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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

A Sword for the Convicted: Representing Indigent Defendants on Appeal

A Sword for the Convicted: Representing Indigent Defendants on Appeal

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Using New York City as a research model, this study explores the organizational, tactical, and ethical challenges of providing zealous advocacy for every convicted indigent wishing to appeal. David Wasserman, a former staff attorney with New York's Legal Aid Society, examines the unique form of representation that has emerged since the Supreme Court recognized the right to free appellate counsel, and details the conflict between the role of assigned appellate counsel and the demands of an overcrowded and underfunded criminal justice system. As the first study of indigent criminal appellate representation in the United States, this work brings a neglected form of legal service into the mainstream of criminal justice policy analysis.

The book is divided into three parts. Through the use of existing research and commentary, Part I analyzes the impact of the Supreme Court's Douglas v. California decision on the appellate courts and representation and on the organization of defense services. Part II offers an empirical study of criminal appeals in New York City, addressing such issues as the quality and impact of appellate defenders and the division of the indigent caseload. In Part III, Wasserman discusses the implications of this research in relation to the analysis of indigent defense developed in Part I, and considers measures for improving the quality of assigned appellate counsel. The work concludes with an appendix listing suggestions for further reading. This study, which provides the only available information on criminal appellate dispositions in New York City, will be an important resource for courses in law and social science, criminal justice, and appellate or trial practice. It will also be useful to the criminal justice community, particularly to public defender and legal aid groups, and appellate judges and their staffs.

Author: David T. Wasserman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Published: 09/18/1990
Pages: 296
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.39lbs
Size: 9.40h x 6.32w x 1.02d
ISBN: 9780313268816

About the Author

DAVID T. WASSERMAN is a Research Scholar with the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, located at the University of Maryland, and a former staff attorney with the criminal appeals bureau of the New York Legal Aid Society. His articles have appeared in a number of legal journals, including Philosophy and Public Affairs, North Carolina Central Law Journal, and Maryland Law Review.

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