Case: Gardner v. Luckey

8:71-00561 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

Filed Date: 1973

Closed Date: 1974

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1971, indigent criminal defendants who had been separately convicted of Florida crimes filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida against the state public defender offices pursuant to state law and 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983. Plaintiffs were represented by private counsel. They alleged that the public defender's office failed to meet minimum constitutional standards of effective representation due to inadequate funding and excessive caseloads.…

In 1971, indigent criminal defendants who had been separately convicted of Florida crimes filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida against the state public defender offices pursuant to state law and 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983. Plaintiffs were represented by private counsel. They alleged that the public defender's office failed to meet minimum constitutional standards of effective representation due to inadequate funding and excessive caseloads. The District Court dismissed the complaint on four grounds: (1) a Public Defender is not a state actor when he carries out his central function of representing indigents; (2) the class action was not maintainable because the deprivation of the right to effective assistance of counsel can only be proven by reference to particular instances; (3) there were adequate remedies at law; and (4) there was no case or controversy. Plaintiffs appealed.

On September 16, 1974 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Godbold, C.J.) affirmed the dismissal of the class action suit because it should not have been brought in federal court since the complaint did not allege that any of the named plaintiffs themselves were injured by the conduct of the public defenders.

 

Summary Authors

Dayna Frenkel (2/25/2009)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Johnson, Tomothy A. Jr. (Florida)

Zewadski, William K. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Harrison, Baya III (Florida)

Shevin, Robert L. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Johnson, Tomothy A. Jr. (Florida)

Zewadski, William K. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Harrison, Baya III (Florida)

Shevin, Robert L. (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

73-01777

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

500 F.2d 712

Sept. 16, 1974

Sept. 16, 1974

Order/Opinion

74-06158

Denial of Cert

Supreme Court of the United States

423 U.S. 841, 96 S.Ct. 73, 46 L.Ed.2d 61

Oct. 6, 1975

Oct. 6, 1975

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 6, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Indigent Defense

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1973

Closing Date: 1974

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Indigent criminal defendants seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Florida Public Defender Offices for failing to meet minimum constitutional standards in their representation.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

State Public Defender Office, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

Reproductive rights:

Fetus Identity

General:

Funding

Quality of representation

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload