Authorizing Public Defense Litigation and Reform Funding

The Board of Directors adopted a resolution authorizing the allocation of funds for systemic public defense litigation from Fiscal Year 2021 through Fiscal Year 2023.


Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Authorizing Public Defense Litigation and Reform Funding 

October 24, 2020 

WHEREAS the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) continues to be committed to advancing public defense systems that ensure quality representation for all accused individuals; 

WHEREAS NACDL has authorized its Public Defense Committee (PDC) to meet that commitment through the development and pursuit of systemic Public Defense litigation, reform and education; 

WHEREAS systemic litigation and reform efforts require a long-term, multi-year commitment of substantial funds for case development and litigation expenses; 

WHEREAS it is difficult to predict litigation and reform expenditures for any one fiscal year; 

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that NACDL makes the commitment to provide up to $45,000 for systemic litigation during the period of Fiscal Year 2021 through Fiscal Year 2023. 

NACDL will seek to procure this funding from the Foundation for Criminal Justice, but in any event will commit the sum of $15,000 as a line item for litigation and reform initiatives for each of Fiscal Years 2021, 2022, 2023. 

Any project utilizing these funds must be approved by the Executive Committee in advance of any commitment of funds. In the event the Chair or Co-Chairs of the PDC determine that funds beyond the amount budgeted are necessary to fund litigation, reform and/or education projects which have been approved by the NACDL Board of Directors, they may exceed the amount budgeted for that particular fiscal year. Any expenditure for services should be supported by a contract or written agreement pursuant to the policies and procedures of the association. 

In no event will the amount spent during the three fiscal years exceed $45,000. In no event will any funds be expended for litigation or reform projects unless the projects have been previously approved by the PDC. 

In the event expenditures for litigation of reform projects in a single year exceed $15,000, the NACDL Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer shall draw funds from the NACDL reserve funds in the amount the expenditures exceed $15,000, provided that the amount of such funds withdrawn shall not exceed the difference between the $45,000 and the amount that had been expended for litigation projects during the Fiscal Years 2021-2023 time period. 

It is the express intent of the Board that if funds expended on litigation and reform projects in a single fiscal year exceed $15,000, no funds need be reallocated to ensure a balanced budget. While the Board and the PDC intend that this three-year allocation of $45,000 will be the maximum amount of NACDL funds available for litigation and reform projects for Fiscal Years 2021-2023, this resolution does not preclude a subsequent resolution requesting an increase in the total amount allocated based on changed circumstances. 

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