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Free Justice – A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth-Century America - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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Free Justice: A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth-Century America

Sara Mayeux


Every day, in courtrooms around the United States, thousands of criminal defendants are represented by public defenders--lawyers provided by the government for those who cannot afford private counsel. Though often taken for granted, the modern American public defender has a surprisingly contentious history--one that offers insights not only about the "carceral state," but also about the contours and compromises of twentieth-century liberalism. First gaining appeal amidst the Progressive Era fervor for court reform, the public defender idea was swiftly quashed by elite corporate lawyers who bel ... More

Keywords: public defenders, right to counsel, Gideon v. Wainwright, carceral state, legal profession

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9781469661650
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021 DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469661650.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sara Mayeux, author
Vanderbilt University