Brief filed: 04/09/2018
Campanelli v. Illinois
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 17-1225
Decision below 2017 IL 120997 (Ill. Nov. 30, 2017)
The Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling subverts indigent defendants’ fundamental rights to conflict-free counsel, while misunderstanding the practical realities facing public defenders’ offices. This Court has consistently declared that fundamental constitutional rights may not be abridged based on an inability to pay. The Illinois Supreme Court’s carve-out of public defenders from ethical rules applicable to private law firms deprives indigent defendants of their fundamental rights to conflict-free counsel. The practicalities of working in public defenders’ offices demand equally exacting standards as those governing private law firms. The resources of public defenders’ offices nationwide are stretched thin by staggering caseloads. The practical realities of working in public defenders’ offices promote cooperation and collaboration, not an “adversary tendency.”
Sarah L. Rosenbluth, Christopher G. Clark, and Catherine R. Jones, Boston, MA; Jeffrey T. Green, NACDL, Washington, DC.