Alaska Justice Forum _
Alaska Justice Forum 19(3), Fall 2002
A look at the availability of legal services in Alaska for those with low incomes as of 2002. For rural Alaskans, criminal defense representation was still primarily a function of the Public Defender and Office of Public Advocacy, since very few attorneys in rural Alaska practice criminal law. Civil legal services were being provided by a patchwork of grant-funded agencies such as Alaska Legal Services, whose funding is often tied to federal legislation-and political currents. The article also discusses pro bono work of various agencies.
This article looks at the various approaches to criminal defense services for low income defendants throughout the U.S. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 1999 state government in 21 states provided 90 percent of the funding for indigent defense. In 11 of these, including Alaska, the state provided 100 percent of the funding. In the other 29 states funding came from differing combinations of state and county sources. In one state, Alabama, court fees funded indigent defense.