Ch 20 Unmet Need As Human Rights Crisis

Unmet Need as Human Rights Crisis

Alternative structures can be used to help to meet the huge unmet need for legal services in the US and in doing, so, end real suffering of real people. If we are unable — if we refuse — to see this, how are we different from all the others who observed Lauren’s abuse yet took no action to stop it?

A variety of studies and surveys evidence that while large organizations, such as corporations and public sector bodies, and high net worth individuals are able to obtain legal assistance, most low and middle income individuals as well as small businesses are all but shut out of the legal market. In particular, it is estimated that 80% of the legal needs of low income persons in the United States are not met.[1]

The average market rate for lawyers in the US has been estimated at $200 to $350 per hour,[2] and it is difficult to find lawyers that charge less than $150 per hour.[3] From this perspective, it is easy to see how most Americans, not just the poor but also middle class and many businesses, simply cannot afford a lawyer.

The source of the problem of unmet need is often seen as lack of monetary resource: that many people cannot afford legal services. Accordingly, the solutions most often proposed are more legal aid from government sources in order to pay lawyers (a topic discussed in detail in Part II), and more pro bono (free or volunteer) work from lawyers. But to the extent such solutions are available, they are available only to the most impoverished — they are not solutions made available to the middle class, let alone to entrepreneurs and small businesses, even though those populations also suffer from a huge unmet need for legal services.

Gillian Hadfield has explained that given the huge amount of unmet legal need in the United States, neither more legal aid nor more conventional pro bono offers even a remote solution:

Increased public funding of legal aid is clearly not feasible as a means of meeting the demand for legal help: at the rates estimated for solo and small firm practitioners, it would cost on the order of $50 billion annually just to secure one hour of legal help for all the American households with an unmet dispute-related need; the current total expenditure on legal aid in the US, counting both public funds and charitable donations, is less than 10% of that figure: $ 3.7 billion annually.[…] Even those living in poverty, who are eligible for civil legal aid, often are unable to obtain assistance: the Legal Services Corporation estimated that in 2009, half of those seeking assistance from LSC-funded services were turned away […] As for pro bono work: American lawyers average about 30 hours of pro bono work per year. That’s less than 2% of all legal effort. If every American lawyer in the country did an additional 100 hours per year, that would be enough to secure less than 30 minutes per dispute-related problem per household.[…] There is simply no way for the pervasive need for legal services experienced by ordinary Americans to be met through the conventional means advocated by the legal profession.[4]

At the time he was head of the Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative, Laurence Tribe described Americans’ access to justice as a “dramatically understated crisis.”[5]

While the unmet need for legal services affects virtually every person of low and middle income, it disproportionally affects women and racial minorities. A 2014 report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination[6] explains that this occurs for two reasons. The first reason is because women and racial minorities are more likely to experience poverty in the United States, and because they are more likely to experience discrimination that gives rise to legal claims.[7] The second reason, the report explains, is that such groups make up a disproportionate number of litigants without representation.[8]

The 2014 report also explains:

[E]xisting studies indicate that lack of legal representation dramatically impairs the ability of low‐income people to effectively navigate the court system and attain successful outcomes. Represented parties enjoy statistically more favorable results in housing, family law, child welfare, small claims, and employment‐related civil rights cases. Those who are represented by an attorney before administrative agencies governing such vital issues as social security, immigration, and unemployment also have higher success rates — in some cases up to two or three times higher — than those who are unrepresented in comparable cases. In a survey of trial judges from thirty‐seven states, the majority reported that pro se [unrepresented] litigants were ineffective in their self‐advocacy because they failed to present necessary evidence, committed procedural errors, or were unable to properly examine witnesses.[9]

In fact, the extent of the unmet legal need in the United States is so high, it is considered a human rights crisis by some,[10] with the result that the United States is in breach of its obligations under a number of human rights treaties,[11] which require the United States, for example, to provide effective remedies to rights violations,[12] to guarantee equal treatment before the tribunals and other organs administering justice,[13] and to protect against discrimination and provide equal protection under the law.[14]

The United States itself has acknowledged the problems, stating to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that:

[T]he United States faces challenges in … its provision of free and affordable civil legal services to the poor and middle class. We recognize that these challenges are felt acutely by members of racial and ethnic minorities.[15]

The access to justice problem in the United States in also made acutely apparent in The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2015. While on a general basis this index ranks the legal system of the US 19th out of 102 countries,[16] on the specific question of affordable and accessible civil justice, the US is ranked 65th out of 102 (behind countries such as Russia and Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Ukraine),[17] and is ranked last out of the regional group of North America and Western Europe, behind countries such as Romania and Bulgaria (the Report places Mexico in the region of Latin America & the Caribbean). Commenting on the US, the prior year’s (2014) report stated that “Civil legal assistance is frequently expensive or unavailable, and the gap between rich and poor individuals in terms of both actual use of and satisfaction with the court system is significant.”[18]

The repercussions of the failure to meet this pervasive need for legal services are not limited to the individual themselves. It hurts other litigants: for example, when only one party to a matter is represented by counsel, the result is typically a higher legal bill for that party. It hurts the court system: unrepresented litigants unschooled in procedure clog the courts, consuming the time of court staff, producing delays and creating dilemmas for judges who may wish to help but who must also remain neutral and fair to both sides.[19]

And it hurts society as a whole: Access to legal services is “a catalyst for change in discriminatory and prejudicial societal structures.”[20] If all citizens do not have the means to resolve their claims, then individuals as well as companies “can take advantage of one another without much fear of recourse, resulting in an inequitable and immoral society.”[21] It is a Canadian who has perhaps summed it up best: “Being without a lawyer means being without power in our society.”[22]

What it means to be without power — and the unmet need for legal services as human rights crisis — is illustrated in the story of Lauren McConniel, as told by a decision of the Court of Appeals of Indiana: [23]

Born in October, 2004 Lauren was not yet two years old in July 2006 when her parents, Ryan McConniel and Amber Huggins, separated. After the separation, Amber and Lauren (together with Lauren’s older sister Kaylynn) moved from Indiana to Tennessee, and Ryan moved to Arkansas.

In November, 2006, Ryan filed for divorce in Arkansas. Ryan was represented by an attorney. Amber sought representation, but legal aid in Tennessee could not represent her because the case was out of state, and legal aid in Arkansas could not represent her because she was not an Arkansas resident. Because Amber could not afford to pay attorney’s fees, she was obliged to represent herself.[24]

The divorce was final in May, 2007. At the time of the divorce proceedings both children were living with Amber and Amber’s fitness as a mother was not questioned. Nevertheless, custody of both was awarded to Ryan, and Amber was ordered to pay Ryan $104 per week in child support. However, Ryan and Amber verbally agreed that Lauren would remain with Amber and that Amber would not pay child support. During the time that Amber had custody of Lauren, Lauren was described as a healthy child who was toilet trained and was well behaved and talkative.

In October 2007, Ryan married Brittany McConniel, the stepdaughter of Ryan’s cousin Robert Lee. At the time of the marriage, Brittany had a one year old son and she and Ryan later had a daughter. After their marriage, Brittany pressured Ryan to enforce against Amber the order for payment of child support, and Brittany told Ryan that he was “a worthless piece of crap” because he did not enforce his right for custody of Lauren.

Lauren lived with Ryan and Brittany from December 2007 to June 2008 and then again from October to December 2008. When Amber picked up Lauren in December 2008, Amber discovered that Lauren had bruises on many parts of her body. In addition, Lauren was withdrawn and had reverted to peeing in her pants. Amber called child protective services to report what she had observed; later Ryan called Amber to ask her if she had called child protective services. After Amber affirmed that she had, Ryan asked Amber if she would like to keep Lauren with her “like forever.” During her time with Amber, Lauren returned to being toilet trained.

In March 2009, Ryan and Brittany moved to Indiana, first to Winchester and, three or four months later, to Farmland. In Indiana, they lived with Robert Lee, his wife Angela Lee and their daughter Samra — at that time, Brittany disclosed to Ryan that Robert Lee has molested her as a child.

Brittany continued to pressure Ryan to enforce the order for payment of child support, stating that they needed the money and that Ryan was a worthless father who did not love his daughter because he let her stay with Amber.

At some point, Brittany called a 911 center in Tennessee to “have a welfare check on Lauren.” She told the Tennessee authorities that Ryan was custodial parent and that Amber refused to give the child back. She then pressured Ryan to drive to Tennessee to collect Lauren, which Ryan did, in August 2009. Without informing Amber of his intentions, he arrived at her house with the custody order and two law enforcement officers. At the time that Ryan took Lauren from Amber’s house in Tennessee to Indiana, Lauren was healthy, toilet trained, outgoing and did not demonstrate any eating disorders.

Ryan initiated an action for back payment of child support from May 2007, and Amber was given Ryan’s former address in Winchester, Indiana as a contact address.

Shortly after bringing Lauren to Indiana, Ryan, Brittany, Robert Lee, Angela Lee and the children moved from Farmland to Muncie, Indiana. Amber was not provided with the new address or with any telephone number.

Amber tried different ways to reach Ryan, but she was only able to make contact with Brittany, who lied to her by saying that they were living in Winchester, that Amber should pay the back child support and that Amber should not attempt to reach them again.

Amber threatened to seek contempt charges if the girls did not telephone her; In December, 2009 Amber received a call from a restricted number, and for eight minutes she was able to speak with both girls. The call ended when Amber heard Brittany say “you’ve talked long enough,” and the line was cut.

At the end of January 2010, Amber traveled from Tennessee to Winchester, Indiana to try to find her daughters, but found the house at the address she had been given to be empty.

Over the period from August 2009 to March 2010, Lauren suffered greatly at the hands of Robert Lee and Brittany. As Ryan later reported, he observed Robert Lee and Brittany hit Lauren with a stick on the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet. Immediately after being beat on the feet, Lauren was forced to do jumping jacks for anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes at a time, often not stopping until she was vomiting. Lauren was also forced to run, or to hold up heavy objects, for long periods of time without being allowed to stop. Robert Lee and Brittany would hit Lauren on the backs of her legs with wet rags or hand towels, later explaining that this way there would not be bruising. Brittany force fed Lauren, which led to more vomiting and then more beatings. Brittany forced Lauren to take Benadryl at night, in order that she would sleep. In December 2009, when Ryan returned home from work, Lauren’s hands were full of feces and she tried to smear the feces on Ryan and the other children in the house.

Lauren was taken to the emergency room on more than on occasion, with various problems such as a red and painful eye, broken fingers, and a vaginal area that did not “look normal.” After one medical exam, she retracted into a defensive position and hit herself repeatedly on the forehead with her fists.

On March 3, 2010 Ryan took Lauren to the emergency room again. At her arrival, she was described as “malnourished,” “emaciated,” “dehydrated and… extremely lethargic.” She weighed just 28 pounds; her bones, ribs and clavicle were pressing against her skin, and she had little or no subcutaneous fat. When she cried, she did not have any tears and the mucous membranes in her mouth were dry, indicating that she was dehydrated. She had multiple bruises on her face and extremities and a laceration on her thigh. Her sodium level was very high, and her blood pressure was very low. Lauren was dying, and, indeed, on March 4, 2010 she became nonresponsive, developed multi-organ failure, and was likely brain dead. A few days later she was later taken off the ventilator and on March 9, 2010 she died.

One of Ryan’s relatives contacted Amber when Lauren was admitted to the hospital. Amber drove from Tennessee, arriving at the Indiana hospital shortly before Lauren’s death.

It is clear that many people let Lauren down — her father Ryan, the other people who lived in the house with Robert Lee and Brittany and who visited the house and observed her abuse, Child Protective Services, the health care workers on Lauren’s prior emergency room visits — all of them had opportunities to intervene and try to stop the abuse but none did.

It would be easy (and facile) to stop there. It would be easy (and facile) to say that because of the failings of all those others, our legal system could not — should not — also be blamed. It would be easy (and facile) to say that, but it would also be wrong. It is not because others are also guilty that our legal system is less so. Any assertion that it is can only serve to perpetuate the problem, dooming cases like Lauren’s to be repeated.

At the time Amber and Ryan divorced, Ryan was able to pay for his own attorney, but Amber was not, and Legal Aid was not available to her. At the time of the divorce, both daughters were living with Amber, and there was no suggestion that she was an unfit mother. The statements that Ryan made later suggest that he never wanted custody of the girls, and there is no indication that he was ever concerned with Lauren’s welfare. There is no reason to explain why he was awarded custody except that he was represented by an attorney who understood how to navigate the court system in order to obtain custody for his client, while Amber was not.

In her 2012 testimony before the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York, District Attorney Kathleen Rice described the link between the civil access to justice gap and public safety in this manner:

Access and quality representation for all those in front of the court is at the heart of a preventative, front-end public safety strategy. As a [District Attorney], without such a strategy and without such civil court access and representation, I can tell you that our communities will be more dangerous and [we] will … continue to repeat public policy failures at great financial and human cost.[25]

New York Chief Judge John Lippman echoed this connection between access to civil justice and public safety when he stated: “If what happens inside this courthouse or any courthouse … is anything short, even by the smallest amount, of promoting equal justice… [t]he most vulnerable in our society, they’re the ones who have suffered the most.”[26]

In his book Children, Courts and Custody: Interdisciplinary Models for Divorcing Families, Andrew Schepard explains the challenges that divorcing parents face when they are unable to secure representation:

Divorcing parents must resort to a complicated court system to settle their differences. Yet the system does not provide them with the lawyers they need to navigate it, treating representation as a privilege for the wealthy or as charity for a small number of the very poor.

The increase in pro se [unrepresented] representation poses special challenges for the child custody court. At their best, lawyers can guide parents through a mystifyingly complex system at a time of great emotional turmoil, identify problem-solving strategies to help their children, encourage them to participate in education and mediation, and prepare and present their cases in court with full knowledge of the formal rules of procedure. Pro se parents do not get the benefit of this help. As a result, they suffer serious disadvantages in the legal system. Substantial numbers of pro se parents have difficulty finding out where to file court papers, understanding and completing forms and obtaining evidence to support their position in court. Parents with representation are more likely to be awarded physical custody than parents without representation. Where both parents are represented, they received joint legal custody 92% of the time, as compared to 50% of the families where neither parent was represented.[27]

A 2013 report to the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission confirms this situation specifically for self-represented litigants in Arkansas, where Amber and Ryan were divorced. After explaining the difficulties that poor persons have to obtain legal services, the report states that in Arkansas, self-represented litigants are, for the most part “left on their own and flounder.”[28] For example, very few Arkansas lawyers provide limited scope representation and, in particular, no family law lawyers do so: either they handle the entire matter from start to finish, or they decline representation.[29] Further, the report states, in Arkansas almost every family law matter has at least one unrepresented party.[30] Those unrepresented parties are at a huge disadvantage because, among other reasons, many judges require self-represented litigants to perform as if they were lawyers; if they do not, they are denied the relief they request.[31] In a survey of judges, 80% reported that self-representation has a negative impact on case outcomes, with one judge stating “there have been times [self-represented litigants] prevailed, but very, very seldom.”[32] Understood in this context, Amber never had a chance. And if she didn’t, neither did Lauren.

In order to help self-represented litigants in Arkansas, the report advocates for a number of changes, including the greater use of limited scope representation,[33] the wider development and availability of forms and document assembly technology,[34] the “repurposing” of the Supreme Court Library as the center of a network of court-based services for self-represented litigants,[35] improved court case management systems,[36] and the promulgation of clear policy guidelines for judges, clerks and librarians on how to work with self-represented litigants.[37] These are all worthwhile proposals, of course, that should be put in place. They will benefit many persons. But the report contains no allusion that, alone, they will be sufficient to close Arkansas’s access to justice gap.

In Australia, the ILP Salvos Legal Humanitarian provides, among other services, family law services. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the US, a number of social service organizations provided free legal assistance for divorce and child custody matters. What if a service like Salvos or those social service organizations had existed in Arkansas, Tennessee, or Indiana when Lauren McConniel was still alive? What if such a service had represented Amber Huggins in her divorce from Ryan McConniel, and had succeeded in maintaining Amber’s custody of Lauren? Or, what if such a service had been able to represent Amber Huggins when she first noticed that Lauren was bruised, so that Amber could have obtained custody at that time?

Those are a lot of what-ifs. We cannot wind back the clock and replay Lauren’s short life, in order to know with certainty whether such a structure would have effectively provided a lifeline to her — if it would have successfully represented Amber in order that she could protect Lauren from her suffering and death at the hands of Robert Lee and Brittany McConniel.

But we do not need to know for sure. We only need to know that it could have offered Lauren such lifeline; that the possibility is real. And that it can offer a lifeline to parents and children in the future who find themselves in situations comparable to Amber’s and Lauren’s. We need to see in those structures real-life examples of how alternative structures can be used to help to meet the huge unmet need for legal services in the US and in doing, so, end real suffering of real people. If we are unable — if we refuse — to see this, how are we different from all the others who observed Lauren’s abuse yet took no action to stop it?

Lauren McConniel had the right to not be tortured to death. That right was violated in a horrific manner. If Lauren’s mother had had access to civil legal services at the time of her divorce, it is more than possible that Lauren would be alive and well today. Lauren’s story illustrates in a dramatic fashion how the unmet need for legal services in the US constitutes a human rights crisis. The examples of Salvos Legal Humanitarian and the late 19th and early 20th century social service organizations illustrate the potential for alternative structures to help (certainly, along with other solutions such as those mentioned in the Arkansas report) to alleviate the crisis. To be clear — it is only a potential — there is no guarantee that they will do so. As alternative structures will not offer a panacea for lawyers, neither will they offer one for poor persons. That is, they will not offer a utopia or a universal remedy for all poor persons who are otherwise unable to obtain legal services. But the potential that they will help some people is real, and mere the fact this potential exists is highly significant. The story of Lauren McConniel (and others like her) places upon us a moral obligation to pursue this potential fully. It is too late for Lauren McConniel, but it is not too late for the other Laurens that will surely come after her.

And it is not just children that experience the unmet need for legal services as a human rights crisis:

Another example is that of the many persons in the United States who are incarcerated because of their inability to pay a fine. This occurs when someone with few resources is, most typically, cited for a traffic offense. Because of their limited resources, they do not seek legal counsel. Then, they do not attend the court hearing — because they fear arrest because of their inability to pay the fine,[38] because they are unable to get time off from work, because they are unable to make arrangements for child care for the time they would be at a court, because they do not realize that it is possible to challenge the ticket, even if they believe the ticket was issued unfairly.

And that is when their troubles really start — when they do not show up at court, additional fines are issued, court costs are assessed, and a warrant is issued for their arrest — all not because of the underlying violation, but because of the resulting failure to appear at court. Once arrested under the warrant and incarcerated, their lives enter a downward spiral of loss of access to jobs and housing — the very stability that they need to be able to pay the increasing fines. A typical scenario is that a person enters and leaves prison on several occasions over a period of several years as they struggle and fail to pay ever increasing fines and court costs, all originating from the same traffic offense.[39]

Today there are estimated to be thousands of such persons incarcerated across the United States. All are low income, and nearly all are members of racial minorities. Certainly this outcome is a result of a multiple of factors — underfunded municipalities and courts under pressure for additional sources of revenue, the increased use of private probation companies who seek their fees from offenders rather than from the state, and racial profiling that results in the ticketing of minorities for traffic violations at a higher rate — factors which cannot be addressed (at least not directly) by changes to the way legal services are regulated.

But one important factor can be addressed by changing the manner by which legal services are regulated — the lack of legal information: not knowing if it is better to appear in court, or better to not appear because if you do and you are unable to pay the fine, you will necessarily be incarcerated, not knowing whether it is possible to request a more convenient court date in order to maintain employment, not knowing if children are allowed in the courtroom and not having access to child care, not knowing if the citation itself can be challenged, and, if so, how. Unable to access legal representation or advice, this ignorance is prevalent and is an important factor in the suffering — imprisonment, job loss, homelessness — that results.

England offers us an example of how persons in this situation could be helped, both free of charge as well as for a low, fixed fee. That example is Road Traffic Representation (RTR), a web-based service that is operated by the ABS Legalmatters Limited. Described in detail in Part I, RTR provides an online legal advice service for road traffic offenses. After posing the user, accused of a traffic offense, a series of questions, the service assesses whether the authorities have followed the proper procedure (and thus whether any procedural or technical objections can be raised) and makes a diagnosis both of the likely penalties the client will face if convicted and of any defenses that may be asserted. It is easy to imagine that the information offered by the service could be adapted to address additional topics, such as whether and how a hearing date could be rescheduled, what is likely to happen if the user is unable to pay the fine, whether payment arrangements may be available, and whether restrictions on the presence of children at a hearing may apply.

A service like RTR would not offer a panacea to the thousands of Americans whose lives face a downward spiral after they are issued a traffic ticket. A mere website, even one applying a sophisticated rules based expert system, cannot solve the myriad of underlying problems, like the underfunding of courts and municipalities, the conflict of interest when private probation companies receive their revenue from offenders, or the targeting of racial minorities for traffic stops. But RTR demonstrates in a concrete manner how technology can be used to fill an unmet need for legal services; in this instance, to help someone faced with a traffic offense to quickly obtain basic but pertinent information at little or no cost, in order to understand his/her specific rights, obligations and options.

Notes

[1] William C. Hubbard, “Remarks of William C. Hubbard, President of the American Bar Association” (presentation to Meeting of American College of Trial Lawyers, Miami, Florida, February 28, 2015), http://www.americanbar.org/groups/leadership/office_of_the_president/selected-speeches-of-aba-president-william-c–hubbard/american-college-of-trial-lawyers–february-2015-.html. See also Ethan Bronner, “Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor,” New York Times, March 15, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/us/16gideon.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1. See generally Legal Services Corporation, “Documenting the Justice Gap in America — The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans: An Updated Report of the Legal Services Corporation,” September, 2009, http://www.lsc.gov/sites/default/files/LSC/pdfs/documenting_the_justice_gap_in_america_2009.pdf.

[2] Deborah Beth Medows, “Justice as a Luxury?: The Inefficacy of Middle Class Pro Se Litigation and Exploring Unbundling as a Partial Solution,” October 28, 2013, 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2346267.

[3] Nathan Koppel, “More Strapped Litigants Skip Lawyers in Court,” Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2010, http://www.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704229004575371341507943822?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704229004575371341507943822.html.

[4] Hadfield, “The Cost of Law,” 45-46.

[5] Channing Turner, “Tribe: Gap in Justice a ‘Dramatically Understated’ Crisis,” Main Justice, June 18, 2010, http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/06/18/tribe-gap-in-justice-a-%E2%80%98dramatically-understated%E2%80%99-crisis-2/.

[6] Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and Northeastern University School of Law Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, “Equal Access to Justice: Ensuring Meaningful Access to Counsel in Civil Cases, Including Immigration Proceedings — Response to the Seventh and Ninth Periodic Reports of the United States to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” July, 2014, http://web.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/human-rights-institute/files/equal_access_to_justice_-_cerd_shadow_report.pdf.

[7] Ibid., 4.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., 2-3

[10] Carrie Johnson, “Rights Advocates See ‘Access to Justice’ Gap in U.S.,” NPR, March 10, 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/10/288225649/rights-advocates-see-access-to-justice-gap-in-u-s.

[11] See generally Zachary H. Zarnow, “Obligation Ignored: Why International Law Requires the United States to Provide Adequate Civil Legal Aid, What the United States is Doing Instead, and How Legal Empowerment Can Help,” Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 20 (2011): 273-309, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2090054. See also Kristel Jüriloo, “Free Legal Aid — A Human Right,” Nordic Journal of Human Rights 33 (2015): 203-219, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/18918131.2015.1066143.

[12] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, December 16, 1966, Art. 2(3)(a), http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx. See also The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 8, http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/.

[13] International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, December 21, 1965, Art. 5(a), http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx.

[14] International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Art. 6. See also The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 7.

[15] United States of America, “Periodic Report of the United States of America to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Concerning the International Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” June 12, 2013, 37, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210817.pdf.

[16] The World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2015, 6, 20.

[17] This ranking is derived from the data (xls) that is available for download from the World Justice Project website.

[18] The World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2014, 2014, 57, http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/files/wjp_rule_of_law_index_2014_report.pdf.

[19] See, for example, Terry Carter, “Judges Say Litigants Are Increasingly Going Pro Se —  At Their Own Peril,” ABA Journal, July 12, 2010, http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/judges_say_litigants_increasingly_going_pro_se–at_their_own_/; and “More People Acting as Their Own Lawyers: Courts Clog Up as Americans Represent Themselves, Even in Complex Cases,” NBC News, November 24, 2008, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27894755/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/more-people-acting-their-own-lawyers/#.VdijULKqqkp.

[20] Jüriloo, “Free Legal Aid,” 203-204.

[21] Medows, “Justice as a Luxury,” 5.

[22] Julia H. Bass, W. A. Bogart, and Frederick H. Zemans, Access to Justice for a New Century: The Way Forward, (Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Law Society of Upper Canada, 2005), 12.

[23] Brittany L. McConniel v. State of Indiana, In the Court of Appeals of Indiana, Opinion for Publication, September 11, 2012, http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09111201ebb.pdf (hereinafter, “Court of Appeals of Indiana”).

[24] Facebook, Inc. “Remembering Lauren McConniel, 10/3/2004 – 03/09/2010,” accessed May 21, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Remembering-Lauren-McConniel-1032004-03092010/128472153894713?sk=info&tab=page_info.

[25] Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York, “Report to the Chief Judge of the State of New York,” November, 2012, 9, https://www.nycourts.gov/accesstojusticecommission/PDF/CLS-TaskForceREPORT_Nov-2012.pdf

[26] Ibid., 4.

[27] Andrew I. Schepard, Children, Courts and Custody: Interdisciplinary Models for Divorcing Families (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 41.

[28] John M. Greacen, “Services for Self-Represented Litigants in Arkansas: A Report to the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission,” July 26, 2013, 3, http://www.arkansasjustice.org/sites/default/files/file%20attachments/Arkansas%20Final%20Report%207-26-13.pdf.

[29] Ibid., 17-18.

[30] Ibid., 10.

[31] Ibid., 16.

[32] Ibid., 11.

[33] Ibid., 20-21, 31-32.

[34] Ibid., 20, 25-26, 27.

[35] Ibid., 29-31.

[36] Ibid., 22-26.

[37] Ibid., 28-29.

[38] See, for example, Shaila Dewan, “A Surreptitious Courtroom Video Prompts Changes in a Georgia Town,” New York Times, September 5, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/05/us/a-surreptitious-courtroom-video-prompts-changes-in-a-georgia-town.html?_r=0.

[39] See, generally: Chrissy Brown, “How to Go From Citizen to Criminal in Under 10 Minutes,” Thoughts On Liberty, July 23, 2013, http://thoughtsonliberty.com/how-to-go-from-citizen-to-criminal-in-under-10-minutes; Casey Smith and Carey A. Spinwall, “Increasing Number Going to Jail for Not Paying Fines: Inability to Pay Costs Plenty for All,” Tulsa World, November 13, 2013, http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/increasing-number-going-to-jail-for-not-paying-fines/article_8b8d2229-c7ad-5e7f-aea2-baeb13390880.html; Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville, “The Town That Turned Poverty Into a Prison Sentence,” The Nation, March 14, 2014, http://www.thenation.com/article/town-turned-poverty-prison-sentence/; “Without Funds to Pay Fines, Minor Incidents Can Mean Jail Time,” PBS Newshour, April 12, 2014, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/without-funds-pay-fines-minor-incidents-can-mean-jail-time/; Radley Balko, “How Municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., Profit From Poverty,” Washington Post, September 3, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/; “ArchCity Defenders Municipal Courts White Paper,” 2014, http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1279541/archcity-defenders-report-on-st-louis-county.pdf.

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