Civil Gideon: Legal dimensions of the civil right to counsel debate

A panel of legal experts will discuss the legal arguments surrounding the “Civil Gideon” debate as it has played out nationwide and at home in Maryland on Monday, May 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland School of Law, 500 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore. To RSVP, go to http://www.acslaw.org/CivilGideonRSVP

The panelists are  Debra Gardner, legal director of the Public Justice Center, Wilhelm H. Joseph, Jr., executive director of Maryland Legal Aid and  Michael Millemann, the Jacob A. France Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

One of the most fundamental rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution is the right to receive legal representation free of charge during a criminal proceeding. Indigent civil litigants, however, have no similar right even if they are facing a potential loss of housing, loss of child custody, or loss of their sole source of income – consequences that, for many, may be more dire than a prison sentence. Advocates for “Civil Gideon” rights from around the country have sought to persuade courts to recognize this right under the federal constitution, state constitutions, as well as federal and state statutory law.

The event is sponsored by the American Constitution Society Maryland Lawyer Chapter, the ACS University of Maryland School of Law Student Chapter, and the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.

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