Mandating Justice: Naranjo v. Thompson as a Solution for Unequal Access to Representation

B. Schnorrenberg, Sarah

This Note discusses the potential impact of the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Naranjo and evaluates whether it could be an effective means of reducing the justice gap that low-income Americans face. Part I provides a background to the federal case law on mandated appointments and courts’ inherent authority and details the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Naranjo. Part II weighs potential strengths and weaknesses of using Naranjo to provide lawyers for indigent parties. It also examines recent cases in the Fifth Circuit that cite Naranjo to determine if a trajectory to the case law surrounding Naranjo has emerged. Finally, in Part III, this Note argues that Naranjo could play an important role in addressing gaps to traditional methods of providing counsel to indigent parties. It also argues that Naranjo could be more effective at ensuring justice if the Fifth Circuit slightly revises its approach to granting counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).


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Columbia Human Rights Law Review

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May 5, 2022