Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Michèle Alexandre

Relational Format



The United States Constitution awards its citizens rights that many other countries do not. One such right is the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial along with the assistance of counsel. Since the Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright, the responsibility of providing effective counsel has been pushed on each state. States throughout the nation have fragmented systems of indigent defense that fail to meet their responsibility, and thus many citizens have been denied their Sixth Amendment rights. For many decades, this denial of a constitutional right has been a topic of discussion. Some states have taken steps to remedy their indigent defense systems, while in others it is still a point of contention. All but a token few of the states have implemented a statewide indigent defense system that has proven to remedy the initial problem. The state of Mississippi, on the other hand, has continued to use a broken county-based indigent defense system despite the protest from attorneys and legal organizations alike. This work explores the consequences the Mississippi has faced due to its dismissal of the need for a change in the system. Arkansas will be used as a reference state for which Mississippi could follow suit. Though Arkansas shares many characteristics with Mississippi, it has had a statewide indigent defense system in place for over ten years. Evidence presented in this work proves the effectiveness of Arkansas' indigent defense system and how it can be used as model for Mississippi. The evidence will additionally be used to justify why Mississippi can and should implement a statewide indigent defense system.

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