Indigent Defense System

Tribal courts plan for public defense, as they take jurisdiction over felonies

BY Phyllis E. Mann on Monday, January 31, 2011 at 1:25 PM

As reported by KUOW radio out of Seattle, Washington, tribal courts are gearing up to take jurisdiction over felonies with authority to sentence people to jail for up to three years.  But to do so, public defense attorneys will have to be provided to those who cannot afford their own counsel. 

Is one model of delivering right to counsel services inherently superior?

BY Jon Mosher on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 5:05 PM

From time to time, NLADA will publish a more in-depth explanation of a particular topic, concept, or standard. Today, we have posted one such article: Understanding the debate about full-time public defender offices or appointment of private attorneys.

No one public defense delivery model is inherently better than another.  In fact, almost every jurisdiction, whether organized by state or county, uses a mixture of delivery systems to provide all of the representation that is required.  There are three basic forms of delivering indigent defense representation:

Author/Organization: Phyllis E. Mann
Publication Date: 01/28/2011

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

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In 2008, the Office of the Public Defender for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, providing indigent defense services for Miami-Dade County, was engaged in litigation regarding excessive caseloads.  This Resolution was issued in connection with that litigation.

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 06/05/2008

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In 2008, the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy and the Louisville and Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation were engaged in litigation regarding excessive caseloads in their indigent defense systems.  The ACCD issued this Resolution in connection with that litigation.

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 07/22/2008

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The Best Practices Committee of the American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD) prepared this report to assist administrators of systems that provide representation to indigent defendants by assigning private attorneys.  Recognizing that the American Bar Association's (ABA) Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System (2002) is a concise summary of best practices for indigent defense systems, the report discusses how these principles apply to assigned counsel systems. 

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 09/13/2010

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In 2003, the American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD) addressed the ethical duties of chief executive officers in indigent defense systems when faced with excessive caseloads. This is the Ethics Opinion issued, which concludes: "A chief executive of an agency providing public defense services is ethically prohibited from accepting a number of cases which exceeds the capacity of the agency's attorneys to provide competent, quality representation in every case."

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 04/2003

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On August 24, 2007, the American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD) approved a resolution endorsing a report of the ACCD's Caseload Task Force, reaffirming the validity of public defender caseload limit recommendations first set out in 1973 by the National Advisory Commission (NAC) on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. 

By this letter, the ACCD conveyed its policy positions to the American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defense (ABA-SCLAID).

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 02/08/2008

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