Arnold & Porter Represents Defendants Deprived of Their Right to Counsel in Civil Rights Lawsuit
Arnold & Porter LLP and the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia last week on behalf of the poor being deprived of their right to counsel in Georgia's Cordele Judicial Circuit. Arnold & Porter represented Clarence Earl Gideon in the 1963 case that established the right to counsel for people who cannot afford a lawyer.
The complaint alleges that due to cuts in funding and a lack of sufficient staff, the Circuit's public defenders are required to handle such an excessive number of cases that they are unable to provide representation to all of their clients. Adults who cannot afford a lawyer may languish in jail for months after arrest without seeing a public defender. Children who cannot afford a lawyer often find there is no public defender available to represent them, but they are processed through the courts nonetheless. Convictions are obtained through guilty pleas by people who do not receive the most basic elements of legal representation.
Arnold & Porter's legal team included Washington, D.C. based David Gersch, Philip Horton, Arthur Luk, Quin Landon, Kevin O'Doherty, Jessica Jones, Tiana Russell and Elizabeth Owens.