Florida Supreme Court Finds that the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel Allows Withdrawal of Public Defenders from Criminal Cases

A significant decision by the Florida Supreme Court ruled that requiring criminal defense attorneys, employed as public defenders, to represent excessive numbers of indigent clients is a violation of a client’s right to effective legal representation under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The case, Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, et al. v. State of Florida, also addressed the constitutionality of a Florida statute forbidding public defenders to withdraw from representation based solely upon inadequate funding or an excessive workload.

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