Pro Bono News
‘How Is That Equal Justice for All?’ Mother Jailed for Contempt Highlights Scarcity of Civil Legal Aid (WI) (Video)
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
‘How Is That Equal Justice for All?’ Mother Jailed for Contempt Highlights Scarcity of Civil Legal Aid
"RACINE — The U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to an attorney, but only if you're accused of a crime.
Efforts to extend that right to some civil cases have run into roadblocks in Madison.
Whether it's evictions or custody battles, divorce or domestic violence, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites are navigating the civil legal system on their own, but when a bipartisan effort to get more legal help for the poor died a quiet death, almost no one said a word.
It's hard enough to navigate the court system on your own. It's even harder to do it from behind bars.
"'Until today, I had no end in sight," said Sarah Sheppard, just moments after walking out of the Racine County Jail on April 24.
For nine months, Sheppard sat in jail with no legal help. In a video interview from the jail, Sheppard told the FOX6 Investigators the court declined to appoint an attorney for her, even though her personal freedom was at stake..."