As folks should know by now, the US DOJ has filed a “Statement of Interest” in the ongoing New York State case about the quality of indigent defense services.
While taking no formal position on the merits of the case, the Statement, urges three things:
- That if liability is found, the court has broad authority to enter injunctive relief and to appoint an independent monitor,
- That such a monitor would be critical in such a complex situation, and
- That the remedy should include caseload controls.
This is the second such involvement (I am avoiding the formal word “intervention” here), and as such highlights the systematic and national interest that DOJ has in this issue.
I wonder if there are similar statements of interest that might be appropriate in civil access to justice cases. The Department’s amicus in Turner was clearly highly influential. I would encouage those involved in cases that might benefit from such engagement to be in appropriate touch with DOJ. Even if initial requests do not obtain the desired result, surely even the triggering of a discussion within DOJ would be a good thing. Now that there is an Access to Justice Initiative within DOJ, such things become more possible.