Indigent Defense Assessment of Venango County, Pennsylvania

Venango County retained NLADA in 2001 to conduct a standards-based assessment of its public defender system. This report details the findings of that assessment.  The public defense system fails to meet national standards, including the ABA Ten Principles, and the public defender office itself falls far short of nationally recognized performance guidelines. NLADA was impressed with the desire on the part of county, court and other criminal justice officials in Venango County to address the issues raised in the report.  Their desire to correct indigent defense issues extended beyond a simple attempt to stem a lawsuit (threatened by the ACLU and NACDL). Unfortunately, Venango County, while truly aiming to resolve its ongoing constitutional crisis, has in the years since the 2001 assessment continued to find itself completely incapable of meeting the state's obligations which have been delegated to it.

Author/Organization: National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
Publication Date: 06/2002

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