• What Gideon Did,” 116 Columbia Law Review 15 (2016)
    This article chronicles the doctrinal and institutional changes inspired by Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), in which the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to a court-appointed lawyer in state criminal prosecutions. Between 1963 and the early 1970s, I argue, Gideon shifted the legal profession’s policy consensus on indigent defense away from a charity model toward a public model. By 1973, this new consensus had transformed criminal practice nationwide through the establishment of hundreds of public defender offices and the expansion of lawyers’ presence in low-level criminal proceedings. This Article describes these changes primarily through the example of Massachusetts, while contextualizing that example with national comparisons.
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Before Powell v. Alabama: Lessons from History for the Future of the Right to Counsel,” 99 Iowa Law Review 2161 (symposium contribution, 2014)
    * Cited by the Iowa Supreme Court in State v. Young (April 3, 2015)
    This essay concerns the history of the legal doctrine now known as “ineffective assistance of counsel,” under which a person can challenge a criminal conviction on the grounds that her defense attorney made mistakes (although, for various reasons, it is difficult to win such a challenge). Lawyers often think of this doctrine as a relatively recent invention and primarily as a doctrine developed by the federal courts. But in fact, there were a growing number of state-court cases from the 1880s through the 1920s involving claims that we would now recognize as “ineffective assistance of counsel.” The essay was written for the Iowa Law Review symposium commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark right-to-counsel case Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).
  • The Origins of Back-end Sentencing in California,” 22 Stanford Law & Policy Review 529 (2011)
    A study of the legislative history behind California’s 1970s parole supervision laws, which (until 2011 reforms) were anomalously rigid compared to other states and were a primary driver of California’s prison overcrowding crisis. I discovered that California parole officers successfully promoted the parole system to legislators as a way to circumvent the constitutional requirements that apply to criminal trials. Based mainly on papers in the California State Archives in Sacramento.
  • The Case of the Black-Gloved Rapist: Defining the Public Defender in the California Courts, 1913-1948,” 5 California Legal History 217 (2010)
    California was an early leader in the public defender movement. In this paper I compared competing visions of what a PD should be — a zealous advocate for individual clients (akin to a private defense attorney), or a state official whose goal is to help make the criminal justice system run smoothly and efficiently. The titular case was one of Melvin Belli‘s first.


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