Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Missouri

Indigency determination

Can our gonvernments (Federal, state, local) force a person to sell or surrender all that he owns before providing a public defender or court-appointed attorney to represent that person?

Asked on 5/06/05, 1:25 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Indigency determination

They can't "force" a person to do anything, but they can deny a publicly-funded attorney to represent him if he doesn't meet the definition of indigence, and they can take his real estate and personal property into account when making this decision.

If you need an attorney and have assets, it is reasonable to expect you to use those assets to pay for your needs. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize what you can afford, even if affording it requires you to liquidate some property you very much want to keep.

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Answered on 5/06/05, 1:45 pm

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