JSERI Blog Archives

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gideon Alert: Budget deal threatens to gut New York indigent defense efforts before they begin

In his February 15, 2011 State of the Judicary speech, New York's Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman quoted a Commission finding that "New York's indigent defense system is severely dysfunctional and structurally incapable of providing poor defendants with effective legal representation."  "Fortunately," he continued, "there is finally cause for optimism thanks to the Legislature's historic creation last June of an Indigent Legal Services Board and a State Office of Indigent Legal Services, the ILS Office."  This week, a budget deal was struck slashing in half the budget for that new office, as reported in a March 28, 2011 press release from the Justice Fund and on March 29 by the North Country Gazette.  The budget compromise was reached after a Senate proposal to eliminate the newly formed office altogether.  (The Senate proposal was an earlier iteration -- S2807-B -- of the bill that is now S2807-C.)

POSTED BY at
11:31 AM
Monday, March 28, 2011

New Article: A Quick Guide to National Standards for Indigent Defense

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.

POSTED BY at
11:00 PM
Thursday, March 24, 2011

High Court hears arguments on right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings with possible jail time

On March 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Turner v. Rogers – a case squarely addressing whether an indigent person can be jailed on civil contempt without being given a lawyer to represent him.  Michael Turner served a year in prison when he was held in contempt by a South Carolina court for failing to timely pay child support, but he had to represent himself in court and had no lawyer to represent him.

POSTED BY at
11:23 AM
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trial-level right to counsel systems and the ethical obligations of indigent defense attorneys

"Ethical Obligations of Indigent Defense Attorneys to Their Clients" provides a basic introduction to the provision of indigent defense services in courts throughout the country and the ethical obligations of the attorney who provide these services.

POSTED BY
at
3:52 PM
Thursday, March 10, 2011

AL Chief Justice echoes call for criminal justice reform

On March 8, Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb delivered the annual State of the Judiciary address, in which she urged the legislature to end the state's overreliance on incarceration of non-violent offenders. "[W]e must lock up violent and serious offenders for lengthy sentences so they cannot continue to harm innocent people.  However, where nonviolent offenders are concerned, there is an alternative to the costly cycle of crime, incarceration, and reoffending.  We need to be certain we are locking up those of whom we are afraid – not just those with whom we are mad."

POSTED BY at
4:52 PM
Thursday, March 10, 2011

AG Holder addresses juvenile representation before National Association of Counties convention

On March 7, US Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the National Association of Counties at its legislative conference in Washington DC, focusing his remarks on the failure of state and local juvenile justice policies to address the underlying causes of delinquent behavior by children.  Often, the methods our justice systems maintain to punish youthful offenders – especially those accused of lesser offenses – result in increasingly poor behavior.  As a result, he argues, our communities are less safe, not more.

POSTED BY at
4:02 PM
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Watch the BJA Webinar on the Right to Counsel

For those who missed the March 8 webinar, "The Right to Counsel: Standards & Solutions in a Downturned Economy," fret not ... We have posted the webinar onto our website, and you can watch it in its entirety here.  The webinar was presented by NLADA's research director David Carroll, on behalf of the USDOJ/BJA's National Training and Technical Assistance Center.

POSTED BY at
5:03 PM
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Independence in New Mexico revisited

In a March 5th editorial, the Albuquerque Journal (subscription required) called for the New Mexico public defender system to be overseen by an independent commission.  New Mexico has a statewide, state-funded indigent defense system that provides services through a combination of staffed public defender offices and contract attorneys.  As we wrote in our February 28 Gideon Alert on the matter: “The dismissal of the public defender is expected with the election of a new governor because New Mexico’s chief public defender is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor, rather than through a non-partisan public defense commission as required by national standards including ABA Principle 1.”

POSTED BY at
10:26 AM
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Crime Report studies the impact of holistic representation on defender clients

On March 8, the Crime Report ran a well-rounded article on holistic representation: “Can the ‘Holistic Approach’ Solve The Crisis in Public Defense?”  We don’t have much to add, other than to suggest the article is worth checking out.

POSTED BY at
3:59 PM
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Follow Gideon Alerts on Facebook and Twitter

NLADA's Justice Standards, Evaluation and Research Initiative (JSERI) -- the people behind the Gideon Alerts blog -- are on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there!

Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gideon-Alerts/167411639975042?sk=wall

POSTED BY
at
3:41 PM
Friday, March 4, 2011

Gideon Alert: NJ Gov’s dismissal of state public defender sparks debate over independence

On March 3, the Newark Star-Ledger published an editorial on the New Jersey governor’s recent decision to remove the current chief public defender, Yvonne Smith Segars, and nominate a new candidate for the state senate’s approval.  New Jersey has a statewide, state-funded indigent defense system that provides direct services primarily through regional staffed public defender offices.  The state’s chief public defender, who oversees all right to counsel services in the state, is appointed by the governor with approval of the senate.

POSTED BY at
1:00 PM