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Lawsuits demanding that poor people get their right to counsel are spreading across the country. Not able to depend on statistics-laden pitches to state and local authorities for needed indigent defense funds, public interest organizations and pro bono lawyers have increasingly turned to the courts for injunctive relief. Most are civil rights suits and most are class actions. All are inspired by Gideon v. Wainright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), and its progeny, which mandate that indigents get qualified and competent representation. Suits are pending in state courts in Washington, Pennsylvania, Montana, Mississippi, Massachusetts and Louisiana, where a suit was filed just last month. Numerous suits in Georgia, as well as in Connecticut, Michigan and New York have already been resolved. The lawsuits contain some or all of these allegations:

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