CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, August 2, 2013

Butler on Gideon and the Critique of Rights

Butler paulPaul D. Butler (Georgetown University Law Center) has posted Poor People Lose: Gideon and the Critique of Rights (Yale Law Journal, Vol. 122, pp. 2176-2204, 2013) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A low income person is more likely to be prosecuted and imprisoned post-Gideon than pre-Gideon. Poor people lose in American criminal justice not because they have ineffective lawyers but because they are selectively targeted by police, prosecutors, and law makers. The critique of rights suggests that rights are indeterminate and regressive. Gideon demonstrates this critique: it has not improved the situation of most poor people, and in some ways has worsened their plight. Gideon provides a degree of legitimacy for the status quo. Even full enforcement ofGideon would not significantly improve the loser status of low-income people in American criminal justice.

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