Public Defense Reform

Gideon Alert: "Kids for Cash" Commission Report concludes Pennsylvania in the business of dispensing "Justice by Geography"

BY David Carroll on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 12:04 PM

On May 27, 2010, the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice delivered a scathing indictment of the Luzerne County “kids for cash” scandal, in which judges allegedly made millions of dollars in kick-backs for placing juvenile offenders into

Gideon Alert: Flagrant constitutional violations just a by-product of Utah’s Justice Courts’ revenue machine

BY David Carroll on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 9:39 AM

The Salt Lake City Weekly has published an excellent spotlight report on the problems of Utah’s Justice Courts (Nickled and Dimed by Utah Justice Courts, 5/27/2010).  There are 134 Justice Courts throughout Utah’s 29 counties, e

Gideon Alert: Michigan Civil Rights Commission resolution acknowledges failed defender systems as a civil rights issue

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM

On May 24, 2010, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission adopted a resolution stating unequivocally that the failing county indigent defense systems constitute a civil rights issue.  Interim Department of Civil Rights Director Dan Krichbaum (appointed aft

Michigan Civil Rights Commission resolution acknowledging indigent defense crisis and supporting reform consistent with State Bar of Michigan Eleven Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System.

Author/Organization: Michigan Civil Rights Commission
Publication Date: 05/24/2010

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Michigan Civil Rights Commission acknolwedges indigent defense crisis and officially supports reform and State Bar of Michigan Eleven Principles of Public Defense Delivery Systems.

Author/Organization: Michigan Civil Rights Commission
Publication Date: 05/24/2010

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Gideon Alert: Military build-up expected to make Guam public defender crisis worse

BY David Carroll on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Public defender services in Guam were formally created in 1968.  In 1975, legislation created the Public Defender Services Corporation (PDSC), an island-wide organization overseen by a board of trustees to assist low-income people with civil, criminal, and juvenile proceedings.  Through rule-making authority, the Board of PDSC has a power most public defenders in the c

As of May 2010, Harris County remains the most populous county in the United States that does not have a staffed public defender office. NLADA writes to commend the Harris County Board of Commissioners on their desire to enhance the current provision of services for indigent defendants in a manner that provides quality representation and fiscal predictability, as expressed in the 2011 Harris County Discretionary Grant Application Narrative. However, the structure of the proposed pilot office does not adequately address certain systemic deficiencies in public defense services that presently exist in Harris County and will fail to fully achieve the commission's laudable aims, as this letter details.

Author/Organization: National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
Publication Date: 05/20/2010

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Gideon Alert: New York Times highlights public defense crisis and the underfunding of legal services

BY David Carroll on Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:43 PM

A New York Times editorial on May 17, 2010 identifies the nexus between our nation’s deficient right to counsel systems and the failure of policymakers to address the underlying societal issues that increase the need for indigent defense services today.&nbsp

Between 2006 and 2008, NLADA conducted an assessment of the public defense services in ten upstate New York counties.  This is the report of the findings in Jefferson County, New York.

Author/Organization: National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
Publication Date: 04/2009

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Gideon Alert: Poor performance costs Washington defender $2.9 million; inexperience, high caseloads, and "trying one's best" are no excuse

BY David Carroll on Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:05 AM

On May 14, 2010, the Wenatchee World reported that a Chelan County public defender has agreed to pay a $2.9 million dollar settlement to a former client for admittedly providing ineffective assistance of counsel that led to the client’s wrongful