public defenders

Vermont Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer is out with a new report criticizing the state's court system for not being aggressive enough about collecting fees due from criminal defendants who are represented by public defenders.

New York Attempting To Revamp Indigent Legal Services

Dec 18, 2015
Court of Appeals building
Hunter Harrison

It has been over 50 years since the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright Supreme Court decision, which guaranteed the right to counsel to people who couldn’t afford it. But the decision did not clarify how the services would be paid for. The rules vary from state to state, and in New York it can vary from county to county. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright in which the Supreme Court ruled, unanimously, that defendants in criminal cases deserved legal representation in state courts. If defendants could not afford counsel, the state would have to provide it. Those lawyers are known as public defenders. 

Connecticut public defenders hope to use the trial of a Bridgeport man as the venue to challenge the constitutionality of a new law that outlaws capital punishment in the state, but only for future crimes.

Richard Roszkowski is awaiting the penalty phase of his capital trial for the 2006 murders of his former girlfriend, her 9-year-old daughter and his former roommate.

Michael Courtney, head of the state Public Defender's Office capital defense unit, said Wednesday he plans to file a brief by August 7 in the case, challenging the state's right to seek the death penalty.