TASK FORCE TO STUDY IMPLEMENTING A CIVIL RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN MARYLAND

Robert R. Neall, Chair (chosen by Chief Judge, Court of Appeals)

Appointed by Governor: Susan M. Erlichman, Esq.; Katherine Kelly Howard, Esq.; Stephen H. Sachs, Esq.

Appointed by Senate President: Richard S. Madaleno; Robert A. Zirkin; one vacancy.

Appointed by House Speaker: Kathleen M. Dumais; Guy J. Guzzone; Samuel I. Rosenberg.

Appointed by Chief Judge, Court of Appeals: John P. Morrissey; Robert R. Neall; Irma S. Raker.

Staff: Pamela C. Ortiz, Esq.

c/o Maryland Access to Justice Commission
Judiciary Education & Conference Center, 2011 E/F Commerce Park Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 260-1258; fax: (410) 260-3560
e-mail: pamela.ortiz@mdcourts.gov
web: www.mdcourts.gov/mdatjc/taskforcecivilcounsel/index.html

In October 2013, the Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland was authorized (Chapter 35, Acts of 2013).

The Task Force studied whether low-income Marylanders should have the right to counsel at public expense in cases involving basic human needs, such as shelter, sustenance, safety, health, or child custody. To this end, the Task Force reviewed and evaluated reports on the civil right to counsel, including the report on this subject by the Maryland Access to Justice Commission. Resources available to assist in providing counsel to low-income Marylanders were considered and the unmet need assessed, as was the resulting burden on the court system, and the stress on other public resources. Moreover, the Task Force considered alternatives to the civil right to counsel for the underserved citizenry of the State, and the operation of the court system.

In October 2014, the Task Force submitted its report to the Governor, the Senate President, the House Speaker, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee.

Authorization for the Task Force ended September 30, 2014.

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