[Vision2020] Great News !!!!

Saundra Lund v2020 at ssl1.fastmail.fm
Wed Jun 17 12:31:53 PDT 2015

Hi Rose,


Any idea how long the lawsuit will take?  This is long overdue, but given
the State's history of dragging its feet even when it agrees to settle &
change (see my post from Monday about the thirty-five years and counting
saga re: mental  health care for kids in state care/custody), it's
challenging for me to muster much optimism that the lawsuit will result in
meaningful change in my lifetime.

The 2010 study also cited sky-high caseloads and workloads for public
defenders; lack of communication with their clients; inadequate or
nonexistent case investigation; inadequate safeguards to protect the
independence of public defenders, who in places serve at the will of county
commissioners; poor representation of children in juvenile and criminal
court; and lack of meaningful state funding, sufficient supervision,
performance standards, training and professional development.

The suit acknowledges Idaho's "long history of recognizing right to counsel"
for indigent defendants. Idaho had a system in place before the U.S. Supreme
Court's landmark 1963 ruling in Gideon vs. Wainwright. Idaho's attorney
general at the time signed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiff, but
Idaho "has taken several steps backward in the half-century since Gideon,"
the suit alleges.

It seeks a ruling that the state is obligated to provide "constitutionally
adequate" representation to indigent criminal defendants from their initial
court appearance onward, as well as a finding that the constitutional rights
of Idaho's indigent criminal defendants "are being violated by the State on
an ongoing basis."

Besides requesting a deadline for corrective action, it asks for a statewide
system of public defense to replace the existing county-by-county framework;
state enforcement of uniform workload, performance, and training standards
for public defenders and a ban on fixed-fee contracts for indigent- defense

I certainly hope I'm wrong and that the ACLU's suit progresses quickly - the
excerpt above shows how dire the situation is - and has been - is spite of
Idaho's "long history of recognizing right to counsel for indigent
defendants."  It's easy to pay lip service to Constitutional protections for
those involved in the criminal justice system - let's see what Idaho will do
not that push has at long last come to shove.


I'll be keeping my eye on this and hoping for a better outcome than, oh,
say, Otter's CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) & IEN (Idaho Education
Network) scandals.



Saundra Lund


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

~ Aesop (The Lion and the Mouse)


From: vision2020-bounces at moscow.com [mailto:vision2020-bounces at moscow.com]
On Behalf Of Rosemary Huskey
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 11:33 AM
To: 'Moscow Vision 2020'
Subject: [Vision2020] Great News !!!!




I know attorneys who have waited years for this to happen and FINALLY
progress will be made.  Public Defenders are my personal heroes and with a
strong, professional state-wide support system (which they have needed and
deserved for decades) they will be able to serve their clients and the
community on an equitable bases.  I am pleased as punch about this.


Rose Huskey

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