Indigent Defense System

Gideon Alert: Facing an $18M indigent defense deficit, Iowa can no longer afford its current criminal justice system

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 2:56 PM

The Iowa State Public Defender is a 100% state-funded, statewide agency.  Though the majority of indigent defense services are provided by staffed public defenders, the State Public Defender contracts with private attorneys to provide representation in areas not covered by staff attorneys and to handle overload of the primary system.  On March 4, 2011 the State Public Defender posted a message on its website that the indigent defense fund used to pay private and contract attorneys was out of money.  More than a month later, lawyers are still not being paid to represent indigent clients.  

Gideon Alert: North Carolina prosecutors cry foul over disparate funding

BY David Carroll on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM

On March 30, 2011, North Carolina prosecutors made a PowerPoint presentation to the state legislature claiming to be out-resourced by the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS).  Asserting that IDS attorneys only handle half of the total criminal caseload handled by prosecutors yet outspend the district attorneys by nearly 43.5% ($132 million to $92 million), one district attorney was quoted in the Progressive Pulse as saying, “We’re outspent and outgunned every day in the courtroom.” (Full PowerPoint presentation is available here. Please note the presentation contains autopsy photos some may find inappropriate).

Gideon Alert: Budget deal threatens to gut New York indigent defense efforts before they begin

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

In his February 15, 2011 State of the Judicary speech, New York's Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman quoted a Commission finding that "New York's indigent defense system is severely dysfunctional and structurally incapable of providing poor defendants with effective legal representation."  "Fortunately," he continued, "there is finally cause for optimism thanks to the Legislature's historic creation last June of an Indigent Legal Services Board and a State Office of Indigent Legal Services, the ILS Office."  This week, a budget deal was struck slashing in half the budget for that new office, as reported in a March 28, 2011 press release from the Justice Fund and on March 29 by the North Country Gazette.  The budget compromise was reached after a Senate proposal to eliminate the newly formed office altogether.  (The Senate proposal was an earlier iteration -- S2807-B -- of the bill that is now S2807-C.)

National standards for the provision of indigent defense representation provide the best yardstick for measuring the extent to which clients receive the representation guaranteed to them by the Sixth Amendment. (See Standards for the Delivery of Public Defense Services.) These national standards are generally of two types: (1) attorney performance standards, which set out the specifics of what each attorney should do in representing each client; and (2) systemic or structural standards, which establish the specifics of the defense system in which each attorney works. Here we have listed all of the pertinent standards, divided into these two categories. In some instances a single publication addresses both attorney performance and system; in those cases the publication is listed under both categories.

Author/Organization: Jon Mosher
Publication Date: 03/29/2011

New Article: A Quick Guide to National Standards for Indigent Defense

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 12:00 AM

From time to time, NLADA will publish an in-depth explanation of a particular topic, concept, or standard related to indigent defense services.  Today, we have posted one such article: A Quick Guide to National Standards for Indigent Defense.

Trial-level right to counsel systems and the ethical obligations of indigent defense attorneys

BY on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 4:52 PM

"Ethical Obligations of Indigent Defense Attorneys to Their Clients" provides a basic introduction to the provision of indigent defense services in courts throughout the country and the ethical obligations of the attorney who provide these services.

This Article, published at 75 Mo.L.Rev. 715, is a basic introduction to the provision of indigent defense services in state courts throughout the country and the ethical obligations of the attorneys who provide those services.  First, the Article briefly quantifies what currently exists in our right to counsel systems -- what we know, and what we do not know.  The Article then discusses the rules that generally govern the ethics of representation provided by indigent defense attorneys.  Third, the Article examines the measures by which attorneys can know whether they are fulfilling and will continue to fulfill their ethical obligations.  Finally, the Article discusses the responsibilities of the broader justice system to ensure ethical representation of indigent defendants and why that goal is rarely achieved. 

Author/Organization: Phyllis E. Mann
Publication Date: 2010

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.

FLAG THIS CONTENT

AG Holder addresses juvenile representation before National Association of Counties convention

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM

On March 7, US Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the National Association of Counties at its legislative conference in Washington DC, focusing his remarks on the failure of state and local juvenile justice policies to address the underlying causes of delinquent behavior by children.  Often, the methods our justice systems maintain to punish youthful offenders – especially those accused of lesser offenses – result in increasingly poor behavior.  As a result, he argues, our communities are less safe, not more.

On March 8, NLADA research director David Carroll conducted a national webinar on behalf of, the DOJ/BJA’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC). While state policymakers work to construct indigent defense systems that meet basic foundational national standards, prudent use of taxpayer dollars requires that they concurrently decrease the need for public defense attorneys by removing non-violent, low-level felonies and misdemeanors from the formal justice system through diversion and/or reclassification of crimes to infractions where it is safe, reasonable and prudent to do so. The presentation explores the state of the right to counsel in America, offers insight into current national standards, and presents practical solutions to public defense problems that threaten our courts' abilities to produce verdicts that are fair, correct, swift and final. The hour-long webinar includes a 40-min presentation followed by 20 mins of questions and answers.

Author/Organization: David Carroll, NLADA
Publication Date: 03/08/2011

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.

FLAG THIS CONTENT

Independence in New Mexico revisited

BY Jon Mosher on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 10:26 AM

In a March 5th editorial, the Albuquerque Journal (subscription required) called for the New Mexico public defender system to be overseen by an independent commission.  New Mexico has a statewide, state-funded indigent defense system that provides services through a combination of staffed public defender offices and contract attorneys.  As we wrote in our February 28 Gideon Alert on the matter: “The dismissal of the public defender is expected with the election of a new governor because New Mexico’s chief public defender is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor, rather than through a non-partisan public defense commission as required by national standards including ABA Principle 1.”