The right to an adequate defense has been recognized as a constitutional guarantee by the United State Supreme Court, and while states are required to provide access to public counsel, the quality of that public defense varies widely between jurisdictions. States have a duty to ensure that this right is protected by establishing statewide standards and oversight of public defense to ensure that counsel is available at all stages of criminal proceedings, counsel is independent of undue influence by other system actors, and that they are properly resourced to provide an adequate defense for their clients.
Does the state’s public defender system ensure the independence of appointed counsel?
Do public defenders have manageable caseloads and are they adequately resourced to provide an appropriate defense?
Does the state implement any statewide standards or oversight of public defense?
Access to All Stages
Are defendants provided counsel at all stages of the criminal process?