U.S. Government Accountability Office Issues Report on Federal Funding for Indigent Defense

BY Edwin A. Burnette on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 6:22 PM

On May 9, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report assessing the ways in which the federal government has provided funding and other federal support to the states for indigent defense for the last seven years.

New leader sworn in to run DOJ Access to Justice Initiative

BY Jon Mosher on Friday, June 3, 2011 at 11:47 AM

 On June 2, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Mark Childress was sworn in to replace Prof. Lawrence Tribe as senior counselor of DOJ's Access to Justice Initiative. This announcement comes nearly six months after Professor Tribe stepped down from the post due to health reasons. Prof. Tribe said of Childress, "I'm sure he'll roll up his sleeves and make a huge difference to ordinary people." The DOJ press release includes many of Childress' previous accomplishments and positions both in and out of government, which can be found here.

Assistant AG Laurie Robinson addresses juvenile justice convention

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM

On May 23, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson addressed the annual meeting of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington DC. In her remarks, Assistant AG Robinson renewed the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs' commitment to focus on juvenile justice issues, in particular with the ongoing work of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

National standards for the provision of indigent defense representation provide the best yardstick for measuring the extent to which clients receive the representation guaranteed to them by the Sixth Amendment. (See Standards for the Delivery of Public Defense Services.) These national standards are generally of two types: (1) attorney performance standards, which set out the specifics of what each attorney should do in representing each client; and (2) systemic or structural standards, which establish the specifics of the defense system in which each attorney works. Here we have listed all of the pertinent standards, divided into these two categories. In some instances a single publication addresses both attorney performance and system; in those cases the publication is listed under both categories.

Author/Organization: Jon Mosher
Publication Date: 03/29/2011

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

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 12:00 AM

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.

AG Holder addresses juvenile representation before National Association of Counties convention

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM

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.

Watch the BJA Webinar on the Right to Counsel

BY Jon Mosher on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 5:03 PM

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.

On March 8, NLADA research director David Carroll conducted a national webinar on behalf of, the DOJ/BJA’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC). While state policymakers work to construct indigent defense systems that meet basic foundational national standards, prudent use of taxpayer dollars requires that they concurrently decrease the need for public defense attorneys by removing non-violent, low-level felonies and misdemeanors from the formal justice system through diversion and/or reclassification of crimes to infractions where it is safe, reasonable and prudent to do so. The presentation explores the state of the right to counsel in America, offers insight into current national standards, and presents practical solutions to public defense problems that threaten our courts' abilities to produce verdicts that are fair, correct, swift and final. The hour-long webinar includes a 40-min presentation followed by 20 mins of questions and answers.

Author/Organization: David Carroll, NLADA
Publication Date: 03/08/2011

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

BY Jon Mosher on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 3:59 PM

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.

Commonly referred to as Byrne/JAG grants, the official name is the "Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program."  The program is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and is described by BJA as "the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions."

Author/Organization: Phyllis E. Mann
Publication Date: 02/25/2011