Standards

A letter from David Carroll, director of research at NLADA, to Alabama Governor Bentley regarding proposed legislation to reform the state's right to counsel delivery system. Based largely on the need to adhere to national standards, the letter suggests many of the proposed changes within the bill would be solidified and improved upon by also establishing independence of the public defense function.

Author/Organization: David Carroll, NLADA
Publication Date: 05/09/2011

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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Local bar association proposes added independence for Monroe County NY public defender

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 12:01 PM

On May 9, 2011, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that the Monroe County Bar Association (Rochester, NY) presented the County Legislature with a set of recommendations to change the method by which the county’s public defender is selected.  Currently, the public defender is selected by direct appointment of the county legislature.  The proposal goes far toward compliance with national standards for the selection of the chief public defender.

A lack of independence in Georgia’s public defense system

BY Jon Mosher on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM

On May 4, 2011, the Associated Press reported new legislation was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal altering the composition of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.  The measure replaces “the current 15-member Georgia Public Defender Standards Council with nine new appointees tapped by the governor, the lieutenant governor and the House speaker. It also gives the director more power over whom the system hires.”

California county notes the value of a strong defense

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 10:54 AM

On April 26, the Daily Democrat featured a guest column demonstrating the value of public defenders from the county administration’s perspective.  The public defender’s office in Yolo County, California, “in addition to representing people individually, also provides a system of checks and balances on the criminal justice system as a whole.  It guarantees that no agency -- whether that be the District Attorney's Office or a police department -- is allowed to operate unchallenged and unquestioned.  The Constitution is very much a reaction to the events that came before it.”

Pennsylvania’s continuing struggles to meet Gideon’s promise

BY David Carroll on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Though the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires each of its counties to establish a public defender office, Pennsylvania remains one of only two states that have elected to delegate its entire right to counsel financial obligation under Gideon v. Wainwright and its progeny to its counties (Utah is the other).  Leaving counties responsible for administering and funding their criminal justice systems, and in particular indigent defense services, can put an undue hardship on local jurisdictions to ensure adequate representation of poor people accused with crimes.  Nationally, counties with fewer sources of revenue may have to dedicate a far greater portion of their limited budget to defender services than would counties in better economic standing. 

Gideon Alert: Philadelphia death penalty assigned counsel rates challenged

BY David Carroll on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 3:28 PM

On April 6, 2011, the Atlantic Center for Constitutional Representation (ACCR) filed a motion in four court-appointed death penalty cases arguing that the rate of attorney compensation Philadelphia County pays in capital cases is so low as to be unconstitutional, as reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The petition seeks one of two remedies: a) adequate compensation in each of the four cases, or b) not allowing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to seek the death penalty in each case.

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).

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.

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.

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