Blog Archives

An Open Letter to the Next Missouri Governor


Pleading the Sixth: On August 2, 2016 the Missouri State Public Defender appointed the Governor to represent an indigent defendant. Whereas, the sitting Governor is term-limited out, the 6AC turns to the two major party nominees with an overview of

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State of New York to provide full state funding of 6th Amendment right to counsel


Pleading the Sixth: On June 17, 2016, the New York Assembly passed a bill requiring full state funding of indigent defense services, after the Senate passed the measure the previous night. Will Governor Cuomo sign it into law?

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SCOTUS decision exposes unequal justice for Native Americans


Pleading the Sixth: On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court held that prior uncounselled tribal court convictions resulting in jail time can be used to enhance penalties on subsequent offenses in federal courts. Wait! Isn’t that the exact opposite conclusion the Court

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Calm down; the New Mexico Supreme Court did not say flat-fee contracts are always constitutional


Pleading the Sixth: Though press reports are generally touting a recent New Mexico Supreme Court opinion as declaring flat fee contracting to be constitutional, the reality is more nuanced. The 6AC walks the reader through the historical background for the

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Louisiana’s right to counsel problems explained


Pleading the Sixth: The aims of public safety are in conflict with the need for law enforcement to generate indigent defense revenue in Louisiana. But as Louisiana’s problems have become a major focal point of America’s broader right to counsel

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Idaho empowers state commission with new authorities and new funding


Pleading the Sixth: On the heels of Utah’s comprehensive reform, the Idaho legislature steps up and empowers the state indigent defense commission created in 2014 to promulgate and enforce binding standards. The carrot for counties to comply comes in the form

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The Sixth Amendment Center's blog, "Pleading the Sixth," charts the success and failures in our nation’s efforts to provide a meaningful right to counsel. By providing historical, legal, and a standards-based context to local and national news stories, our goal is to provide our readers with the most useful and current information possible -- placing critical tools into the hands of those with the power to enact positive change.


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