ACLU accuses Nevada of denying rural defendants due process
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing the state of Nevada of routinely violating the constitutional rights of criminal defendants in 11 rural counties by failing to provide them with adequate legal representation when they can’t afford their own lawyer.
The ACLU’s Nevada chapter filed a class-action suit in Carson District Court Thursday alleging indigent defendants are being denied their right to due process under the state system that transfers the job of public defense to individual counties.
The suit says the state lacks adequate oversight of the counties and their system of contracting attorneys to represent the accused. It says the contract lawyers receive de facto flat fees and have a financial incentive to provide as little legal assistance to their clients as possible.
The ACLU has filed similar suits in several other states, including Idaho and Utah.