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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ind. Courts - "Attorneys petition Indiana Supreme Court to write public defender rules"

Fatima Hussein reports this morning for the Indianapolis Star in a story that begins:

Two Indianapolis attorneys are determined to change the way public defense operates in Indiana — and today they're taking their fight to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Mike Sutherlin and David W. Frank filed a petition to the court on Thursday, to compel the court to address issues plaguing the state's public defender system. They say the system is woefully underfunded, and the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy trial is routinely violated in Indiana. Sutherlin and Frank were expected to outline their fight at a news conference outside the statehouse on Thursday morning.

The 16-page document, filed on behalf of Allen, Johnson and Vigo county residents Jauston Huerta, Calvin Wilson and Kenneth Alford, requests that the court author a series of rules, procedures and standards which would ensure, at a minimum, constitutional representation under the Sixth Amendment to individuals who rely upon the public defender system.

The three men, the petition states, all received inadequate representation from their assigned public defenders when they were moved through the criminal court system. They are also plaintiffs in separate lawsuits against their respective counties.

See also this Oct. 8, 2015 ILB post, headed "Class action lawsuit to be filed over inadequate Johnson County public defense system," and this Oct. 9, 2015 followup, which included this quote from the Daily Journal:
They [Sutherlin and Little] also filed a separate petition with the Indiana Supreme Court, asking the justices to declare that the way Johnson County is offering public defender services is unconstitutional, Little said. And if this lawsuit doesn’t prompt statewide change, more lawsuits could be filed in other counties, he said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 15, 2016 10:50 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts