College of Law Clinic Students Contribute to New Report Critiquing Utah Public Defender Services

A new report issued by the ACLU of Utah that is critical of Utah’s public defender services credits work by students in the College of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic, who reviewed records from each of the state’s 29 counties, conducted interviews, and observed court proceedings across the state under the guidance of Associate Professor Emily Chiang. 

“Students in the Civil Rights Clinic (now known as the Public Policy Clinic) spent hours filing public information requests, analyzing the data collected, interviewing people with knowledge, and finally drafting and editing this report,” Chiang recounted. “I am incredibly proud of the work these 19 students have done and hope the clinic is able to help improve public defense services for Utahns across the state.”

The 90-page report titled “Failing Gideon: Utah’s Flawed County-By-County Public Defender System,” is described in an ACLU press release as “a comprehensive report documenting the state’s and counties’ chronic failures to fund or oversee trial-level public defender services in Utah.” The report is available here

Additionally, on August 25, the Deseret News interviewed Chiang, who said that without a minimum statewide standard, “You end up with a very uneven system and it results in some serious harm.”  The article, which also credits the efforts of College of Law students, is available here