Public Defense Reform

Gideon Alert: Nevada reform stalls over definition of a "case"

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 9:21 AM

How many cases are too many?  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Nevada Supreme Court Indigent Defense Commission can’t get to the question because they are hung up on the definition of a “case.” 

The State of Nevada is experiencing an indigent defense crisis that negatively impacts the ability of the criminal courts to reach verdicts that are fair, correct, swift and final.  Though the Supreme Court is applauded for, among other things, creating uniform eligibility standards, removing the judiciary from direct oversight of indigent defense services, instituting attorney performance standards, and providing training on those standards, the crisis continues unabated due in large part to indigent defense providers carrying excessive caseloads beyond a level at which they can provide ethical representation to their clients.

Author/Organization: National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
Publication Date: 10/02/2009

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Gideon Alert: AG Holder & North Carolina; NY Governor Patterson's proposal for reform; American Constitution Society panel; and opinion pieces

BY David Carroll on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Over the past three days, a flurry of activity occurred on the indigent defense crisis at both the federal and state level. 

New York

Gideon Alert: Congressional summit offers federal recommendations to stem indigent defense crisis

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), chair of the United States House Judiciary Committee, and Rep.

In August 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union, The Brennan Center for Justice, The Constitution Project, The Innocence Project, NAACP-Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association filed a briefing paper with the United States House Judiciary, Sub-Committee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security detailing a multifaceted approach to stemming our nation's indigent defense crisis.  The paper presents recommendations around four themes: accountability, adherence to standards; adequate resources; and fairness.

Author/Organization: ACLU, Brennan Center, Constitution Project, Innocence Project, NAACP- Legal Defense & Education Fund, NACDL, and NLADA
Publication Date: 09/31/2009

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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Gideon Alert: Harris County TX struggles with independence in seeking state funds

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director William Sessions and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Charlie Baird strongly back the need for judges to be out of the business of overseeing indigent defense in an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle (June 9, 2010).&n

Gideon Alert: South Carolina Governor signs reform bill to stem ineffectively expensive over-incarceration of non-violent offenders

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 12:25 PM

On June 2, 2010, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford signed into law a sweeping sentencing reform bill that his press release states will “reverse the trend toward incarcerating non-violent criminals who pose little or no risk to the public, discourage recidivism by providing inmates with a more closely supervised transition to society once their sentences have been served, and at the same time save taxpayers more than $400 million over the next five years.”

Gideon Alert: Gulf oil spill mires Louisiana's right to counsel reforms

BY David Carroll on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 9:46 AM

The Louisiana legislature passed the Louisiana Public Defender Act of 2007 (“Act 307”) on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote with the expressed intent of ensuring that “all indigent criminal defendants who are eligible to have appointed counsel at public expense receive effective assistance of counsel at each critical stage of the proceeding,” and “t