Attorney General Eric Holder keynotes DOJ National Symposium on Indigent Defense

The Department of Justice held its National Symposium on Indigent Defense: Looking Back, Looking Forward, 2000-2010, in Washington, D.C. on February 18-19, 2010 -- the first such federal Symposium in 10 years.  Attorney General Eric Holder gave the keynote address, identifying three areas of focus for the Department of Justice: commitment to an ongoing dialogue; raising awareness; and expanding the role of the public defender.  He said: "In the coming weeks, we will take concrete steps to make access to justice a permanent part of the work of the Department of Justice, with a focused effort by our leadership offices to ensure the issue gets the attention it deserves.  Government must be a part of the solution -- not simply by acting as a convener but also by serving as a collaborator." 

The Symposium opened with remarks by Professor Charles Ogletree and Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson.  Following the keynote address by Attorney General Holder was the first Plenary session on Fulfilling the Promise of Counsel.  You can view the full morning video here, courtesy of C-Span.  The afternoon continued with the second Plenary session on Innovations in Juvenile Defense Reform.  You can view the video of the afternoon plenary here, courtesy of C-Span.

NLADA President and CEO Jo-Ann Wallace was recognized and thanked for her contributions to the success of the conference, as well as for her tremendous achievements toward the improvement of indigent defense, by Attorney General Holder and Assistant Attorney General Robinson in their respective opening remarks.  The research and reform work led by NLADA's Director of Research and Evaluation David Carroll was touted throughout the Symposium and held up as a critical piece in the reform efforts in Nevada, Louisiana and Idaho.  And, at the reception held on the evening of Thursday, February 18th, hosted by NLADA and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute on Race and Justice (CHHIRJ), Jo-Ann Wallace and Charles Ogletree, founding and executive director of CHHIRJ, were pleased to welcome Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Congressman Bobby Scott.  Numerous state justices and senior level executives in government, indigent defense and policy were present.

View the full Agenda for the Symposium.

Author/Organization: Phyllis E. Mann
Publication Date: 02/18/2010