Summary: S.3144 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.3144. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (07/07/2016)

Equal Justice Under Law Act of 2016

This bill states that an indigent individual facing criminal prosecution or juvenile delinquency in a state court is entitled to the effective assistance of counsel, as guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, at the state's expense.

It authorizes a federal class action lawsuit against a state for its systemic failure to guarantee the right to effective assistance of counsel. The assistance of counsel is ineffective when a class of individuals demonstrates that counsel's performance was not reasonable under prevailing professional norms.

Additionally, the bill amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to modify the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program. Specifically, it requires a state or local government to consult with public defenders before distributing JAG funds to community organizations and local governments.