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Should Poor Marylanders Have Free Access To A Lawyer In Certain Civil Cases?

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Credit: Scott / Flickr / Creative CommonsDecember 6, 2013

Like everyone else, we’re thinking this morning about Nelson Mandela. We're reflecting on his legacy and how much he taught us about equal rights and equal justice, not just in South Africa, but everywhere.  

Equal justice is an issue we’re talking about in Maryland this morning. There’s a national debate now over whether poor Americans should have a right to a lawyer in civil cases; cases involving critical issues like housing, health, or child custody. 

Fifty years ago the U.S. Supreme Court established a right to a lawyer in criminal cases if the defendant can’t afford one. That was the decision Gideon v Wainwright. 

But for civil cases, how would such a system work? And, who would pay for it?

Those are questions that a newly created task force in Maryland is grappling with. The task force comprises judges, legislators, and lawyers and is staffed by Pamela Ortiz, Executive Director of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission. She joins Sheilah Kast to talk about it.

Find out more about the task force here. Read the report that the Maryland Access To Justice Commission put together on the economic impact of providing free lawyers in certain civil cases here.

Produced by Matt Purdy - mpurdy@wypr.org



 

 E-mail: mdmorning@wypr.org

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