Journal Article

Indigent Defense Counsel, Attorney Quality, and Defendant Outcomes

Michael A. Roach

in American Law and Economics Review

Volume 16, issue 2, pages 577-619
Published in print December 2014 | ISSN: 1465-7252
Published online May 2014 | e-ISSN: 1465-7260 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aler/ahu003
Indigent Defense Counsel, Attorney Quality, and Defendant Outcomes

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County governments typically provide legal defense services for the indigent through one of two methods: public defenders and assigned counsel. I measure differences in defendant outcomes between these two types of counsel, finding that assigned counsel generate significantly less favorable outcomes for defendants than public defenders. Since assigned counsel work involves attorneys selecting into it, outside labor market options could affect attorney selection decisions. With that in mind, I analyze how attorneys of different quality levels respond to exogenous changes in their respective outside options, finding a significant impact on the performance of assigned counsel relative to public defenders.

Keywords: K14; J22

Journal Article.  15024 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal Law ; Demand and Supply of Labour

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