Peter A. Joy


This Article is divided into three substantive parts. First, I begin with a short discussion of the most important criminal justice right guaranteed to each of us under the Bill of Rights - the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel. For most Americans, the right to counsel is obtained through indigent defense providers, and the quality of the representation is inextricably tied to three lesser known rights, or perhaps wishes, found in the Public Defender Bill of Rights: "[t]he right to meaningful, weighted caseload standards"; "[t]he right to judges who understand my [the public defender's] role in the [justice] system"; and "[t]he right to a boss who will back me up." Next, I focus on the ethical implications for line public defenders, their supervising attorneys, and managers of public defender programs. Finally, I conclude by discussing strategies for public defender supervising attorneys and managers to consider as tools to fulfill their ethical obligations and to advance the right to counsel for their clients.

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