County Defender System

Addressing representatives of U.S. county governments, David Carroll stated: "Prudent use of taxpayer dollars requires that we all work together to get state policy-makers to reduce the need for public defense attorneys in the first place by removing non-violent, low level felonies and misdemeanors from the formal justice system through diversion, mediation and/or reclassification of crimes to non-jailable infractions where it is safe, reasonable and prudent to do so.  It is only through reducing our dependence on public defense that we will ever be able to get states to relieve counties of this financial burden once and for all."

Author/Organization: National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
Publication Date: 01/20/2011

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San Francisco defenders demonstrate the importance of zealous advocacy

BY Jon Mosher on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Our American system of justice presumes that law enforcement officials are human, and thus fallible.  Despite the overall dedication and professionalism of the hundreds of thousands of citizens employed in the police and prosecution functions in this country, it is simply impossible to always arrest and prosecute the right defendant for the right crime in every single instance.  If errorless law enforcement existed, there would be no need for a jury of one’s peers to weigh the evidence in a case before an impartial judge.

In 2008, the Board of Commissioners of Cook County was threatening to (and ultimately did) fire the chief Public Defender for the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, which provides indigent defense services in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois.  Because it was perceived that the Public Defender was threatened with firing due to his efforts to comply with national standards for indigent defense systems and services, this Resolution was issued. 

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 05/02/2008

Items contained in the NLADA Library do not and are not meant to constitute advice of any kind. Content in the NLADA Library is contributed by users. If you believe this material infringes your or any other person’s copyright or if you feel that the material is inappropriate, please report this to NLADA Staff by clicking below.

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Gideon Alert: National Association of Counties calls for improved public defense services

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

On January 19, 2011, the National Association of Counties (NACo) called upon the United States Department of Justice to assist rural counties in overcoming systemic deficiencies that prevent them from meeting the states’ obligation to provide constitutionally-mandated indigent defense services.  Founded in 1935, NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States and provides essential services to America’s 3,068 counties.  In their press release, NACo recommends funding pilot public defender programs to serve multi-county jurisdictions, while reminding counties of NACo’s policy that public defenders be active participants in all criminal justice planning at the local level.

In October 2008, the Rural Sub-Committee of the Nevada Supreme Court Task Force on Indigent Defense formally filed this report with the Nevada Supreme Court.  The report concludes that the members of the rural sub-committee (judges, defense attorneys, county managers, and others) “firmly and unanimously believes that it the responsibility of the State of Nevada to fully fund indigent defense throughout the state, in accordance with Gideon, in order to ensure that each citizen of Nevada, regardless of where they live, is afforded the full equal protection of the law when accessed of a crime.

Author/Organization: Nevada Supreme Court Indigent Defense Commission Rural Sub-Committee
Publication Date: 10/2008

Items contained in the NLADA Library do not and are not meant to constitute advice of any kind. Content in the NLADA Library is contributed by users. If you believe this material infringes your or any other person’s copyright or if you feel that the material is inappropriate, please report this to NLADA Staff by clicking below.

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TX County Looks to Cut Indigent Defense Costs

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Like so many counties across the nation, Montgomery County, Texas, is looking to cut its expenses. According to the Conroe Courier, a member of the local judiciary suggests looking to indigent defense to cut costs.  The county currently operates under an assigned counsel model for adult criminal cases, with judges approving attorney vouchers. Juvenile cases are handled under contract with three private attorneys at a $175,000 flat annual fee.

Gideon Alert: Ignoring the 6th Amendment in Broward County, Florida Municipal Courts

BY David Carroll on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

It is an all too common occurrence for misdemeanor courts in the United States to pressure people charged with misdemeanors into waiving their right to counsel without adequately informing them of the consequences of doing so.  Courts defend such practices as an attempt to expedite the processing of cases and save money, but the Sixth Amendment does not allow this type of shortcut.  And, the consequences for unrepresented people can be severe, such as loss of public housing, deportation, inability to serve in the armed forces, ineligibility for student loans, and significant financial penalties.

Letter from the Broward County (Florida) Chief Public Defender to the Chief Judge of the 17th Circuit Court regarding the need for appointment of counsel for defendants in municipal court cases facing a potential loss of liberty.

Author/Organization: Howard Finkelstein, Broward County Public Defender
Publication Date: 01/06/2011

Items contained in the NLADA Library do not and are not meant to constitute advice of any kind. Content in the NLADA Library is contributed by users. If you believe this material infringes your or any other person’s copyright or if you feel that the material is inappropriate, please report this to NLADA Staff by clicking below.

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Letter from the Broward County (Florida) Public Defender to the Fort Lauderdale City Manager regarding the "Defense of Indigents Charged with Violating County or Municipal Ordinances."

Author/Organization: Howard Finkelstein, Broward County Public Defender
Publication Date: 03/22/2007

Items contained in the NLADA Library do not and are not meant to constitute advice of any kind. Content in the NLADA Library is contributed by users. If you believe this material infringes your or any other person’s copyright or if you feel that the material is inappropriate, please report this to NLADA Staff by clicking below.

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The state appellate court granted class action status to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s landmark lawsuit, Hurrell-Harring et al v. State of New York, charging New York State with failing its constitutional duty to provide effective counsel to poor New Yorkers accused of crimes. The unanimous ruling by the Appellate Division, Third Department reverses a lower court’s decision to deny the NYCLU’s motion for class certification.

Author/Organization: State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department
Publication Date: 01/06/2011

Items contained in the NLADA Library do not and are not meant to constitute advice of any kind. Content in the NLADA Library is contributed by users. If you believe this material infringes your or any other person’s copyright or if you feel that the material is inappropriate, please report this to NLADA Staff by clicking below.

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