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22 Hastings Const. L.Q. 219 (1994-1995)
Racism in Our Courts: The Underfunding of Public Defenders and Its Disproportionate Impact Upon Racial Minorities

handle is hein.journals/hascq22 and id is 233 raw text is: Racism in Our Courts: The Underfunding
of Public Defenders and Its
Disproportionate Impact Upon
Racial Minorities
By REBECCA MARCUS*
Table of Contents
Introduction  ....................................................  219
I. Gideon v. Wainwright and the Right to Counsel ........ 220
II. The Underfunding of Public Defender's Offices ........ 222
III. Race Statistics on Poverty and Public Defenders ....... 234
IV. Racism in the American Criminal Justice System ....... 237
V. Equal Protection Doctrine Implications ................. 239
VI. Race Discrimination and the Strict Scrutiny Standard .. 251
VII. Legislative Responses to Racial Discrimination ......... 253
VIII.  Proposals  ...............................................  260
Conclusion  .....................................................  266
Introduction
Years of consistently severe underfunding, increased caseloads
and inadequate resources have created a serious crisis in this nation's
public defender system. These factors have gravely eroded the crimi-
nal defendant's right to adequate representation which is guaranteed
by the Sixth Amendment and was affirmed by the Supreme Court in
Gideon v. Wainwright.1 Moreover, criminal defendants' right to equal
protection under the Fourteenth Amendment is also being denied be-
cause the ineffective assistance of counsel provided by public defend-
ers has a disproportionate impact upon racial minorities.
* Member, Third Year Class; B.A. Stanford University, 1992. The author would like
to thank Professor David Faigman, David Avila and Kate Dyer. Special thanks to my
family for their support throughout all my endeavors. This note is dedicated to the many
committed public defenders working under difficult conditions to ensure legal representa-
tion for all criminal defendants and to all those working to end racism in the criminal
justice system and throughout the country.
1. 372 U.S. 335 (1963).

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