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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Massachusetts court rules that lawyer shortage violates rights of indigent defendants
Jeannie Shawl at 11:36 AM ET

Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday that the low rate of pay for private lawyers representing indigent defendants is violating the constitutional rights of some of those defendants. The court also ruled that criminal cases must be dismissed against those who go without a lawyer for more than 45 days and that criminal defendants cannot be held more than seven days in jail without a lawyer. The court's opinion in Lavallee is available here. AP has the full story. Massachusetts' Committee for Public Counsel Services has filings in the case.

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