CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Metzger & Ferguson on Defending Data

Pamela Metzger (Tulane University - Law School) and Andrew Guthrie Ferguson (University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law) have posted Defending Data (88 Southern California Law Review (2015))  on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Defending Data proposes a data-driven, systems-based approach to improving public defense in America. 

Public defenders represent millions of defendants every year. Yet, public defense remains a largely data-less enterprise, a black box of discretionary decisions disconnected from any systemic analysis about the relationship between defender practices and case outcomes. Defending Data adopts a novel approach to the crisis of public defense. Building off of the successful implementation of system-based approaches in other complex, high-risk industries such as aviation and medicine, Defending Data explains how defenders can develop a data-driven systems approach to public defense. 

Defending Data begins by describing the data deficit in public defense and discussing the systemic, technological, and cultural reasons for this data-void. Then, Defending Data explains the systems approach to high-stakes professional practices and explores how public defenders can adapt this approach to the delivery of indigent defense services. Based on this analysis, Defending Data proposes a systems approach to public defense and offers a preliminary typology of the data that such public defenders should collect and analyze. Using concrete examples, Defending Data demonstrates how public defender systems might implement a data-driven systems approach. Defending Data concludes with a call for the indigent defense community to reimagine indigent defense by establishing national standards for defending data.

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