PJC In The News

States look to provide lawyers for the poor in civil cases

March 30, 2016

By Dave Collins

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A flood of poor defendants representing themselves — often ineffectively — in dire cases involving eviction, foreclosure, child custody and involuntary commitment has led to a push in legislatures to expand rights to free lawyers in certain civil proceedings.

Everyone has a right to a free lawyer in criminal cases if they can't afford one. But the same right isn't guaranteed in civil cases.

More than two dozen bills being considered in 18 states this year would provide public defenders or private lawyers at state expense for low-income people in certain civil cases, according to the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, which is run by the Public Justice Center nonprofit group in Baltimore.

Read the full article about the civil right to counsel here.

The AP story was picked up by ABC, Salon, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, Yahoo News, and almost 200 state/local newspapers and radio stations, including the Daily Record, the Miami Herald, the San Diego Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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