Washington, DC (January 8, 2013) – As the nation enters the 50th anniversary year of Gideon, the landmark Supreme Court decision clarifying that the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel applies regardless of whether a defendant can afford to pay an attorney, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants (ABA/SCLAID), with invaluable support provided by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), today release a critically important new report, National Indigent Defense Reform: The Solution is Multifaceted.
This report, prepared by Professor Joel M. Schumm of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, documents a day-long convening last year of 18 leading innovators in the indigent defense field representing all branches and levels of government, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law professors, and non-governmental reformers. It is, in short, a blueprint for reform, offering a panoply of approaches for improving America’s indigent defense systems. The report provides an in-depth discussion with myriad, concrete reform recommendations, including “reclassification and diversion, which help reduce the number of cases entering the system…. delivery of services, including the importance of standards and commissions, the central role of the private bar, and development of training…. [and] the need for collaboration and cooperation with others within and outside the criminal justice system in order to achieve significant and sustainable reform.”
Last year at the American Bar Association’s National Summit on Indigent Defense, United States Attorney General Eric Holder stated clearly what NACDL and the ABA well know:
Across the country, public defender offices and other indigent defense providers are underfunded and understaffed. Too often, when legal representation is available to the poor, it’s rendered less effective by insufficient resources, overwhelming caseloads, and inadequate oversight…. the basic rights guaranteed under Gideon have yet to be fully realized. Millions of Americans still struggle to access the legal services that they need and deserve – and to which they are constitutionally entitled. And far too many public defender systems lack the basic tools they need to function properly.
Indeed, in that same speech, Holder went on to announce the dedication of some $1.4 million to a new Justice Department grant program aimed at providing support for efforts to reform America’s indigent defense system and address the very problems he acknowledged plague those systems.
“NACDL is committed to the full realization of the promise of Gideon. We will work tirelessly until it is achieved,” said NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin. “This report adds valuable insight and perspective to NACDL’s significant research in this area, as reflected in our prior reports, including Minor Crimes, Massive Waste: The Terrible Toll of America's Broken Misdemeanor Courts and Three-Minute Justice: Haste and Waste in Florida’s Misdemeanor Courts. Fixing America’s broken indigent defense systems is a priority for NACDL, and we are proud to have been a part of this important addition to that work.”
And ABA President Laurel G. Bellows said: "The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants is pleased to join the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in presenting these valuable recommendations for solving the nation's indigent defense crisis. Every criminal defendant, whether rich or poor, deserves a qualified lawyer to defend against the state's charges. We hope that policymakers will consider our joint report, along with ABA guidelines, standards and other resources available at www.indigentdefense.org, to make needed changes and fully implement the Supreme Court's Gideon decision."
This project was co-chaired by Professor Adele Bernhard of Pace Law School, Professor Robert C. Boruchowitz of the Seattle University School of Law, and NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer. In addition to this report and the convening out of which it arises, this same BJA grant-funded project allowed the ABA and NACDL to provide national defender trainings in Atlanta, Austin, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Lubbock, and Memphis on topics including forensic science, client-centered representation and advocacy skills.
To learn more about Gideon, indigent defense, and the work NACDL is doing in this area, visit www.nacdl.org/indigentdefense.
You can find links to this and other NACDL reports at www.nacdl.org/reports.
Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence: A Trial Strategy Guide
NACDL’s Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence will assist criminal defense practitioners in scoring points when cross-examining forensic experts in cases involving DNA and biological evidence. This resource contains thousands of questions that will help defense lawyers cross-examine challenging witnesses without reinventing the wheel with each new case. It includes pattern questions that can be used to dominate prosecution DNA experts and level the playing field at trial.
Cross-Examination of the Analyst in Drug Prosecutions (2nd Ed.) By James M. Shellow
Now in its second edition with some new material, James M. Shellow’s book offers what its title promises: ways of thinking about cross-examining the forensic analysts in drug cases. But the book is so much more than that. It offers a look inside the mind of one of the finest cross-examiners and defense lawyers the United States has produced in the last seventy years. This small book can inspire and direct you in making big changes in the way you defend your clients and think about the entire project of trying any case.
Justice For All, Justice Now White T-Shirt (Women’s)
This custom, vintage-faded NACDL t-shirt is 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon weighing 5.2 oz. and is lightwieght, flexible and soft, providing maximum comfort. It features the "Justice For All, Justice Now" slogan and Lady Liberty image on the front, with the NACDL logo on the back. Currently available in both men's and women's sizes in both black and white colors. View the full line-up of colors and sizes on our online store, as well as our other popular and best-selling t-shirt designs at: nacdl.org/store.
Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection - CD-ROM
NACDL’s Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection is the sweeping culmination of every single article of written materials ever published from each installment of NACDL's annual "Defending Modern Drug Cases" seminar. Totaling over 12,000 pages, this vast collection includes 12+ years of motions, briefs, reports, outlines, transcripts, case citations, scholarly articles, powerpoints and other written commentaries. This collection provides trial strategies and tactics you can immediately apply to your current cases.
Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases
Whether it is insanity, impairment, a disorder, or adolescent brain development; mental health and intellectual competence issues affect pretrial supervision, trial and sentencing, and your chances of successfully advocating for your impaired client. This training provides ideas and proven solutions to assist you in advocating for your client during trial, whether it be insanity defenses, jury selection, cross of expert witnesses, persuasion, or mitigation at sentencing.
Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.