Bruce A. Green

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"What can courts, legislators, or criminal defense lawyers themselves do to seriously change criminal defense practice in a manner that significantly benefits criminal defendants and promotes justice?" That question was posed to the participants in an August 2017 SEALS discussion group and Mercer University School of Law's 2017 Symposium on "disruptive innovation in criminal defense." The implied premise of the question is that aspects of criminal defense should be fixed or can be improved-and in radical ways.

The question of disruptive innovation provides an occasion for identifying deficiencies and weaknesses in contemporary criminal defense practice, and because defense lawyers do not work in isolation, deficiencies in the criminal process as it relates to criminal defense representation. The question presents a challenge to think "outside the box"-even if unrealistically, fancifully, idealistically, or hopefully.

In that spirit, this Article proposes the following innovation: Criminal defendants who have a right to appointed counsel should be assigned two defense lawyers who would interact with each other, the client, and others, but who would serve essentially different functions.

While the typical legal academic writing starts with a problem and builds up to a proposed solution, this one reverses the order. It begins in Part II by outlining the proposal to divide the criminal defense function between two lawyers. Then, Parts III and IV identify the problems addressed by, and the anticipated objections to, this innovation. Part V concludes with some thoughts about the utility of the analysis, fanciful though it may initially seem to be.