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Greetings from the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Bar Association. The theme for this edition of Law Wise is The Right to Counsel -Celebrating a Fundamental Right..
Calendar of Events
The Right to Counsel - A Fundamental Right
Imagine you are at a public place and call a taxi. When the taxi driver picks you up, you ask the driver not to tell anyone he picked you up and he takes you home. Then imagine you are later arrested for stealing from that public place, but you know you didn't do anything wrong. What would you do now? Your first response might be to call an attorney, but what if you didn't have any money? Today, even if you don't have money, the court would appoint an attorney for you so that would get a fair trial. After all, you need a lawyer because a lawyer knows the law, knows when to object to testimony and understands what foundations need to be established so that evidence admitted is legal and credible.
Unfortunately when faced with a similar situation, Clarence Earl Gideon wasn't given an attorney. In Florida where Gideon lived, the right to counsel, as afforded by the Sixth Amendment, only applied to those facing crimes that could receive the death penalty. Gideon was accused of breaking into and entering the Bay Harbor Poolroom in Panama City, Florida, which was not a death penalty crime. When brought to trial, Gideon, a penniless drifter too poor to hire a lawyer, asked that the state appoint counsel for him. His request was denied based on the precedent set by the 1942 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Betts v. Brady, which said that the right to a lawyer is not essential to a fair trial. Gideon was forced to defend himself. One example of damaging testimony came from the taxi driver who picked up Gideon at the pool hall. He quoted Gideon as saying, "Don't tell anyone you picked me up." Gideon, acting in his own defense, did not challenge this statement during the first trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. From prison, Gideon filed a handwritten petition, in forma pauperis (those submitted by poor defendants), to the U.S. Supreme Court. His "Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court State Of Florida" asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case and overrule his conviction on the basis that he was denied a fair trial because he did not have the assistance of counsel at his trial.
In 1963, the court agreed to hear Gideon's case and ruled that a state must provide legal counsel to anyone charged with a felony who cannot afford a lawyer. The Supreme Court found that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel is a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial. Gideon was retried and acquitted. His lawyer in the second trial asked the taxi driver - who had given damaging testimony during the first trial - if Gideon had ever asked him before to deny that the driver had picked him up. The taxi driver responded that Gideon said this every time the driver picked him up and suggested that it was because of a problem with his wife.
On March 18, 2003, America will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, in which a poor Florida prison inmate caused the single biggest change in the history of the U.S. criminal justice system. Before Gideon, persons accused of crime could be sent to prison without any representation by a lawyer unless they were wealthy enough to hire one. As a result of Gideon, the quality and fairness of the justice system, and its ability to guard against conviction of the innocent, have been vastly improved.
The ABA has a free newsletter that contains information on law-related education. Law Matters, which reports on developments, ideas, programs, and resources in the field of public education about the law, is published three times each year (winter, summer, fall). For information on ordering, contact the ABA at (312) 988-5735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Law-Related Education Inventory has the following items which might be useful in discussing student related safety and privacy issues:
The Law-Related Education Inventory has many resources to help teach about law-related topics. To order a catalog, call Btissam Touijer at the Kansas Bar Association, (785) 234-5696. The Kansas Bar Association and the lawyers in your community sponsor the Law-Related Education Inventory. The clearinghouse will mail free copies of law-related posters, games, mock trials, booklets, lesson plans, and other aids. It is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The director of the Teachers College Resource Center, which houses the Law-Related Education Inventory, Marla Darby, can be reached at Darbymar@esumail.emporia.edu/
Grade Level: K-3
Beginning with a situation centering on a person accused of committing a crime, students identify the various types of persons (roles) which must be present for due process (fair procedures) to occur in determining the person's guilt or innocence.
The teaching time is approximately 30 minutes, and you'll need signs for students to wear: Judge, Defense Attorney, Prosecuting Attorney, Court Reporter, Jury (enough for all the rest of the class).
Begin by telling students that a hypothetical person, Maggie (don't use the name of a student in the class), has been accused of throwing a rock through a school window. Remember, a person is believed to be innocent until he or she has been proven to be guilty. Courts try to find the truth by using processes that assure that the accused person has a fair chance to defend him/herself. Many people have important roles to play in a court. They make certain that we all do things that are fair when the court tries to decide if someone broke the law or not. Who do we need to be in charge of making sure that everyone does things the fair way? (Answer - judge)
Class Discussion: What do judges do?
Resource person guides this discussion and adds any important information which students may not know. At the end of the discussion ask for volunteers to be the "judge." Select one student, have him/her wear a sign saying "Judge" and take a seat up front.
Next, ask who do we need to help Maggie tell her side of the story? This person needs to know all about the law and the rules of the court. (Answer - lawyer or defense attorney)
Class Discussion: What do lawyers do?
Again, the resource leader leads this discussion, sharing additional information which the students may not know. At the end of this discussion a child puts on a sign "Defense Attorney" and sits facing the judge.
Who do we need to represent the school and tell the school's side of the story? They also need to know the laws and rules of the court. (Answer - prosecuting attorney)
Class Discussion: What does a prosecuting attorney do?
Again discussion is led by the resource person. At the end of the discussion a child puts on a sign "Prosecuting Attorney" sign and sits facing the judge across the room from the defense attorney. Who do we need to keep a record of what happens to check for mistakes and make sure that everything that happens is fair? (Answer - court reporter)
Class Discussion: What do court reporters do?
Resource leader explains importance of a written record, then appoints a child to be court reporter. The law says that people accused of crimes can choose to have people like them decide if they are innocent or guilty. These people are the jury. You will be the jury (rest of the children put on signs saying "Jury.")
Class Discussion: What does a jury do? How does it find defendants guilty or not guilty? How does it decide?
Conclude by describing all of the roles discussed and explain that they are important if everyone is to be treated fairly. Point out that:
Is this a fair way to decide cases? Why or why not?
Dale Greenawald is an educator in Boulder, Colorado. This strategy first appeared in the ABA magazine Update on Law-Related Education and can be found on the web at http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/schools/lessons/k3_dueprocess1.html.
Grade Level: Junior High
Note: This lesson could be conducted by an attorney or judge, or the resource person could be invited into the class to take part in the extension activities suggested at the conclusion of the lesson.
The right to counsel is one of our most important rights. It lies at the heart of the adversary system. As with other salient legal concepts, its meaning has evolved over time. Originally, the right to counsel was narrowly interpreted to mean that those who could afford an attorney should not be denied the right to hire one. In addition, access to counsel at various stages of the criminal justice process was severely limited. The right to counsel was permitted at trial, but not proceedings before or after it.
During the twentieth century, the right to counsel underwent significant change. No longer is the right restricted only to those who can afford it. No longer is it limited to adults. And, no longer is the right to counsel restricted to trial. Landmark Supreme Court decisions have significantly expanded our understanding of this basic right and assured its reality to all citizens, regardless of socioeconomic status. Some of those decisions have become veritable household words--Gideon, Gault, Miranda.
This lesson enables students to explore several dimensions of the meaning of the right to counsel. It begins with a questionnaire permitting students to express their views regarding matters related to this basic right. Students then explore what the right to counsel means and develop a list of reasons why the right to counsel is so important. Next, students consider the meaning of "access to counsel," including the Miranda decision. They conclude with an examination of the role of the criminal attorney. Follow-up and enrichment activities are also provided.
The Role of the Criminal Attorney
Criminal lawyers, it is said, police the police. Also, we police the courts. Every time we try a person, we are trying--and defending--more than the accused. We're defending you, that lady down the street, and the Bill of Rights. But nonetheless, criminal lawyers are controversial figures. We try to get justice for the ones you or the newspapers have labeled bad. But we can sleep nights, because we're the ones who hold the state to the ground rules you and our legislators have established. We're the ones who see to it that society doesn't convict a person who shouldn't be convicted.
(William Foster Hopkins, Murder Is My Business)
a. Courthouse trip: Arrange for the students to go to the local courthouse to observe arraignments. This is the time when the presiding officer will inquire as to the status of legal representation and assign legal counsel as needed. Provide the opportunity for students to meet with a judge and one or more of the attorneys. Explore the role and importance of the right to counsel.
b. Attorney in the classroom: Invite an attorney who represents criminal defendants to your classroom to discuss the role of the criminal attorney. As a variant, also invite a prosecutor to visit at the same time. Have them use a modified pro/con format to emphasize key points and different perspectives.
c. Subsequent topics: Develop one or more additional lessons to expand consideration of the right to counsel. Suggested topics include an examination of the stages at which counsel is required (e.g., upon arrest, at lineups, for appeals), the right to defend oneself, the right to competent counsel, the nature of the attorney-client relationship and the representation of the unpopular or despicable client.
This lesson was written by David T. Naylor, Professor of Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Center for Law-Related Education at the University of Cincinnati. It originally appeared in the ABA publication, A Teacher's Guide to the Bill of Rights in Action Poster Series. It can also be found on the web at http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/schools/lessons/79_counsel.html.
What's Your Opinion?
Instructions: Circle the word next to each statement to indicate how you feel about it.
AGREE DISAGREE 1. Every person accused of a crime should be represented by an attorney.
AGREE DISAGREE 2. Our courts should reduce rather than expand the rights of persons accused of committing crimes.
AGREE DISAGREE 3. Defense attorneys are more concerned about getting their clients off than in finding out if their clients are innocent or guilty.
AGREE DISAGREE 4. Police and persecutors should be able to take whatever measures they feel are necessary to apprehend and convict persons who commit crimes.
AGREE DISAGREE 5. An attorney should never defend someone he or she believes to be guilty.
AGREE DISAGREE 6. It's better to have guilty people go free than to use illegally obtained evidence to convict them.
AGREE DISAGREE 7. The more people are aware of their constitutional rights, the better.
AGREE DISAGREE 8. One who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
Student Handout 1: The Importance of the Right to Counsel
Many people consider the right to counsel one of our most important rights? Do you? Think of reasons why this right is important. List them below.
The right to counsel is important because…
Here are some of the reasons given by members of the United States Supreme Court explaining why the right to counsel is so important.
That government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to defend are the strongest indications of the widespread belief that lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries. The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours. From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if [a person] charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him. Gideon v. Wainwright, 83 S.Ct. 792 (1963)
If charged with crime, [even the intelligent and educated layman] is incapable, generally, of determining for himself whether the indictment is good or bad. He is unfamiliar with the rules of evidence. Left without the aid of counsel he may be put on trial without a proper charge, and convicted upon incompetent evidence, or evidence irrelevant to the issue or otherwise inadmissible. He lacks both the skill and knowledge adequately to prepare his defense, even though he have a perfect one. He requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step on the proceedings against him. Without it, though he be not guilty, he faces the danger of conviction because he does not know how to establish his innocence. If that be true of men of intelligence, how much more true is it of the ignorant and illiterate, or those of feeble intellect. Powell v. Alabama, 53 S.Ct. 55 (1932)
Student Handout 2: Access to Counsel
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right… to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. Amendment Six of the U.S. Constitution
…[A]fter a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way…the following measures are required. Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney either retained or appointed. The defendant may waive…these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. If, however, he indicates in any manner and at any stage of the process that he wishes to consult with an attorney before speaking there can be no questioning. Likewise, if the individual is alone and indicates in any manner that he does not wish to be interrogated, the police may not question him. Miranda v. Arizona, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1964)
…No system worth preserving should have to fear that if an accused is permitted to consult with a lawyer, he will become aware of, and exercise, these rights. If the exercise of constitutional rights will thwart the effectiveness of a system of law enforcement, then there is something very wrong with that system. Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 84 S.Ct. 1758 (1964)
Grade Level: 9-12
On March 18, 2003, America will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, in which a poor Florida prison inmate caused the single biggest change in the history of the U.S. criminal justice system. Before Gideon, persons accused of crime could be sent to prison without any representation by a lawyer unless they were wealthy enough to hire one. As a result of Gideon, the quality and fairness of the justice system, and its ability to guard against conviction of the innocent, have been vastly improved. Yet in many places, court-appointed lawyers do not have the resources necessary to provide competent representation, so injustices still occur.
Students will become familiar with the history of the right to counsel in the United States and be able to analyze this right as it relates to current events. Students will also learn how federal and state governments provide counsel to poor persons accused of crime. Finally, students will be made aware that the quality of defense services for those who cannot afford paid counsel varies greatly from state to state - with some states failing to provide meaningful defense services even 40 years after the Gideon decision.
One class period. Optional extension activities may require additional time. Ideally taught on March 18, 2003 (the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright) but also appropriate for Law Day activities (May 1) or in curricula throughout 2003 addressing the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the U.S. criminal justice system.
Social Studies, History, Government, and Civics classes.
Assign students to read the Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright (available for download at www.nacdl.org/gideon).
In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was accused of breaking into and entering the Bay Harbor Poolroom in Panama City, Florida. When brought to trial, Gideon, a penniless drifter too poor to hire a lawyer, asked that the state appoint counsel for him. His request was denied based on the precedent set by the 1942 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Betts v. Brady, which said that the right to a lawyer is not essential to a fair trial. Gideon was forced to defend himself. One example of damaging testimony came from the taxi driver who picked up Gideon at the pool hall. He quoted Gideon as saying, "Don't tell anyone you picked me up." Gideon, acting in his own defense, did not challenge this statement during the first trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. From prison, Gideon filed a handwritten petition, in forma pauperis, to the U.S. Supreme Court. His "Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court State Of Florida" asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case and overrule his conviction on the basis that he was denied a fair trial because he did not have the assistance of counsel at his trial. In 1963, the court agreed to hear Gideon's case and ruled that a state must provide legal counsel to anyone charged with a felony who cannot afford a lawyer. The Supreme Court found that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel is a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial. Gideon was retried and acquitted. His lawyer in the second trial asked the taxi driver - who had given damaging testimony during the first trial - if Gideon had ever asked him before to deny that the driver had picked him up. The taxi driver responded that Gideon said this every time the driver picked him up and suggested that it was because of a problem with his wife.
Before class begins, confidentially ask two students to role-play an officer and suspect. At the beginning of class, have the "officer" enter the classroom and "arrest" the "suspect." Instruct the suspect to say "I want a lawyer," and the officer to respond: "According to a new Supreme Court decision, we can't let you talk to your lawyer until we finish with you, and if you can't afford a lawyer, that's too bad." Start a discussion about students' reactions to this "new Supreme Court decision" that you are not entitled to a lawyer. You may want to ask students to compare what the officer in the classroom scenario said to what students see on television shows involving arrests. Students will likely comment that on television, police officers usually recite the Miranda warnings: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney before questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you." Ask students why the right to a lawyer is so important that it is the first thing said to a suspect upon arrest.
Narrator: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be charged with a crime you did not commit? That's what happened to Clarence Earl Gideon. Not only was he charged, he was convicted and sent to prison. This terrible injustice might have been prevented if … well, listen to his story.
Gideon: The year was 1961. The place -Panama City, Florida. I lived right across the street from the Bay Harbor Poolroom. One night someone broke into the poolroom. Unfortunately, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone reported having seen me making a phone call from the telephone booth outside the pool hall. I was arrested and charged with this crime, but, you see, I didn't do it.
Narrator: Then why were you charged?
Gideon: Because I did make that phone call around the time of the break-in. And, just like this witness reported, I did call a cab to take me . . . well, it doesn't matter where it took me. The thing is, the circumstances made me seem guilty. Like I asked the cab driver that night not to tell anyone that he had picked me up. Of course, I didn't know about the break in, and I sure didn't know I was a suspect. I guess I was just a likely target. An ex-convict, a drifter with no money. And like I said, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Narrator: So what happened?
Gideon: Well, I had to go to trial. But the problem was I couldn't afford a lawyer to represent me, and when I asked the court to appoint one, they wouldn't. They said that I wasn't entitled to a lawyer under the law because my crime was not a capital offense.
Trial Judge: I was simply following the law. Florida did not provide for the appointment of counsel in cases that were not eligible for the death penalty, and the Supreme Court had ruled 20 years earlier, in Betts v. Brady, that counsel was not essential to a fair trial in noncapital cases.
Gideon: There was no chance I would be sentenced to death for breaking into a pool hall. So I had to defend myself. And that was a pretty sorry state of affairs.
Narrator: What do you mean?
Gideon: I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I might as well have just told them I was guilty because I didn't have any idea how to prove that I wasn't. I didn't know how to ask the right questions or present evidence or object to things the prosecutor did. And then there was the testimony of that cab driver. He really did me in.
Cab Driver: Wait a minute, Clarence. I just told them the truth. I told them that I picked you up outside the poolroom that night.
Gideon: And what else did you tell them?
Cab Driver: Just what you said - not to tell anyone that I had picked you up. I just told the truth.
Gideon: So I looked guilty as heck, and that's what the jury decided. There wasn't a thing I could think to do to make them think otherwise. So off to prison I went.
Narrator: How did you feel about this?
Gideon: How do you think I felt? How would you feel if you had to get locked up when you didn't do anything wrong? So I decided to fight it.
Narrator: Fight what?
Gideon: Fight my conviction. Ask for a new trial. Get them to say I should have had a lawyer. I wrote up a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States of America and asked them to hear my case. I asked them to overrule my conviction because I didn't have a fair trial.
Narrator: And what did the Supreme Court say?
Gideon: Well, the miracle is that they actually read my petition and agreed to hear my case. I mean lots of guys in prison write to the court. I was pretty lucky. Supreme Court Clerk: He sure was lucky. We get hundreds of petitions from prisoners asking the Supreme Court to issue a writ of certiorari - in other words, asking the Court to hear their cases. Out of the more than 2,500 cases filed with the court that term, the Supreme Court only agreed to hear 150. Plus, the Court rarely hears cases filed in forma pauperis (those submitted by poor defendants), so it was pretty amazing that the Court decided to take up Gideon's handwritten petition.
Narrator: And what did they decide?
Gideon: They decided I was entitled to a new trial with a lawyer. And I have two people to thank for that. A lawyer named Abe Fortas. And a judge named Justice Hugo Black.
Abe Fortas: Although I have argued before the Supreme Court many times, this was a milestone in my legal career. My argument basically was this: An accused person cannot properly defend himself. He needs a lawyer if he is going to have a fair trial.
Justice Hugo Black: Well, Mr. Fortas' argument was a little more involved. But that's what it came down to. It is not fair to try a person without a lawyer just because he or she is poor and cannot afford one. And Mr. Fortas argued Mr. Gideon's case brilliantly. It's no wonder he eventually became a justice on the Supreme Court.
Gideon: So the court decided in 1963 that I should get another trial and be represented by counsel. And this time I won.
Gideon: Because the lawyer knew how to ask the questions I didn't know how to ask in the first trial. For one thing, he knew the right question to ask that cab driver.
Cab Driver: He's right. Just like the first time, I told about how Clarence told me not to tell anyone he had picked me up. But that lawyer, he asked me one more question.
Lawyer: Did Mr. Gideon ever ask you on previous occasions to deny that you had picked him up?
Cab Driver: And I told him the truth. (Turning to the Lawyer.) Sure, I said, Clarence said that every time I picked him up. I think it had something to do with some kind of problem with his wife.
Gideon: Questions like that made a big difference. This time I was acquitted. And I was free. But more important, my petition to the Supreme Court meant that now anyone like me, anyone too poor to pay a lawyer, would have one appointed to represent him.
Narrator: And that is a basic right of Americans. The right to a fair trial with counsel. Is the system perfect? No. But thanks to Clarence Earl Gideon and Abe Fortas and Justice Hugo Black, our justice system now provides an attorney for indigent defendants. And that is a big deal.
Everyone is in favor of protecting citizens from crime and punishing those who commit crimes. Through television, the movies, and the news, students often see the work of law enforcement and prosecutors. Rarely, however, do students learn about the essential role of defense counsel, particularly those who represent individuals who cannot afford an attorney. Innocent people are wrongly accused of crime, and unless they receive competent representation, they may be convicted and spend years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Defenders shield against convictions of the innocent; ensure that sentences are not unfair or the result of prejudice; protect the constitutional rights of defendants; and help individuals get access to drug treatment, mental health services, transitional programs, and other social services. Indeed, the integrity of our criminal justice system relies on balance - i.e., that both the prosecution and the defense are aggressive advocates equipped with the necessary resources to do their jobs. Society has a strong interest in ensuring that this balance exists so that the criminal justice system is fair and produces just results. That is the essence of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright and why, on its 40th anniversary, it is still considered the most significant criminal justice decision in the history of the Supreme Court.
As then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said in an address to the New England Law Institute on November 1, 1963:
"If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell with a pen and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court, and if the Court had not taken the trouble to look for merit in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon DID write that letter, the Court DID look into his case; he WAS retried with the help of competent defense counsel, found not guilty and released from prison after two years of punishment for a crime he did not commit - and the whole course of American legal history has been changed."
Name ____________________________ Class Period _________
In what ways might the provision of counsel still fall short of the "fair trial" standard?
(A1) In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was charged with breaking and entering the Bay Harbor Poolroom in Panama City, Florida.
(A2) Gideon was a penniless drifter who could not afford to pay a lawyer.
(A3) In 1942, ruling in the case of Betts v. Brady, the Supreme Court held that the right to a lawyer was not essential to a fair trial.
(A4) During his first trial, Gideon defended himself. He was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
(A5) Damaging testimony came from the taxi driver who picked up Gideon at the pool hall. He quoted Gideon as saying, "Don't tell anyone you picked me up." Gideon, acting in his own defense, did not challenge this statement during the first trial.
(A6) Gideon wrote a letter to the Supreme Court that his right to a fair trial had been violated because he had not been provided with counsel.
(A7) In 1963, the Supreme Court overruled the prior decision on the basis that there could be no fair trial in felony case unless counsel was provided.
(A8) Gideon was acquitted when he was retried with benefit of counsel.
(A9) His lawyer in the second trial asked the taxi driver if Gideon had ever asked him before to deny that he had picked him up. The taxi driver responded that Gideon said this every time the driver picked him up and suggested that it was because of a problem with his wife.
(A10) The right to counsel is guaranteed to criminal defendants facing jail time who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer.
Representation for the poor in criminal cases is still underfunded in many states and counties throughout the United States. Public defenders and court-appointed attorneys may have very high caseloads, making it difficult for them to provide meaningful representation to each defendant. Many attorneys also do not have access to important resources, such as investigators and expert witnesses. In many places, court-appointed attorneys are paid so little that only inexperienced or unqualified attorneys are willing to take these appointments. Recent cases in which innocent individuals were exonerated by DNA evidence after years of incarceration have revealed the extent to which inadequate counsel can jeopardize the integrity of the justice system.
This lesson plan in its entirety, including additional resources and ideas to present the case are available at http://www.nacdl.org/gideon. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers seeks to advance the mission of the nation's criminal defense lawyers to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or other misconduct. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's members include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active duty U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America's criminal justice system. Distribution of this Lesson Plan by the NACDL was made possible in part through a grant from the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.
**This is our second segment showcasing activities going on in communities around Kansas. If you are involved in an activity dealing with law-related education and would like for it to be included in Law Wise, please contact Ron, Btissam, or Crystal at the numbers listed on the last page of this edition of Law Wise.
Teen Parents and the Law (TPAL) Implementation Workshop
Representatives of six Kansas City area agencies serving teenage parents participated in a relatively new law-related education program called Teen Parents and the Law, sponsored jointly by the Homefront at Heart of American and the Kansas Citizen and Law Education Project of the Kansas Bar Assn. and Supreme Court.
The two-day training was conducted at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, MO, and was led by Katya Levin, a consultant with Streetlaw Inc., in Washington D.C.
Streetlaw established the program in 1996 to provide critical legal information and help teen parents develop the skills necessary to deal with the risks they face. It is part of the Youth for Justice program, funded by the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
The Teen Parents and the Law program (TPAL) is a curriculum of 23 lessons designed to help participants strengthen families and lessen the likelihood of violence in the home and community. The curriculum addresses such issues as appropriate television viewing habits, school attendance, staying home alone, money management, getting married, moving out of the house, child abuse and neglect (including where the line is drawn between the two), good parenting skills, and a myriad of other issues confronting our youngest parents.
The Kansas TPAL training included local adaptations of the 23 lessons where appropriate to include the applicable local law and contact information for agencies and organizations with useful resources for teenage parents. The local adaptations were made by the judges of Johnson County District Court under the coordination of Judges James Vano. (Our thanks to the judges for this work above and beyond their usual heavy caseload.)
The Kansas Bar Assn. and Supreme Court's law-related education office have applied for a grant to spread the training to additional agencies serving teenage parents for this year.
The Kansas Bar Association, with funding from the Kansas Bar Foundation, is making available grant funds to be used by schools in developing peer mediation and youth court programs. The $500 grants can be used to produce seminars, hire consultants, and/or pay for supplies or other expenses associated with starting or continuing a program. Peer mediation programs are defined as programs which are developed to reduce in-school conflicts between students by using students to mediate the disputes. Youth courts are programs that use students in youth court settings to hear minor violations and to decide on appropriate disciplines.
Applications for grant funds should be in letter format and should include the following information:
The deadline to submit grant applications is April 4, 2003. If you receive a grant, your school/organization will be required to forward any evaluation information resulting from the conflict resolution program to the KBA. This detailed information will help continue the funding of conflict resolution programs.
If you would like more information or wish to submit an application, contact Btissam Touijer at the Kansas Bar Association, (785) 234-5696, P.O. Box 1037, Topeka, KS 66601-1037 or email email@example.com
The Kansas Court of Appeals, a ten-member, intermediate appellate court sits in three-judge panels. The court is pleased to have students attend the hearings. The Court of Appeals will next be hearing cases in Topeka, Kansas City, KS, and Wichita in March. All will be conducted on March 18. The Topeka hearings will be in the Court of Appeals Courtroom in the Judicial Center. The Kansas City hearings will be in the Wyandotte County Courthouse. Two panels will hear arguments in Wichita. Those hearings will be the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
The Kansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, and includes seven members. Students are also welcome at oral arguments before the Supreme Court. The high court holds its hearings only in Topeka. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments during the weeks beginning, Mar. 3, Apr. 14, and May 27, 2003. If you have any questions concerning the Kansas appellate courts, or if you would like to bring your class to either the Kansas Supreme Court or the Kansas Court of Appeals, teachers may contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, 301 W. 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507, (785) 296-4872, for assistance. You also can contact Mr. Keefover via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law Wise is published by the Kansas Bar Association during the school year. The Kansas Bar Foundation, with Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts funding, provides support for this publication. Published free, on request, for teachers or anyone interested in law-related education, it is edited by Crystal Marietta, Pittsburg, (620) 231-5620. For further information about any projects or articles, contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, Topeka, (785) 296-4872, or Btissam Hmamouch, Public Services Director of the Kansas Bar Association, Topeka 785) 234-5696. Law Wise is printed at the Kansas Bar Association, 1200 Southwest Harrison, P.O. Box 1037, Topeka, Kansas 66601-1037.