Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Indigent Criminal Defense Research Guide

Created in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, this research guide collects sources related to the history, development, and current state of indigent criminal defense in the United States.


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After Gideon

  • Post-Gideon scholarship
    • Gideon's Promise Unfulfilled: The Need for Litigated Reform of Indigent Defense, 113 Harvard Law Review 2062–2079 (2000).
    • Tracey L. Meares, What's Wrong with Gideon, 70 The University of Chicago Law Review 215–231 (2003).
    • Lee Silverstein, Defense of the Poor in Criminal Cases in American State Courts, 3 vols (1965)KF9646.Z95 A4 1965
    • Robert L. Spangenberg & Marea L. Beeman, Indigent Defense Systems in the United States, 58Law and Contemporary Problems 31–49 (1995), (last visited Feb 4, 2013).
  • Post-Gideon Original Source Documents
    • General Charles L. Decker/NLADA CollectionSPECL, manuscript collections. 

      General Charles L. Decker (1906-1983) directed the NLADA National Defender Project from 1963 until 1971. The project, which was funded by the Ford Foundation, had been conceptualized prior to the Gideon v. Wainwright decision, and was charged with surveying existing defender systems, and with establishing demonstration defender programs and new defender offices or systems in areas where none existed, as well as with improving existing defender offices or systems. Decker, a Georgetown Law alumnus, donated his extensive papers documenting the National Defender Project, as well as some of his personal papers, to the GULL.

    • The NEJL also houses collections from several former directors of the NLADA Defender Division, and from other advocates in the public defender movement, including:

  • Public Defenders and Court Appointment Systems