Justinian Lane

California Starts The Civil Gideon Revolution

I wish I had the time to blog substantively about this today.  Since I don’t, I just want to point out what a game-changer this is, and congratulate Governor Schwarzenegger for signing this bill into law.

California is embarking on an unprecedented civil court experiment to pay for attorneys to represent poor litigants who find themselves battling powerful adversaries in vital matters affecting their livelihoods and families.
The program is the first in the nation to recognize a right to representation in key civil cases and provide it for people fighting eviction, loss of child custody, domestic abuse or neglect of the elderly or disabled.

Source: California gives the poor a new legal right --

Justinian Lane: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 10:49 AM, Oct 19, 2009 in
Permalink | Email to Friend


Why does the state have to pay? In medicine we have to see patients who are unable to pay at our own expense. Why isn't it the same for attorneys?

Posted by: throckmortons | October 21, 2009 8:09 AM

I see your point. One reason is that the state doesn't do anything to you if you don't go to the doctor. But if you don't answer a civil lawsuit, the state gives the plaintiff the right to evict you from your home, garnish funds, etc.

What are the rules about doctors "having" to see patients who can't pay? Who can and can't you turn away?

Posted by: Justinian Lane | October 21, 2009 11:21 PM

The laws regarding mandates that physicians see patients are EMTALA and COBRA. Not to mention civil cases,and state laws regarding patient abandonment.

The state may give the plaintiff the right to evict you but if you dont go to the doctor you might get the celestial eviction.

Posted by: throckmorton | October 22, 2009 8:51 AM

Celestial eviction. Nice.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | October 23, 2009 12:33 PM

The problem isn't the "fighting eviction, loss of child custody, domestic abuse or neglect of the elderly or disabled" cases - it's that government programs tend to become entrenched and expand far beyopnd the original scope. For this reason I think all governmental programs should come with "sunset" provisions so that they can be deep-sixed if they don't work as they should

Posted by: Avenger | October 25, 2009 3:19 AM

I have mixed feelings about sunset provisions. On the one hand, it's nice to have an occasional review to make sure programs are working. But on the other hand, it can also be a crutch to pass very bad legislation, or to pass legislation without scrutinizing it beforehand.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | October 26, 2009 1:49 PM