How Did Clara Foltz's Experiences as a Woman Lawyer and Suffragist Influence Her Conception of a Public Defender for Those Accused of Crime, 1878-1913?
Clara Foltz (1848-1934), one of the first women lawyers in the United States, was the first person to propose a public defender and launch a movement based on the radical idea that the state should provide a defense for those it accuses. The idea originated in her experiences as a trial lawyer facing unfair prosecutors and a woman seeking professional recognition. From the suffrage movement, Foltz drew arguments, opportunities, and comrades. This project examines Foltz's rise to prominence in the legal profession and her campaign for a public defender. It concludes with the enactment of the first such office in Los Angeles shortly after women won the vote in California in 1911.