’ unequal journey toward justice
“How Do I Defend People Now?”
Public defenders rely on in-person, confidential meetings with clients. They say COVID-19 makes their jobs nearly impossible.
Your Arrest Was Dismissed. But It’s Still In A Police Database.
In New York City, officers are illegally using information from arrests that have been sealed, according to a lawsuit. The practice is legal in more than two dozen states.
I’m 31. I’m a Lawyer. And I’m Still Getting Stopped by the Police.
“Despite everything I have accomplished, this is still happening to me.”
Where the Poor Face the Death Penalty Without a Lawyer
A budget crunch in Louisiana leads to an unusual wait list.
How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor
By reframing the issue around the evils of big government, Republicans are notching victories that have eluded more liberal legislatures.
When Real Estate and Tax Lawyers Are Forced to Do a Public Defender’s Job
Louisiana judges are finding some unexpected substitutes for underfunded defenders.
When the Money Runs out for Public Defense, What Happens Next?
Massive caseloads, long wait lists, group plea deals, and other realities of a funding crisis.
Five Voices on Reforming the Front End of Justice
While the feds fiddle, some locals are innovating.
Do Public Defenders Spend Less Time on Black Clients?
Some suspect “implicit bias” is not just a problem for police, prosecutors, and judges.
Why Getting Sued Could Be the Best Thing to Happen to New Orleans’ Public Defenders
The ACLU takes the cash-poor agency to court to force the cash-poor legislature to pay.
Five Things Wrong With Georgia’s Death Penalty
On the eve of the next execution, a look at the state’s history of bad lawyering and faulty evidence.
Get Caught with Pot, Face Deportation
As states loosen marijuana laws, the consequences for noncitizens remain as strict as ever.
A Courtroom Divided
What a battle between a Mississippi judge and a group of public defenders tells us about the state of indigent defense.