by Jeff Adachi
Published in the California Bar Journal
April 2009

In the landmark 1963 case Gideon v. Wainwright, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a poor person accused of a crime is entitled to competent and effective legal representation. However, the current economic crisis, rising recession-related crime, and soaring unemployment rates threaten to erode this basic right, which is guaranteed by the U.S. and California constitutions.

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