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52 U. Louisville L. Rev. Online 46 (2013)
The History of the Right to Counsel for the Indigent Accused in Kentucky
Robert C. Ewald, Daniel T. Goyette, Erwin W. Lewis, Edward C. Monahan*

The history of the provision and assistance of counsel in our Commonwealth is a long and tortuous one. Reviewing that history elucidates the social and moral meaning of the fundamental right to counsel and its importance to our justice system. It also provides perspective on the indigent defense system that exists today throughout the Commonwealth, and serves as a means of encouraging improvement and energizing further progress.

* Robert C. Ewald, Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, has chaired the Board of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation since its inception in 1971, and has been a member of the Public Advocacy Commission since 1990, serving as its chair from 1993–2010. He was president of the KBA in 2006–07. Daniel T. Goyette joined the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender’s Office as a trial attorney in 1974 and is now in his 30th year as its Executive Director. Erwin W. Lewis began his career as a public defender in 1977 and served as the Public Advocate for 12 years from 1996–2008. Edward C. Monahan is currently in his second term as Kentucky’s Public Advocate, having started with the Kentucky public defender program in 1975. A version of this article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Bench & Bar magazine, published by the Kentucky Bar Association, and it is reprinted in its current form with the permission of the authors and the KBA. Robert C. Ewald, Daniel T. Goyette, Erwin Lewis & Edward C. Monahan, The History of the Right to Counsel for the Indigent Accused in Kentucky, 77 BENCH & BAR, no. 2, March 2013, available at