“Lawyers are a notoriously difficult bunch to study,” the legal historian Lawrence Friedman has observed. “They do not like to be examined too closely. They also insist that everything they do for their clients is confidential. They have a point, of course; but this also provides much useful cover.”1 Friedman’s observations ring doubly true of public defenders, who provide legal representation for indigent criminal defendants. Their archives are often spotty, with organizational records scattered across collections of personal papers rather than in an official repository. And even after piecing together the careers and perspectives of defenders themselves, it can be nearly impossible to discern how they interacted with, and were viewed by, their clients. Yet to fully understand how criminal law has changed over time in the United States, historians will need to continue strategizing ways through and around these difficulties. In particular, as historians continue to investigate and...
The Defender: The Battle to Protect the Rights of the Accused in Philadelphia
Sara Mayeux; The Defender: The Battle to Protect the Rights of the Accused in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 13 October 2023; 90 (4): 642–644. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/pennhistory.90.4.0642
Download citation file: