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U.C. Davis Law Review

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indigent criminal defendants, public defender, criminal justice


Civil Law | Criminal Law | Law | Legal Profession


Our legal system - and much of the research conducted on that system - often separates people and issues into civil and criminal silos. However, those two worlds intersect and influence one another in important ways. The qualitative empirical study that forms the basis of this Article bridges the civil-criminal divide by exploring the life circumstances and events of public defender clients to determine how they experience and respond to civil legal problems.

To date, studies addressing civil legal needs more generally have not focused on those individuals enmeshed with the criminal justice system, even though that group offers a rich source of valuable information. Researchers interested in civil aspects of criminal defense have focused primarily on the collateral consequences of conviction and the effectiveness of holistic defense programs. This exploratory study is the first of its kind - focused on civil legal problems unrelated to clients' criminal cases, but instead those that arise in the course of their everyday lives.



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