Standards

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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Gideon Alert: National Association of Counties calls for improved public defense services

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

On January 19, 2011, the National Association of Counties (NACo) called upon the United States Department of Justice to assist rural counties in overcoming systemic deficiencies that prevent them from meeting the states’ obligation to provide constitutionally-mandated indigent defense services.  Founded in 1935, NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States and provides essential services to America’s 3,068 counties.  In their press release, NACo recommends funding pilot public defender programs to serve multi-county jurisdictions, while reminding counties of NACo’s policy that public defenders be active participants in all criminal justice planning at the local level.

In October 2008, the Rural Sub-Committee of the Nevada Supreme Court Task Force on Indigent Defense formally filed this report with the Nevada Supreme Court.  The report concludes that the members of the rural sub-committee (judges, defense attorneys, county managers, and others) “firmly and unanimously believes that it the responsibility of the State of Nevada to fully fund indigent defense throughout the state, in accordance with Gideon, in order to ensure that each citizen of Nevada, regardless of where they live, is afforded the full equal protection of the law when accessed of a crime.

Author/Organization: Nevada Supreme Court Indigent Defense Commission Rural Sub-Committee
Publication Date: 10/2008

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The inadequacy of indigent defense systems in Nevada became a primary focus of the Nevada Supreme Court Task Force for the Study of Racial and Economic Bias in the Justice System (Task Force). In 1997, the Task Force issued a report that found there was inadequate financial support of public defender offices throughout the state to ensure quality representation. The Task Force’s Implementation Committee received technical assistance under a joint grant from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the ABA’s Bar Information Program to make recommendations for sustainable improvement to indigent defense services. The DOJ/ABA report concluded, among other things, that: (1) indigent defendants throughout the state of Nevada are not afforded equal justice; (2) the state indigent defense system is in crisis; and (3) workload issues among public defenders have resulted in expedited procedures that jeopardize defendants’ rights.

Author/Organization: The Spangenberg Group
Publication Date: 12/2000

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Gideon Alert: MA Governor proposes disbanding statewide defender commission

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM

On January 24, 2011, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick proposed sweeping changes to the delivery of indigent defense services in the state.  Changes include abolishing the existing independent commission that oversees the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) and creating a new public defender department under the executive branch.  The Governor would also end CPCS’ primary reliance on the private bar and instead provide most services through full-time staffed public defender offices.  Under the Governor’s plan, the new department would also be responsible for conducting eligibility screening and collecting fees from indigent clients for services.

The state appellate court granted class action status to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s landmark lawsuit, Hurrell-Harring et al v. State of New York, charging New York State with failing its constitutional duty to provide effective counsel to poor New Yorkers accused of crimes. The unanimous ruling by the Appellate Division, Third Department reverses a lower court’s decision to deny the NYCLU’s motion for class certification.

Author/Organization: State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department
Publication Date: 01/06/2011

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