Source: CVDaily Feed

Approximately half of the defendants in Utah’s justice courts are never provided legal representation. That is one of the findings in a report presented Monday by the Sixth Amendment Center, a state task force hired by the state to review the way accused persons are represented.

On KVNU’s For the People program Monday, David Carroll, executive director of the Sixth Amendment Center, presented some of the details of the report. He said the biggest omission the center found in the system was that there was no ability to assess quality one way or the other–good, bad or indifferent.

“The other piece that people may not be aware of is that Utah is one of only two states, Pennsylvania being the other, that requires the cities and counties to shoulder the entire financial burden,” Carroll said. “The majority of states have state-funded, state-administered systems. But even those that don’t, another 18 or so states have some combination of shared responsibility between states and counties and cities.”

Among the recommendations made by the Sixth Amendment Center was that the Utah legislature create an Indigent Defense Commission which will provide statewide oversight of the services being offered to indigent Utahns as well as provide training, economic assistance and other resources to local jurisdictions.