Defender

Adopted in February 2002, the American Bar Association's Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System distill the existing voluminous ABA standards for public defense systems to their most basic elements, which officials and policymakers can readily review and apply.  In the words of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, the Ten Principles “constitute the fundamental criteria to be met for a public defense delivery system to deliver effective and efficient, high quality, ethical, conflict-free representation to accused persons who cannot afford to hire an attorney.”  Our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, has called the ABA Ten Principles the “building blocks” of a functioning public defense system.

Author/Organization:
Publication Date: 2010

All who work in public defense know there is a problem -- we call it the "indigent defense crisis."  In 2002, NLADA established the Justice Standards, Evaluation and Research Initiative (JSERI) in order to concretely evaluate the depth and breadth of both successes and difficulties in indigent defense representation throughout the country, providing a measurement of public defense services against national standards.  JSERI's protocol for evaluation of any system combines a review of the jurisdiction's budgetary, caseload, and organizational information with site visits to observe courtroom practice and interviews of all key criminal justice system stakeholders and policymakers.

Author/Organization:
Publication Date: 02/19/2010

Gideon Alert: New Mexico Voters Approve Independence of Public Defender

BY on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Among the recent election results, the passage of a Constitutional Amendment in New Mexico stands as a significant milestone in public defense reform.  The state is now in compliance with Principle #1 of the ABA Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System – that the “public defense function, including the selection, funding, and payment of defense counsel, is independent.”

Gideon Alert: High Court Focuses on the Right to Effective Counsel in Plea Bargaining

BY Edwin A. Burnette on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The meaning of the Sixth Amendment’s promise of “effective counsel” has taken on additional dimensions over the past few weeks. On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions exploring the right to effective assistance of counsel during plea bargaining. In Missouri v.

 The juvenile justice system in Kentucky has endured a substantial history of problems concerning its treatment of juvenile offenders and the lack of systemic advocacy and focused reform efforts. After years of public criticism, media attention, litigation challenging the conditions in Kentucky’s juvenile facilities, lack of access to the effective assistance of counsel and to the courts, and failure to provide adequate treatment, Kentucky officials began the long road to institutional change by the second half of the 1990’s. The creation of the Department of Juvenile Justice, the commitment of Governor Patton to help fix a broken juvenile justice system, and the Kentucky legislature’s move to invest millions of new dollars into these initiatives were the beginning.

Author/Organization: American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center
Publication Date: 09/2002

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Gideon Alert: Michigan takes first steps to fulfilling Gideon’s promise

BY David Carroll on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 4:12 PM

On October 13, 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder issued Executive Order No. 2011-12 establishing an Indigent Defense Advisory Commission (Commission).  The Commission is charged to make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for statewide “improvements to the system of providing legal representation for indigent criminal defendants.”  The recommendations from the 14-member, bi-partisan Commission must ensure that: “indigent defense is free from undue political interference and conflicts of interest;” “the right to counsel is delivered by effective counsel at each critical stage of the proceedings in a manner that is consistent throughout the state;” and, “government-funded criminal defense lawyers are sufficiently trained and supervised, appropriately qualified, and adequately compensated.”  The Commission must meet their charge in a manner that is fiscally responsible and cost-effective, while being “responsive to jurisdictional variances and local community needs.” Findings and recommendations are due to the Legislature and Governor no later than July 15, 2012.

 David Carroll's statement regarding the news of Michigan Gov. Snyder's Executive Order 2011-12 creating an Indigent Defense Advisory Commission.

Author/Organization: David Carroll, NLADA
Publication Date: 10/13/2011

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Ruling in Zarabia v. Bradshaw that “[i]t is impermissible for the presiding judge, in wholesale fashion, to transfer the public's constitutional obligation to pay the financial cost of indigent defense to the county's private lawyers,”  the Arizona Supreme Court reaffirmed that the principles expounded in State v. Joe U. Smith were the appropriate standard for gauging the effectiveness of a right to counsel system. 

Author/Organization: Arizona Supreme Court
Publication Date: 1996

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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A memo from the Washoe County District Attorney and County Manager's Office to the County Commission in advance of its August 9, 2011 meeting.  The memo recommends the County Commission approve the proposed contract for public defense services with Washoe Legal Services. Under the contract, the civil legal aid office would provide representation for an annual flat fee to indigent criminal defendants in the County's early case resolution (ECR) program.

Author/Organization: Washoe County District Attorney & County Manager's Office
Publication Date: 07/28/2011

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Gideon Alert: Nevada DA seeks way around court-ordered performance guidelines

BY David Carroll on Monday, August 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM

On August 9th, 2011, the Washoe County (Reno) District Attorney will ask the County Board to contract with Washoe Legal Services (WLS) to provide representation to criminal defendants in a reinstituted early case resolution (ECR) program.  The proposed contract is for WLS to handle every ECR case for a single flat fee of $80,000 with no extra funds set aside for investigations.