Public Defense News

Public Defense News Archive

Here you will find current public defense news, as well as past news archived reverse chronologically. The ABA does not maintain external links.

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The Black Public Defender Association is conducting a survey to capture information about the racial demographics of public defender offices. BPDA will use this information to increase the recruitment, hiring, and retention of Black public defenders, and to increase defender training on race, diversity, and inclusion. Take the survey today! 


National Association for Public Defense: Call to Action on Public Defender Independence

Fines and Fees Justice Center: Statement & Recommendations on Enforcement of COVID-related Orders


Criminal defendants in limbo as trials put on hold during pandemic

Supreme Court won’t stop Ohio order for prisoners to be moved or released because of coronavirus

Bill Barr promised to release prisoners threatened by coronavirus – even as the feds secretly made it harder for them to get out

Bureau of Prisons to start moving 6,800 new federal inmates to its facilities

He tested positive for the coronavirus. One day later, a federal prison flew him home to Alaska.


Montgomery County faces suits over public defender terminations

Montco pushes back against allegations of wrongful firings in public defender’s office

Selinsgrove school director, public defender resign over backlash from Facebook post

Somerset’s acting chief public defender awarded pay increase


Continued rise in felony caseload cripples Missouri public defender system


Public defenders serve clients awaiting trial in jail

Rhode Island:

Masked R.I. Senate panel confirms nominee for public defender

North Carolina:

Pollard named new executive director of IDS

Mary Pollard appointed as executive director of the North Carolina office of indigent defense services

Inside a federal prison with a deadly COVID-19 outbreak, compromised men beg for help


Federal judge rules indigent felons must be allowed to vote

‘A game-changer’: Five takeaways from Sunday’s ruling on felon voting

Florida judge exposes the chaotic nightmare facing felons who want to register to vote

Florida Supreme Court destroys precedent protecting mentally disabled people from execution


Public defenders concerned about premature return to open court proceedings

New York:

Bronx defenders’ staff look to join wave of unionized nonprofits

Major public defense nonprofit in New York is unionizing

Niagara County calls public defenders back to work

Niagara County recalls assistant public defenders from furlough

Opinion: I’m a public defender in Manhattan. The Central Park video is all too familiar.

Longtime public defender on central park video: ‘The cops are inclined to believe a white accuser and the other person gets arrested.’

New Jersey:

Advocates tell NJ Supreme Court state needs to move faster to protect prisoners from COVID-19

NJ’s COVID-19 release program for prisoners is slammed for major failings


Prince George’s jail officials acted with ‘reckless disregard’ to coronavirus outbreak, judge finds


Prosecutors back dismissal of 91 more cases involving the Houston cop who lied to justify a deadly drug deal

Locked inside: A COVID-19 outbreak at Harris County jail was the “nightmare scenario.” Then it actually happened.

Attorneys raise alarm on long lines into Harris County courthouse after Memorial Day

She walked out of jail into a pandemic. Now she can’t find the help she needs to get back on her feet.

County revisits holistic indigent defense (Hays County)


New Orleans task force officers to be trained after problematic allegations, NOPD chief says


Warden credits ‘hard work’ as DOC continues to report no cases


Critics say Hawaii prisons are failing to help released inmates

More than 50 inmates out of 300 released are rearrested

Hawaii prosecutors want COVID-19 inmate releases stopped

Honolulu police keep putting homeless people in jail


A San Francisco public defender fights to get his brother freed from a dangerous CA prison where 8 have died from COVID-19

How four lawyers ended up on the front lines of Silicon Valley’s homelessness crisis

Los Angeles County public defender dies from COVID-19

Editorial: No, criminals aren’t rampaging across California because of our zero-dollar bail policy

SF public defender unit helps Oakland man go free after 44 years in prison, more than 30 in solitary

Public defender seeks removal of OC DA from sex offender parole violation cases

‘People are sick all around me’: inside the coronavirus catastrophe in California prisons

California jail population plummets during pandemic. Could this lead to long-term change?

‘Powder keg’ at Chuckawalla Valley state prison with 110 cases of COVID-19 in two weeks

Coronavirus infection rates in some parts of LA County jails are 40% or higher


Opinion: Experience on both sides of the ball is important, in sports and in the courtroom


Worthman officially resigns as public defender


DOC staff called on to help following outbreak at the Comanche County jail


For people with relatives in prison, coronavirus makes calls more urgent – and harder to afford


Lawrence County health nurse and public defenders request tabled

Terre Haute prison inmate with COVID-19 dies; 3 more have it

First Congressional District candidate Jim Harper highly qualified


State’s attorney contesting vast majority of bond motions during pandemic (Cook County)

Grundy County’s first murder jury trial in 20 years could happen in July

Judge denies attempt to force DCFS to allow parents in-person visits


Kansas governor nominates public defender for appeals court


Jennifer Carroll Foy announces run for governor in 2021

Of Interest:

Fighting coronavirus in rural communities by protecting incarcerated people

Pregnant inmates languish in US prisons despite promises of release

No photo ID, no services: Coronavirus poses steep hurdles after prison

Opinion: In coronavirus crisis, lessons in humanity toward America’s incarcerated

He started a music program in prison. Now the artists are dropping a mixtape from behind bars.

Messenger wins American Bar Association award for debtors prison series

‘Broken Justice’ Podcast earns honorable mention in ABA Silver Gavel awards

Justice after bail reform: A conversation with Robin Steinberg

The just pod: COVID and online courts

Award Nominations:

Nominate a public defender for the Kutak-Dodds Prize presented by NLADA, which carries a cash award of $10,000. Nominations due June 8, 2020.


From NLADA – Federal Relief Funds for Public Defense:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that became law on March 27, 2020 appropriated $850 million in emergency funding to assist justice system agencies in states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus. These funds are available through the formula allocation mechanism of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) Program, which is distributed through State Administering Agencies (SAAs) and local units of government. Defender organizations are absolutely eligible for this assistance but may encounter resistance in seeking it, as SAAs are accustomed to awarding Byrne JAG funds to law enforcement agencies. You should reach out to your SAA and/or relevant local unit(s) of government PERSONALLY to express needs and, if necessary, point them to express language on defender eligibility (see language in linked Byrne JAG fact sheet below). Funds are being distributed NOW. You should act immediately, as funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis. 

Examples of uses for which you might request resources for include:

  • Laptop computers and VPN licenses to securely connect to office and client files
  • Wi-fi hotspots for internet service
  • Personal protective equipment for court appearances, jail visits, and field work
  • Staff attorneys to prepare writs for the release of clients from jails and prisons
  • Social workers or other staff who can ensure clients receive proper supports after release 

Access the CESF solicitation and instructions on how to apply here

In Memoriam:

Cong. Norton statement on the death of Barbara Babcock, Legendary Lawyer: A Remembrance

Albert Krieger – John Gotti’s Lawyer, Miami criminal defense legend Albert Krieger, has died


Stout Risius Ross LLC: Impact of an Eviction Right to Counsel in Baltimore City

Vera: New research shows nationwide failure to release people from prison to prevent spread of COVID-19


4 public defenders on how coronavirus makes it impossible to fight for their clients

Across US, COVID-19 takes a hidden toll behind bars

Fed shines new light on court debt

For mentally ill defendants, coronavirus means few safe options

Supreme Court rejects bid for virus protections in Texas prison

‘Come on, we’re human beings’: Judges question response to coronavirus pandemic in federal prisons

What women dying in prison from COVID-19 tells us about female incarceration


Amid coronavirus closures, Louisiana’s public defense leaders consider drastic budget cuts

Oakdale inmate dies from COVID-19 two days after scheduled release

Plea deals resume via video feed at New Orleans criminal court


Hundreds of Oregon’s nonunanimous jury convictions should be reversed, state justice officials say

Judge temporarily relaxes state hospital admissions, leaving inmates in jails

5 diverse Multnomah County lawyers face off for rare open judge’s seat


Late appeal of life sentence may have violated client’s rights, Casper public defender admits


Emails show attorneys asked to keep quiet about Mingus Mountain COVID-19 outbreak (Yavapai County at-risk youth facility)


Cook County public defender challenging DCFS ban on supervised visits

Judge tosses suit challenging DCFS ban on supervised in-person visits during pandemic

Court lacks diversity lawyer says – resigns after passed over for public defender post (Sangamon County)

Thousands of cases stalled as Cook County courts remain closed in lockdown

State’s Attorney has contested vast majority of bond motions since COVID-19


Rollins’ attack on CPCS unfounded and unfair

DA Rollins asks SCJ to vacate 64 defendants’ guilty pleas in drug cases following Dookhan, Farak scandals

“The stress, fear, the desperation”: Coronavirus crisis poses obstacles for Massachusetts public defenders as they represent their clients remotely


Aurora’s public defender wanted to commute municipal sentences to halt coronavirus in jails – Mayor Coffman was not amused

Inadequate coronavirus prevention at Weld County jail violates rights of medically vulnerable inmates, judge rules


Sick inmates and their advocates fear deadly coronavirus infections

Commentary: Does LA sheriff’s story add up about intentional infection at jail?

Today in court: A parade of murder suspects passes through virtual court to see their cases delayed (Humboldt County)

Congresswoman criticizes conditions at San Pedro prison, where hundreds of inmates have tested positive for COVID1-19

Superior court judge says no to helping get more kids out of LA’s youth lock-ups

Prisoners released to slow COVID-19 spread have new housing option

San Diego County courts wrestle with statewide zero bail order

Commentary: Yolo DA continues to present anecdotes on zero bail

Tuolumne County public defender’s building damaged in crash


Phila. public defender blames judge for separation of child from parents


In Florida, felons must pay court debts before they can vote. But with no system to do so, with many have found it impossible.


What a public defender’s office looks like in Hays County, study explains

Town Hall considers a public defender office (Hays County)

County may still try to establish public defender’s office (Hays County)

Texas prisons to begin widespread coronavirus testing for inmates with self-administered tests

County supports regional office

Kerr County seeks property for public defenders office


Wood County seeks to fill public defender commission vacancy


Column: Criminal justice reform comes to Arlington

New Jersey:

Coronavirus has killed dozens in state prisons. How NJ failed to stop it.

New York:

Opinion: The life of a public defender when COVID is on the offense

NY prisons see sharp spike in deaths since coronavirus outbreak, blacks hit hardest behind bars


Contract lawyer described as ‘superb advocate’ is suspended for overbilling state public defender

Iowa lawyer suspended for excess billing of defender’s office

COVID-19 cases in Polk County jail nearly twice the number previously reported, court record says


Public defender calls for COVID-19 testing at juvenile facilities after Carroll County spike

MD public defender calls for COVID-19 testing of all children in juvenile system


Judge rules in favor of federal inmates in coronavirus suit, orders speedier releases


Port of Seattle officer’s post about not enforcing stay-home order goes viral


Report: Stat prison populations have not meaningfully dropped during pandemic, Tennessee included

More than 200 prisoners test positive for coronavirus, doubling Tipton County total


Lexington reports 29 more federal inmates with COVID-19 two other new cases city wide

New Mexico:

Proposed changes to pretrial detention sent to New Mexico Supreme Court

South Carolina:

Court continues virtually in the Lakelands


Public defenders run for judge seats to bring ‘a more balanced bench’


Judge hears arguments in fired capital punishment defense attorney’s civil suit against Weber County

Salt Lake court accepting charitable donations in place of fines

Rhode Island:

Roger Williams Law School honors Olin Thompson


Howard County gets new chief public defender


A’ndreanna Vanden Berg joins Ionia County public defender’s office

Of Interest:

Opinion: We need smart solutions to mitigate the coronavirus’s impact. Here are 37.

Will the coronavirus make us rethink mass incarceration?

Column: Kennedy’s civil Gideon is a human right


Last Chance: Know A Great Young Public Defender?

ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award - Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice. The prize for this award includes funding to help pay student loans!  Nominations due TODAY - May 8th!

In Memoriam:

Barbara Babcock, legal trailblazer who led D.C. public defender service, dies at 81


COVID-19 is creating a state of emergency for incoming public defenders.  Diploma privilege is the only solution.

Can't make bail, sit in jail even longer thanks to coronavirus


Judges dismissed from suit over public defender waitlists


Breach of attorney-client privilege in Somerset County sparks outrage in Maine legal community

Leaked Somerset County jail recording sparks breach of attorney-client privilege accusations

New Mexico:

NM Supreme Court denies request to expand inmate release

NM Supreme Court denies petition for early release of prisoners due to COVID-19 threat

New Mexico invokes riot law to control virus near Navajo nation


District Attorney Rollins calls public defenders too white and privileged, setting off a storm of protest

Following backlash, Rachael Rollins clarifies comments calling public defenders 'overwhelmingly privileged'

DA Rollins strikes conciliatory note after clash with public defenders

New York:

From her kid's playroom, this NYC public defender has helped set hundreds of prisoners free

Violent arrest in New York raises questions about police enforcement of social distancing orders


Offenders' fee collection resumes in Arkansas; monthly $35 a strain in COVID-hit economy, says parolee


Sheriff's sergeant avoids jail after pleading no contest to eavesdropping

Supervisors order speedy closure of unsafe Hall of Justice jail (San Francisco)


Court: Miami jail can't be forced to give inmates soap, tests during coronavirus outbreak

25 inmates test positive in PBC west jail


Some Arlington inmates freed amid continued coronavirus concerns


Group effort keeps jail numbers low (Knox County)


Opinion: Maryland's longest-imprisoned woman is 60 and sick. Hogan should send her home.


Inmate: Oakland jail officers threatened to put us in COVID area

Macomb County jail population drops by two-thirds to below 300


Five Nebraska prison staff have coronavirus, still no testing of prisoners


A Vermont judge had plans to slow the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. Lawmakers scrapped them.


70% of Texas prisoners tested have the coronavirus. Experts say it's time for more testing and fewer inmates.

County debates grant for public defenders office (Kerr County)


'We reached that limit': Cook County sheriff out of electronic monitoring equipment


Jail population in Wailuku drops below 300 with inmate releases

Inmates released amid COVID-19 pandemic

New Jersey:

As COVID-19 spreads behind bars at Fort Dix, inmates turn to contraband cellphones, social media for help

West Virginia:

Leaders ask feds for machines to test for COVID-19 at 2 prisons in West Virginia


Column: Montco may be trail blazer in justice system

Heinz Endowments approves $7 million to address racial inequity, criminal justice reform

Somerset County public defender resigns; assistant to oversee the office in acting role


Masks and slimmed-down dockets: New Orleans judges prepare for court in the coronavirus era

South Carolina:

State lawmaker Clemmons pursuing public defender job

North Carolina:

Former teacher, public defender appointed to fill Cumberland judgeship


Inslee appoints public defense director Thad Scudder to Superior Court

Of Interest:

COVID-19 continues its toll on jails and prisons

Opinion: Stopping COVID-19 behind bars was an achievable moral imperative. We failed.

Riots, escapes and pepper spray: Virus hits juvenile centers

A dangerous limbo: Probation and parole in the time of coronavirus

Probation and parole officers are rethinking their rules as coronavirus spreads

COVID-19 leading to illegal jail stays for inmates with mental illness

Over 5,000 corrections officers have contracted COVID-19

The disappeared: Genetic genealogy is helping to crack cold cases and identify victims left nameless for decades.



8 of the top 10 biggest US coronavirus hotspots are prisons and jails

Over 70 percent of tested inmates in federal prisons have COVID-19

More than 1,500 federal prisoners now have COVID-19 as officials expand testing

ACLU presses prisons for coronavirus infection data

Quarantine could change how Americans think of incarceration

Federal inmate dies of COVID-19 weeks after giving birth while on a ventilator

One of few federal inmates released from county jail describes tense atmosphere behind bars

Opinion: A plea for clemency before it’s too late


Public defense threatened with fiscal collapse

Future of public defense threatened with fiscal collapse as coronavirus closes courts across state

'It's a war': New Orleans jail struggles to manage COVID-19 outbreak as it implements mass testing

They got their voting rights back, but will they go to the polls?

Former inmates deliver masks to prisons, jails across Louisiana


South Florida public defenders testify in felon voting case that most can't pay costs

Majority of felons seeking voting rights can't afford to pay the cost

Public defender explains financial struggles for felons in day two of felon voting rights trial

Defense lawyer: State high court ruling undermined Miami-Dade program restoring felons' voting rights

State attorney, public defender, nine local judges reelected without opposition (Brevard County)

Unopposed judges, public defender regain posts (Florida Keys)

19th Judicial Circuit public defender Diamond Litty re-elected for another 4-year-term


Wyoming public defender's staffing shortages resolved

Making online justice work in Wyoming during pandemic

Wyoming public defender says staffing issues resolved independent of court opinion

New York:

Advocates call for canceling NY court fees, fines; reinstating drivers' licenses

'It's as bad as you think': Public defense attorney reports seeing inmates in Brooklyn federal jail 'begging' for medical care, guards without protection

Podcast: Voices from Rikers: Behind bars as coronavirus spreads


Mass. High Court urges Governor to use his powers to release prisoners because of COVID-19

Pandemic in our prisons


Montgomery County's jail tested every inmate for COVID-19 - and found 30 times more cases than previously known

Public defender's office reconfigured (Indiana County)

Schenker named Chester County's chief public defender

Federal inmates left behind amid releases from Allegheny County jail

These prisons are doing mass testing for COVID-19 - and finding mass infection


"People are dying. They had us in there for tickets."


Steady arrests risk COVID-19 spread beyond jail walls, advocates say

Washington Supreme Court rejects lawsuit seeking additional release of prisoners due to coronavirus threat

North Carolina:

Uncharted territory: Solo attorneys, small law firms struggle with impacts of COVID-19 (includes impact on public defense)


Public defender hiring request tabled again (Lawrence County)


Prince William public defenders' office survives state budget freeze

State budget cuts driven by COVID-19 nix funds for court positions across Va.


Positive test rates for COVID-19 are as high as 87% at some Michigan prisons

Weiner-Vatter is named new chief assistant public defender


SF defender expresses concern over ongoing public health emergency measures in the SF jails

'Outdated, unsafe, unfair': coronavirus renews battle over California’s cash bail system

After long battle, public defender successfully secures release of transgender client from ICE detention

Terminal Island prison inmates have worst coronavirus outbreak in federal system

A new COVID-19 lawsuit seeks to change the horrifying conditions in Los Angeles jails

Main judges, lawyers split over more jail releases in pandemic


Hennepin County court plans to resume some hearings (PD expresses concerns)


Wild swing in coronavirus numbers reported at Chicago's federal jail goes unexplained, leaves lawyers skeptical


Vermont prisons' COVID-19 response under scrutiny on day two of court hearing


Commissioners get budgets for public defense (Washington County)

Ohio’s first post-COVID jury trail was set to begin. Then the defendant nearly collapsed.


Virus prompts Hawaii court's order of faster prisoner release


Analysis: More review for some pretrial cases during virus

New Mexico:

Delayed justice: Inside look at New Mexico's criminal court system shows new challenges and a growing backlog


"Going to be a zoo": Pima County courts brace for reopening


COVID-19, flawed funding model leads DA to cut jobs


Attorney (public defender) appointed to Kentucky appeals court until November election

District of Columbia:

St. Elizabeths patient who died of coronavirus was receiving leukemia treatment, recalled as a 'gem' (by her public defender)

DC public defender service cuts loose from GSA combined space search

Of Interest:

Creation in confinement: Art in the age of mass incarceration

As coronavirus strikes prisons, hundreds of thousands (worldwide) are released

ABE surpasses $300 million in total grants with its recent 2020 awards of over $7 million

Opinion: No one should profit off of prisoners trying to stay in touch with their families



In Memoriam:

Barbara Babcock-Stanford University


The Justice Collaborative Institute: When Every Sentence is a Possible Death Sentence: Public Defenders Speak from the Front Lines about COVID-19

ACLU: COVID-19 Model Finds Nearly 100,000 More Deaths Than Current Estimates, Due to Failures to Reduce Jails


In historic ruling, Supreme Court says state jury verdicts in serious criminal cases must be unanimous

Opinion: No one deserves to die of COVID-19 in jail – But more than 100 inmates already have

How do I defend people now?

How defense sleuths are forging ahead despite pandemic

What happens when more than 300,000 prisoners are locked down?

Tens of thousands of inmates unlawfully denied home confinement as pandemic rages: prisoner advocates

Coronavirus exposes precarity of prison towns

Court is closed due to coronavirus. But you still owe those fines and fees.

Opinion: COVID-1 and criminal justice: It’s time to suspend fees and fines

Sheriffs across the US are not enforcing coronavirus stay-at-home orders. Is that legal?


Orleans public defenders announce furloughs in face of decreased revenue due to coronavirus

Expect delays for justice and pay cuts for public defenders, due to lack of funding and resources

Coronavirus hits Louisiana prisons: Medical director, head warden, first state inmate die

Coronavirus cases in New Orleans jail surge after mass testing; 56 inmates test positive

OSPO says 72 inmates and 50 employees have tested positive for coronavirus to date

Need to address traffic issues? A virtual clinic in East Baton Rouge is in the works


More must be done to address public defender shortages

DOC yet to provide ‘missing’ data about prisoners and staff with coronavirus dating back to April 3, public defender agency of Mass. claims


Board calls for $500,000 to fund Nevada rural indigent defense services

Rhode Island:

Court issues indigent defense pay guidance

South Carolina:

Beaufort County public defender wants $700K extra next year.  Here’s why


COVID-19 changes how Iowa’s public defenders help clients


3,700 sick with COVID-19 in Ohio prisons

Why has Ohio’s Marion prison become the number-one coronavirus hotspot in the United States?

Federal judge orders release of elderly and medically vulnerable prisoners at Elkton

Judge orders transfer or release for some inmates at virus-wracked Ohio federal prison

Soto appeal garners support


Miami prosecutors, public defenders & courts continue coronavirus early jail review & release plan

Public defender reports alarming coronavirus issues in Broward County jail

Sheriff’s office says accusations about Broward County jail are unsubstantiated, misleading and false

Broward inmates ask for more COVID-19 testing, better medical attention: lawyers

Juvie judges facing hard choices – like whether to lock up a kid in a possible petri dish


Public defender pleading uses experts, COVID-19 threat to justify release of non-violent inmates on zero bail

3,500 pretrial inmates to be released from county jails to slow the spread of COVID-19

‘The effects . . . could be devastating’: San Bernardino County officials oppose zero bail requirement

“Zero bail” amid pandemic irks law enforcement; public defender say police are being alarmist

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in San Francisco County jail prompts public defender to ask for increased efforts

Coronavirus raises challenges for defense attorneys and clients (Riverside County)

SF public defender, ACLU sue ICE to demand release of hundreds of detainees

First state inmate death tied to coronavirus is reported; patient had been incarcerated in Chino

Chino men’s prison reports 72 cases of coronavirus, 3 confirmed at women’s prison

Yolo courts eye ‘return to normal’ starting in early May

Public defender says judge drunkenly called him a ‘Jew boy’ during a camping trip, files lawsuit(Humboldt County)


Travis County public defender starts Monday amid uncertain times

Harris County jail to test quarantined inmates to prevent major COVID-19 outbreak

At Bexar County jail, inmates complain of superficial cleanings, scarce soap and flimsy masks amid COVID outbreak

Paxton opposes federal judge’s order for widespread testing, hand sanitizer at Texas prison

Federal appeals court stops earlier order, says Texas doesn’t have to give inmates hand sanitizer or face masks for now

Harris County juvenile detention center reverses lockdown


Maryland governor orders expedited release of certain prisoners due to COVID-19 pandemic

Maryland said it has released 2,000 inmates from prisons and jails to slow the spread of the coronavirus

Advocates praise Hogan’s order releasing some inmates, push for additional action

Efforts continue to reduce jail population during pandemic (Washington County)

New York:

NY judge ‘suspects’ Cuomo orders violate due process (delayed preliminary hearings)

“Everyone’s coughing, everyone’s agitated.” Incarcerated people describe life on Rikers Island as the pandemic spreads.

How Chautauqua County has adapted to provide criminal defense

Ulster exec announces new unit within public defender’s office to handle tenant issues


ACLU files class-action federal lawsuit to lower CT’s prison population during COVID-19


Column: With stroke of a pen, governor loses a sense of decency (veto of wrongful conviction compensation bill)


After Montgomery County, should public defenders fear retribution when they’re effective?

How to keep a thief from getting a possible death sentence in the time of coronavirus

The city (Philadelphia) is releasing some inmates.  But who are they – and where are they going?

Cambria defendants don’t have to appear for May 6 pretrial conferences


Oregon’s nonunanimous jury system struck down by US Supreme Court; could invalidate 100s of convictions

Federal inmates in Sheridan are finding coronavirus lockdown ‘overwhelming,’ public defender says

Opinion: Innocent until proven guilty, but defendants may still pay coronavirus penalty

New Mexico:

NM public defender’s office calls for more inmates to be released amid COVID-19 crisis

New Jersey:

Legal malpractice claims against public defenders subject to Tort Claims Act, Justices rule

NJ has charged more than 1,700 people for violating stay-at-home orders but just a handful of citations have been issued in PA

District of Columbia:

ACLU wins suit against DC Department of Corrections calling for immediate updates amid coronavirus pandemic


Va. Lawmakers approve amendment to allow inmate releases amid COVID-19

In Chesapeake, some jailed inmates can’t get a new bond hearing despite coronavirus pandemic


Hennepin County chief public defender is reprimanded over social media posts


Racine County sheriff: Office will not enforce safer at home


Valley Indy Radio: Derby public defender Johnathan Gable


Supervisors test public defender office for mold (Pike County)

Of Interest:

This federal judge is risking his life to save homeless people from the coronavirus


Our next webinar – Fines, Fees and COVID-19 is NEXT TUESDAY (April 21) at 3pm ET.  And . . . in case you missed any of our prior programming, you can watch the recordings and review the related resources of all our programs on our main COVID-19 program page, including programs on:

In Memoriam

Bob Price (Tuloumne County, CA): Former public defender dies of coronavirus


‘Pacing and praying’: Jailed youths seek release as virus spreads

Ted Deutch, Kamala Harris want more federal funds for public defense during coronavirus pandemic

Opinion: Mr. President, let vulnerable people out of federal prisons now: Coronavirus demands a bold response

New Mexico:

Petition seeks release of New Mexico prisoners amid outbreak

New Mexico public defender’s office files petition for emergency prisoner release effort

State public defender’s office petitions for emergency prisoner release effort

ACLU, public defender’s office calls on NM to release more inmates amid COVID-19

Public defenders hit speed bumps in protecting inmates from COVID-19


Washington Supreme Court orders Inslee to take ‘all necessary steps’ to protect inmates from coronavirus


Maryland’s chief judge orders release of young offenders to reduce covid-19 risk

Maryland court denies request to release young offenders

Maryland’s highest court rejects plea to release juveniles amid coronavirus threat, hints major announcement is coming ‘shortly’


Nevada attorneys urge statewide release of prisoners amid outbreak

New Jersey:

Agreement on low-risk offenders sets a strong example

NJ should now release state prison inmates as coronavirus spreads, public defender says

At least 43 South Jersey jail inmates are out amid COVID-19 spread

West Virginia:

ACLU, state public defender ask for release of 39 inmates amid pandemic


Public defenders in this state are told to slash budgets as traffic-ticket funding plummets

‘People are falling sick every day:’ Lawsuit accuses feds of ‘slow-walking’ released at troubled Louisiana prison

New York:

Legal Aid win releases of 51 more persons held at Rikers Island on parole violations

This man says inmates at his prison are getting no medical treatment for COVID-19 (Wende Correctional Facility)

Public defender’s offices remain operative during COVID-19 (Chautauqua County)


Pa. plans temporary prison reprieve in the face of COVID-19 pandemic

Federal inmates left behind amid releases from Allegheny County jail


SF public defender calls zero bail a critical tool to prevent spread of COVID-19 in jails

57 pretrial detainees released after Superior Court services cut due to COVID-19

Yolo County courthouse continues to change practices amid coronavirus

Public defender, DA clash over early release of Santa Rita jail inmates

Coronavirus inmate cases top 15 at Santa Rita jail

Supervisors asked to pay wrongfully detained man $2.8 million

Public defender’s office provides Easter lunches to homeless people amid coronavirus crisis


Release of prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19 hasn’t led to crime wave says public defender


Jail populations decline statewide, in part due to coronavirus

Hawaii prison “population relief” efforts take shape in various forms

Hawaii updates


Defense attorneys struggle to protect clients in the pandemic


Opinion: Consider early release to limit virus spread

Inmates rampage through offices, set fire at Kansas prison


Judges sue Texas Governor over limits on inmate releases during outbreak

County (Ellis) explores public defender options

Austin council measure could lead to help for indigent defendants


Countywide effort reduces jail population in bid to reduce coronavirus spread in Tucson


Oklahoma Governor commutes 450 sentences to reduce prison overcrowding


Analysis: More jail review sought over coronavirus concerns


Public defender says virus risk ‘dire’ at Cook County jail

‘Greatest fear’: Chicago hides names of released prisoners from police


Jails releasing inmates to avoid becoming coronavirus hotspots

A Broward jail inmate tested positive for coronavirus. His mother wants him home.

Broward jail inmate with coronavirus dies at hospital

District of Columbia:

A D.C. public defender describes terrible conditions at the city’s jail


Local attorney admits to accusations of misconduct, placed on probation

COVID prevention steps at jail include keeping new inmates separated from general pop. (Elkhart County)


The latest on COVID-19 in Nashville’s jails and Tennessee’s prisons

Only two adult inmates in Shelby County jail have been tested for COVID-19


Arlington judges resist prosecution policies

Inmate who died was mentally impaired, in good health

Of Interest:

The judge will see you on Zoom, but the public is mostly left out

Column: The forever bars

Locked up to locked out: Recently released prisoners face unprecedented challenges amid coronavirus crisis

Federal prisons make inmate calling, video visits free during pandemic

Federal prison factories kept running as coronavirus spreads

From grad students in Washington to public defenders in Philly, UAW organizes more than just autoworkers



Our next webinar – Lesson from Past Disasters: Criminal Justice Response to COVID-19 – is TOMROROW (Friday, April 10) at 4pm ET.  And . . . in case you missed any of our prior programming, you can watch the recordings and review the related resources of all our programs on our main COVID-19 program page, including programs on the New Jersey Jail Release AgreementExpanding Pretrial Releasethe Impact on African AmericansCompassionate ReleaseReentry Planning for COVID-19 Releases, and the Impact on Native Americans.


Where and how are criminal defense lawyers making headway on COVID-19 bail motions?

DOJ: Fears of COVID-19 in prisons are ‘unsubstantiated and unwarranted’

Barr says bail decisions should consider virus risk

ACLU seeks release of federal prison inmates where 5 died

‘It’s absolute hell.’ Coronavirus derails parole hearings across the US as health risks to prisoners grow

Probation and parole officers are rethinking their rules as coronavirus spreads


Louisiana public defenders fight to protect clients from coronavirus, even as their offices run out of money

Coronavirus puts a prison under siege (Oakdale)

Louisiana’s coronavirus plan for prisons could create death camps

Public defender lays off attorneys (Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes)

Public defenders file motion for release of 400 Calcasieu inmates

New York:

I was at Rikers when coronavirus spread.  Getting out was just as surreal.

The shock doctrine came from bail reform: Conservative opponents of cash bail reform in New York saw an opportunity in the pandemic – and took it.


With 3 inmates, 20 Harris County jail officials positive for coronavirus, battle over inmate release continues

Reports: Children are in 23 1/2 hour-a-day lockup at Harris County juvenile facility amid COVID-19

New York’s about-face on bail reform wins few fans


Wyoming Supreme Court defends Campbell County public defender


Pa. Supreme Court rejects plea to order comprehensive release of juvenile criminal offenders over coronavirus

Philadelphia District Attorney and Public Defender’s office work toward reducing population of incarcerated

As the coronavirus gains strength in Philly’s jails, panic and fingerpointing mark effort to avert crisis by thinning inmate population

Opinion: Releasing only inmates who’ve already been diagnosed with coronavirus would be a grave mistake


Column: Supreme Judicial Court missed chance to save lives


Sanpete taxpayers foot $200K bill for lawyers for inmates


Judicial leaders to adopt emergency order to ease jail crowding amid pandemic

California prisons on soft lockdown; prison nurses must work overtime, or else

California sets zero bail for many offenses

’10 to a room, a few feet apart’: Advocates say La County’s incarcerated  youth are at high risk’10 to a room, a few feet apart’: Advocates say La County’s incarcerated youth are at high risk

Cut off from their kids, parents of juvenile detainees wait and worry as coronavirus spreads

Sacramento public defender asks appeal court to intervene, release county jail inmates because of COVID-19 threat

Sacramento public defenders go to appeals court to fight for more jail releases

Deputy public defender alleges judge denigrated his Jewish heritage and pushed him off a boat (Humboldt County)


Palm Beach County sheriff opposes prisoner release amid coronavirus outbreak

Judge orders Miami jail to give inmates soap, ensure social distancing to curb coronavirus

Miami-Dade to release 18 inmates early because of COVID-19

Column: Public safety response in the wake of COVID-19


Colorado defense attorneys petition state to release some inmates as coronavirus spreads in jails

State public defender, inmate advocates seek ‘unified’ COVID-19 strategy in jails and courts


Oregon inmates sue department of corrections over COVID response


Public defender seeks release of ‘vulnerable and low-risk’ inmates from Nashville jails

New Mexico:

Gov. orders early release of some inmates

Positive COVID-19 test for state public defender closes Santa Fe office, prompts contact tracing


Chicago’s jail is top US hot spot as virus spreads behind bars

Pritzker signs executive order allowing medical furloughs for IDOC inmates vulnerable to coronavirus

Columbia attorney gives back (Monroe County)


Maryland public defender’s office computer server ‘compromised’ in March

Public defender petitions court for reduction in number of incarcerated youth

Public defender calls on courts to reduce juvenile detention during COVID-19 crisis

District of Columbia:

US Attorney opposes release of inmates in DC


Two state lawmakers say mass prisoner release is ‘terrible idea’


Alabama prisons hold more than 1,100 older people at greater COVID-19 risk


Budget sought for public defender office (Gibson County)

Elkhart judge requests more money for public defender


Attorney inspired to serve inmates by father’s incarceration


Former Madison County defender resigns

Scotts Bluff County public defender resigns

Of Interest:

Bailing out: Criminal justice reformers are rethinking the crusade against cash bail

Reforms without results: Why states should stop excluding violent offenses from criminal justice reforms

I’ve served time in prison. Sheltering in place is terrifying.

How 27 years in prison prepared me for coronavirus

Trump administration tells some business owners “do not apply” for coronavirus loans


Public Defense Summit Announcement:
The ABA has made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person Public Defense Summit.  We will be bringing you the Summit online!  Details and dates will follow shortly.

In Memoriam:

Charles F. O’Brien – New York State Defender Association


National Registry of Exonerations – Annual Report


What it’s like to be a public defender right now

How is the justice system responding to the coronavirus? It depends on where you live

Our leaders have the power to release people in prison. Now they must use it.

Innocent prisoners are going to die of the coronavirus

“They don’t care:” Families of the incarcerated fear the worst as virus spreads

We must act now to protect America’s most vulnerable from coronavirus

14-Day Lockdown for federal prisons

Federal public defender discouraged by resistance to inmate release as virus spreads in US prison system

Opinion: No soap. Broken sinks. We will all pay for coronavirus ravaging prisons

Column: If we want to stop covid-19, we can’t forget the incarcerated

Letter to Trump from former DOJ officials regarding COVID in jails


SJC rules against district court judge in indigent defense case

SJC refines protocol to deal with public defender shortages


Wyoming Supreme Court sides with public defender

Wyoming Supreme Court rules in favor of public defender


The public’s defenders: Sixth Amendment lawyers stand for the accused

Georgia to release some inmates due to COVID-19 fears

As COVID-19 spreads, public defender council urges courts to curtail lawyers’ personal appearances


Florida conditions on felon voting die in 11th Circuit

Private, public defense lawyers race a common enemy: the coronavirus

As coronavirus breaches Florida juvenile justice staff, even judges kept in the dark

Debate roils over inmate release

District of Columbia:

DC public defender’s sweeping motion asks for release of all misdemeanants in DC jail

Press Release: Public defender service, ACLU-DC challenge DC jail’s failure to protect incarcerated individuals from COVID-19 pandemic

Four inmates test positive at DC jail


CA prosecutors, defenders angry over court virus rules

In COVID crisis, judges decide to keep more people in jail

Alameda County public defender blasts judicial council

California public defender’s association criticizes Chief Justice and judicial council’s suspension of due process rights

California courts’ decision could force more people to stay behind bars during pandemic, critics say

SF district attorney and public defender unite to release incarcerated people amidst COVID-19

Los Angeles County public defenders, district attorneys, city attorneys & police unions say courts are unsafe

Alameda County public defender wins COVID-19 release of more than 300 inmates

Coronavirus fears spawn war of words, demands for inmate releases from Sacramento jail

Sacramento public defenders seek video access to jail inmates during coronavirus crisis

SF public defender calls for the release of eligible youth in juvenile detentions facilities

Public defender says COVID-19 is stripping clients of rights

SF jail population drops 25% after inmates are released to thwart virus

Public defender files writ challenging court’s refusal (Santa Barbara)

County public defender challenges policy barring bail hearings during pandemic (Santa Barbara)

California to release 3,500 inmates early as coronavirus spreads inside prisons

Humboldt County public defender absent; supervisors set to pick interim

Megan O’Connell appointed interim public defender for Humboldt County

Lawsuit alleges Humboldt County cover-up as judge accused of tossing attorney (public defender) off Lake Shasta boat


Hawaii officials looking at ways to reduce jail population amid virus

Hawaii public defender recommends up to 426 inmates be released

Honolulu prosecutor balks at list of inmates recommended for release

Inmate release proposed; Coronavirus concerns prompt state public defender to petition Hawaii Supreme Court

With release of some inmates likely, Maui prosecutors weigh in


Amid coronavirus fears, public defenders petition judges to order release of high-risk inmates; sheriff join in call for more releases

Letter: Courts closed, fees uncollected, mean problems await the justice system

New Orleans police are jailing people for minor offenses even as the city becomes a COVID-19 hotspot

A judge isn’t allowing drug users to be released from jail because of their ‘hygiene’

An explosion of coronavirus cases cripples a federal prison in Louisiana


Missouri public defenders ask Supreme Court to release certain inmates, sheriffs and prosecutors respond

Missouri Supreme Court asked to release people from jails statewide

Circuit court releases most non-violent jail detainees, inmates

Area sheriffs voice opposition to state public defender’s request for inmate release due to coronavirus concerns

Lawsuit: St. Louis’ cash bail system creates coronavirus danger


In a pandemic, poor defendants could pay with their lives

Column: Harris County, release all the inmates you safely can – for all our sakes

Lina Hidalgo orders release of some inmates from Harris County Jail amid coronavirus pandemic

Older inmates sue Texas prison system over coronavirus policies and practices


Sidelined by pandemic, prisoners forced to work off debts get offer of help from state public defender


Alarm grows as Cook County, state struggle with what to do with the incarcerated int eh face of COVID-19


Public defender talks about how the coronavirus is affecting Alaska’s prisoners


Delaware’s chief defender urges state to release some prisoners to prevent COVID-19 spread


To prevent spread of virus behind bars, 28% of county inmates in Kentucky have been freed


Judge dismisses civil rights suit (on public defense underfunding)

Hundreds could be released from Pa. prisons under draft plans to help prevent coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 in Philly: Criminal justice advocates mount drive-by protest calling for mass release of inmates

New York:

Opinion: Andrew Cuomo, stop a coronavirus disaster: Release people from prison

Coronavirus prompts urgent calls for minors in detention to be released

People are bailing out inmates from New York City’s biggest jail, where the coronavirus outbreak is skyrocketing


Fairfax prosecutor seeks to release inmates after coronavirus case at jail

Arlington judges second guess their elected prosecutor for daring to challenge the status quo

Prince George’s County moves to reduce jail population because of coronavirus

New Mexico:

Medical providers ask state to release inmates

South Carolina:

27 inmates to be released from Richland, Kershaw jails amid coronavirus concerns


Michigan prisoner coronavirus cases surpass 100

Governor Whitmer signs executive order protecting jail, juvenile detention center populations

Rhode Island:

RI public defender seeks ‘extraordinary’ order to free inmates

Raimondo, corrections department back move to release some ACI inmates

AG, public defender agree on release of 76 inmates at ACI


Despite a ‘business as usual’ approach, COVID-19 is shrinking CT’s incarcerated

Of Interest:

Correctional facilities in the shadow of COVID-19: Unique challenges and proposed solutions



Resource Collections:

Coronavirus Tracker: How justice systems are responding in each state

National Juvenile Defender Center: COVID-19 Resources

CDC: Interim Guidance on Management of COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities

Brennan Center: Court’s responses to the COVID-19 crisis


Judges must consider defendant’s ability to pay fines and fees, ethics opinion says

New ABA Ethics Opinion 490: Ethical Obligations of Judges in Collecting Legal Financial Obligations and Other Debts

As the coronavirus spreads, some in criminal justice system resist call to keep people out of jail

Coronavirus transforming jails across the country

DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic

How the coronavirus is upending the criminal justice system

Prosecutors, defense attorneys press to release inmates, drop charges and thin jail population in response to the coronavirus


Firing of MontCo public defenders draws lawsuits from attorneys, ACLU

Despite risk of spreading virus, judges continue to impose cash bail in Pennsylvania

Attorneys seek inmates’ release (Blair County)


Minnesota public defender ‘gratified’ after reinstatement

Hennepin County chief public defender is issues written reprimand, allowed to return to post

New Jersey:

Former Plainfield public defender awarded $500K over gender discrimination

NJ Supreme Court orders low-risk county inmates released to limit coronavirus spread

Up to 1,000 inmates in New Jersey ordered released


New law ensures criminal defendants have equal access to public defender across Indiana


Embattled Cleveland Judge Pinkey Carr called public defender ‘little idiot’ after he asked to tell his clients not to come to court amid coronavirus pandemic, video shows


Opinion: Because of the coronavirus, I can’t do my job as a public defender in Seattle – and my clients are suffering

Washington Supreme Court issues order regarding court operations during COVID-19 public health emergency

Jail population drops as justice is postponed by COVID-19 (Snohmish County)

Emergency order postpones criminal hearings across Washington due to coronavirus, expedites release of some jail inmates

A local public defender isolates himself from his family at home to keep serving his clients in court


As coronavirus spreads in US jails, San Francisco’s public defender demands early release

Alameda County public defender wins release of more than 300 prisoners

District attorney Jackie Lacey directs deputy district attorneys to help reduce jail population during pandemic (Los Angeles)

Sylmar courthouse closed after public defender tests positive for coronavirus (Los Angeles)


As courts shut down, one city’s public defenders try to save their clients from the virus (Tulsa)

DOC stops accepting newly sentenced state prisoners

New York:

New York to release 300 nonviolent Rikers inmates amid pandemic

A Rikers Island doctor speaks out to save her elderly patients from the coronavirus

Coronavirus cases in NYC jails jump to 52 inmates, 30 staffers

Opinion: Don’t put more people in New York’s jails during pandemic

Opinion: Clemency is needed for incarcerated New Yorkers vulnerable to coronavirus


Public defender wants to keep COVID-19 out of jails

Public defender’s office prioritizes getting people out of county jail before COVID-19 hits


Judges to decide if ‘vulnerable’ inmates can be released from Cook County jail

Illinois County public defender calls for emergency release of detainees


Colorado’s justice system is still catching up to coronavirus

Colorado Springs public defender tests positive for COVID-19


Chief justice pleads for Kentucky inmate releases ahead of COVID-19, but progress slow

Midlands public defenders push for detainees release amid jail coronavirus worries


Inmate releases due to coronavirus considered by state attorneys

Mosby, medical professionals ramp up calls for Maryland to release elderly and low-risk prisoners to stem coronavirus


Iowa’s prisons will accelerate release of approved inmates to mitigate COVID-19


Courts ponder the release of low-risk inmates in an effort to block the spread of COVID-19 to the prison system


Families, advocates ask Alabama to release at-risk inmates amid COVID-19 outbreak


OR’s fed public defender seeks release of 72-yr-old inmate with health problems, citing threat of coronavirus


Prosecutors, public defenders adapt to COVID-19 constraints


Paul Jancha Jr. takes over as Berrien’s chief public defender



Much of the systemic news impacting public defense this week - and likely for many weeks to come - will relate to court, prison and jail responses to the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. As a community we are all working to keep our clients and ourselves safe and healthy. With this in mind, we will use this platform not only to distribute news but also to share information on resources that may be helpful to you all in these efforts. If you have something that you think should be included, please send it to me at And news can be forwarded, so please feel free to share it as broadly as you think is useful.


Resource Collections:

The Justice Collaborative - COVID-19 Response and Resources

Black Public Defender Association - We Must Act! Statement on Recommended Actions for PDs in responses to COVID-19 including Sample Motions for Emergency Release


Tracking prison responses to the pandemic

Jails and prisons suspend visitation to keep coronavirus from spreading

Report: Prison Policy Initiative - Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

What coronavirus quarantine looks like in prison

What happens to people’s legal cases as coronavirus shuts down courts?

Get out of jail? Inmates fearful of virus argue for release

The coronavirus vs. civil liberties


Fired public defenders sue, alleging Montgomery County retailiated for bail practice criticism

Opinion: Get politics out of public defender system

With courts closed by pandemic, Philly police stop low-level arrests to manage jail crowding

New Jersey:

Jury awards former Plainfield public defender $500,000 in gender bias suit

Bill automatically making youth eligible for a public defender moves closer to being law

South Carolina:

Court hits back against politically motivated firings of public defenders


Kansas public defender agency ‘on fire,’ struggling to keep staff

Kansas public defender turnover slows, but still high


Opinion: Make Vermont’s public defenders truly public


More than 100 pretrial defendants to be released from jail to avoid coronavirus spread


Public defenders request the release of all non-violent offenders in jail due to coronavirus


Baltimore state’s attorney Mosby to stop prosecuting drug possession, prostitution, other crimes amid coronavirus

New York:

Public defenders call for stop to NYPD arrests, release of some prisoners

Public defender running for North Shore City Council seat is target of racial slur

Coronavirus in NYC: DOC officer working on Rikers Island has illness

NYPD cop tests positive for coronavirus, 31 in precinct out sick

Washington DC:

DC cops balance bravado and caution during COVID-19 pandemic

Washington DC continues low-level arrests amid pandemic


As calls for release of inmates increase, DA’s office argues against bond reductions, saying defendants could spread virus if freed


Public defender wants jail inmates released due to COVID-19

Minnesota contemplates releasing nonviolent offenders as coronavirus spreads


Inmates in Ohio being released due to concern of coronavirus spread


To contain coronavirus, release people in prison

Coronavirus has jail lawyers worried about safety- for clients and themselves


San Francisco public defender seeks ‘immediate release’ of some jail inmates due to coronavirus

S.F. police should curb enforcement as coronavirus spreads, public defender argues

County jail takes extra safety measures: PD calls for release of vulnerable inmates

Parts of San Quentin prison under quarantine as a precaution

Santa Barbara public defender calls for release of low-level offenders

Worker at county jail tests positive for COVID-19 (Santa Barbara)

Public defender’s office urges defendants to stay out of courtroom to curb coronavirus

New Mexico:

NM public defenders ask state to postpone all trials, allow telephonic hearings

NM public defender office calls on state Supreme Court to postpone trials

Pueblo coronavirus case is public defender

Prosecutor self-quarantines as precaution (Clovis)

DA to Supreme Court: ‘More drastic measures are needed’


Colorado public defenders, advocates call for drastic change to prevent coronavirus in jails, prisons

Months-long death penalty jury trial starts despite coronavirus crisis

Colorado public defender tests positive for COVID-19, others wait for tests

Ten detainees at Aurora’s ICE detentions facility isolated for possible exposure to coronavirus


OR federal public defender will have limited on-site staff and calls for video or audio court


Nashville public defender: release vulnerable defendants without bail

Public defender’s office to close public access, rely on phones to meet with clients

In Tennessee’s overcrowded rural jails, a patchwork of responses to COVID-19 crisis


New Kane County public defender pledges communication, courtroom presence

Of Interest - Immigration:

The coronavirus pandemic prompts ICE To delay arresting immigrants who aren't "public safety risks"

Justice department closes more immigration courts, postpones hearings

Anger builds over virus dangers in immigration courts


Know a Great Young Public Defender?
ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award
Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice. Nominations due March 20th!

In Memoriam:

Chris Renna, Berrien County, MI Chief Public Defender


Public defenders have an obligation to speak out

Podcast Hech Yea: PD Movement Building with Scott Hechinger


Pennsylvania public defenders not reinstated despite public outcry over firing

Opinion: Public defenders should not be punished for telling the truth

Editorial: Montgomery County made a mess when its public defenders’ went public

How the firing of Montgomery County public defenders fired up a community movement to reinstate them


Oregon public defenders snubbed by state lawmakers


Kansas public defender agency still ‘on fire,’ struggling to keep staff

District Of Columbia:

Why DC’s public defender service is among the country’s best

New Jersey:

Expansion of public defender representation of juveniles gains traction in Trenton


Changes proposed to county’s public defenders

Editorial: There is no savings in delayed justice


Senate confirmation hearing for public defender gets loose


In Louisiana, prisons shift toward rehabilitation


Public defender calls for measures to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in jail

Public defender wants inmates released amid coronavirus

SF public defender seeks immediate release for people in jail at heightened risk of coronavirus

San Francisco officials push to reduce jail population to prevent coronavirus outbreak

California prisons suspend visiting indefinitely over coronavirus scares

Following ICE arrest at SF courthouse, public defender’s office announces new protections


Federal public defenders target convicted Baltimore police sergeant’s cases; four more officers suspended

New York:

Schuyler County given final approval for centralized arraignment plan
Ulster County executive wants next public defender to be full-timer

Finding justice (Chautauqua)


Defendant gets new trial after he wasn’t allowed to represent himself


Bill would provide attorneys to young adults in DCF care


Jails and courthouses across Washington look for ways to protect employees, jurors and inmates from coronavirus


Indiana advocates call on Governor to release elderly and infirm prisoners as coronavirus spreads


Michigan courts delay jury trials during coronavirus concerns

Berrien County mourns loss of chief public defender


Interim public defender resigns (Box Butte County)


Reiser tapped to be next Sangamon County public defender

Coronavirus In Jails And Prisons:

Prison Policy Initiative:No need to wait for pandemics: The public health case for criminal justice reform

The coronavirus could spark a humanitarian disaster in jails and prisons

When Purell is contraband, how do you contain coronavirus?

Inmates are manufacturing hand sanitizer, but will they be allowed to us it?

US prisons are not ready for coronavirus

Federal courts are canceling proceedings and restricting visitors amid coronavirus concerns

Of Interest:

A federal judge condemned the “Roberts Court’s assault on Democracy.” It’s about time.

Cash bail is creating a crisis in rural jails


Know a Great Young Public Defender?
ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award
Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice. Nominations due March 20th!

In Memoriam:

Larry Hammond, Phoenix defense attorney and advocate for wrongfully accused, dies


Commentary: Fear of reprisals threatens independence of public defenders and erodes right to counsel

Column: Can we end politically motivated firings of public defenders?


Supporters of 2 fired Montco public defenders to rally on courthouse steps

Fired Montco public defenders draw support at rally and commissioners’ meeting

Fired Montco defenders faced threats for advocating reforms, emails show

Days before firing public defender Montco officials expressed concerns in letter

Opinion: A Pennsylvania county fired its two top public defenders for doing their jobs

Opinion: Firing Montgomery County’s top public defenders is a step backward for criminal justice

Montco public defenders show support for fired chief, deputy chief

Local leaders condemn firing of Montco public defenders

Firing of Montco public defenders ‘is a travesty’ Philly DA says

County top public defenders ‘terminated’ over stand

Ex-Dauphin County chief public defender pleads guilty, must pay $13K in conflict of interest case


Lawsuit filed to end Missouri public defender ‘wait lists’

Lawsuit: 4,600 on Missouri public defender ‘wait lists’

Lawsuit accuses state of failing in public defender services

Legal Roundtable tackles Dicamba verdict, public defender workloads, more

Opinion: Public defender still needs proper funding

Agreement could help ease public defender workload (Cole County)


Seneca County acts to strengthen defense for defendants who can’t afford attorneys

Death row inmate slips through legal system

Noonan: Allen County examining public defender proposal

Cleveland Marshall law students to aid poor defendants in Cleveland


Too much income for public defender, too little for private legal counsel


Opinion: Understandable why many disagree, but juvenile system right for most young offenders


Court changes may not be enough (Alpena)

How a public defender’s office works (Alpena)

Leader of Macomb public defender office hopes to bring ‘parity’ to indigent defendants

Administrator named to create Macomb County public defender office

County executive Hackel announces creation of Macomb County office of public defender

Berrien County commissioners selected new chief public defender


Conflict of interest in state public defender’s office prompts second try on bill

After 35 years, attorney ends tenure as public defender


Striking excessive California criminal fees is the right call

‘It results in more justice’: New Santa Clara County public defender program looks to even the field at arraignments

SF DA and public defender condemn ICE arrest on courthouse steps

Two public defenders poised to become SF judges

Mother of Mario Woods administers oath to San Francisco public defender Mano Raju at packed community inauguration

New York:

NYC’s public defenders claim NYPD may be faking spoke in crime

NYPD claims city is seeing dramatic rise in crime, public defenders disagree

Ulster County working to secure missing grant money

Public defender promises major change as she joins crowded field for 2021 Manhattan district attorney race

Yates County has a new public defender following special meeting


Changes proposed for county’s public defenders


Cook County employees seek $14M in inmate harassment lawsuit


Public defenders ask for better pay (Loudon)

Public defender pay, county salaries hot topics at Loudon County budget hearing


A judge resigns after using the n-word in texts that she says the public was never meant to see


Georgia prison commissioner warns of commissary price increase in budget

Rhode Island:

Raimondo nominates Montecalvo for RI public defender

Of Interest:

My vote was taken away from my community and given to a district where I was incarcerated

A DC judge issues a much-needed opinion on ‘junk science’

Can racist algorithms be fixed?



Know a Great Young Public Defender?
ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award
Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice. Nominate someone today!


Opinion: Even 14-year-olds who kill are not adults


ACLU goes to court again seeking fix to Missouri’s broken public defense system

Mary Fox talks about leaving the courtroom to head Missouri’s public defender office


Montgomery County has fired its top two public defenders

Big changes in Montgomery County as top 2 public defenders fired

Former county public defender charged with stealing from clients

Bucks County changes pre-trial ARD program to make affordable to all


Plan wins approval guaranteeing equal access to public defender across Indiana


Chief public defender’s ‘star chamber’ suspension widely denounced


Judge retires after he is accused of appointing his son to more than 200 indigent cases


Documentary Podcast: Houston, We have a new criminal justice system

County looks at legal counsel study (Hays)

New York:

The Backlash: Police, prosecutors and republicans are looking to undo a criminal justice reform in New York

Letter: Questions remain amid public defender’s resignation (Ulster County)


Wisconsin courts embrace a practice banned in other states (video)


MD public defender “very concerned” about evidence held at SPD


Pleas of insanity: The mysterious case of Anthony Montwheeler


Police union, public defender take shots at Boudin on sentencing

City unveils ‘Jeff Adachi Way’ honoring late public defender


Defendants are spending less time in Clark County jail


Hamblen County jail inmates faced with poor clothing, unsanitary conditions, new federal lawsuit contends


$14 million settlement proposed in lawsuit over Cook County inmates masturbating in front of female public defenders

Washington, DC:

D.C. public defender’s office pushes back against GSA consolidation


Michael Douglas: It’s time for Ohio to end the death penalty


Lynchburg public defender retires, office has new lead

Of Interest:

Report: US Civil Rights Commission, Women in Prison

Big win in public service loan forgiveness lawsuit

Report: Sentencing Project, People serving life sentence exceeds entire prison population of 1970


Save the Date:

The ABA Public Defense Summit will be held May 29-30, 2020 in Denver, Colorado! Register NOW!

Calls for Award Nominations:

ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award -Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice.

ABA SCLAID Harrison Tweed Award - Recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a state and local bar association that develops or significantly expands projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services to persons living in poverty or criminal defense services to indigents.

ABA Govt and Public Sector Lawyers Division Dorsey Award – Recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or legal aid lawyer. Nominations due April 6, 2020


Opinion: Wealthy and connected defendants like Roger Stone get off easy all the time

Malvo case is chance to establish life without parole sentencing standards across states


Wyoming Senate sends “needy person” bill to house, would affect rights to a public defender

Definition of “needy person” could change in Wyoming, affecting rights to public defenders


How state budget cuts could affect local public defenders office

Closer Look: A conversation on the impact of proposed cuts to Georgia’s public defender system


Juvenile or adult? Public defender challenges MO’s system of certifying how youth will be tried

Column: Warren County woman highlights private probation abuses in Missouri

Assistant public defender takes over top spot at St. Louis trial office

New York:

Class, race and geography emerge as flashpoints in New York’s bail reform debate

‘I have not resigned’ as Ulster County public defender, Kossover says; Ryan says he’s out anyway

Public defender’s departure ‘blindsided’ Ulster County legislature chairman

Ulster County public defender out after failing to seek $2.5M in state reimbursements

Ulster chief public defender Kossover resigns after funding foul-up

Failure to submit paperwork by Ulster public defender’s office cost county $2.5 million

Dozens of Brooklyn assistant DAs quit over new state law that adds to workloads


462 released in mass commutation, dozens re-arrested, but not for new crimes


Senate bill would unify standards for appointing public defenders


County leaders endorse no-cash bail for certain individuals facing non-violent misdemeanor charges (San Antonio)

Commissioners approve TIDC grant for counsel at first appearance trial

County considers indigent defense grant (Hays)


Could a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision fix ‘broken’ bail systems across the state?

Attorney General’s office launches conviction integrity unit

Penn State alumna, public defender Tiffany Cabán weighs in on fight for equality during lecture


Baltimore’s state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, public defenders strike deal on more disclosures of tainted cops


Florida can’t bar people from voting because of inability to pay, appeals court says

Central Florida prosecutors, defenders team up with Morgan & Morgan to create community bail fund


County officials approve public defender grant funding


Collective punishment at a Massachusetts prison

New Jersey:

If you are “drafted” by the court to represent an indigent, should you be afforded tort claims act protection


Cullman County judge retires week after ethics complaint (appointment of son to indigent defense cases)


Bail reform analysis by Cook County chief judge based on flawed data, undercounts new murder charges

Mercer County public defender named associate judge


LA County board votes to eliminate many criminal justice fees, forgive debt

ICE arrests people at California courthouse despite new law

ICE says it won’t follow CA law after arresting 2 at Sonoma County courthouse


Judge: No raises for public defenders

Two public defenders say they deserve pay raises like their colleagues

Washington, DC:

Norton introduces bill to allow D.C. courts, public defender service to offer buyouts to employees


Hawaii bill would decriminalize small amounts of ‘dangerous drugs’


Prison crowding main topic at legislative coffee


Local woman leads public defender board


Longtime public defender appointed as juvenile court judge


Opinion: Jennifer O’Donnell for judge: experienced public defender advocates reform


Commissioners hire interim public defender, no change to Worthman’s insurance benefits

Of Interest:

I struggled to help a prisoner. In Norway, I found a better way.

Newsrooms rethink a crime reporting staple: the mugshot

‘It didn’t work:’ states that ended parole for violent crimes are thinking again


Save the Date:

The ABA Public Defense Summit will be held May 29-30, 2020 in Denver, Colorado! Register NOW!

Calls for Award Nominations:

ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award -Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice.

ABA SCLAID Harrison Tweed Award - Recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a state and local bar association that develops or significantly expands projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services to persons living in poverty or criminal defense services to indigents.

ABA Govt and Public Sector Lawyers Division Dorsey Award – Recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or legal aid lawyer. Nominations due April 6, 2020


The True Cost of Court Debt Series

Part 1: Court fines and fees generate revenue. But for some people they’re an insurmountable hurdle

Part 2: A $25 fine can wind up costing more than $150. So where does the rest of the money go?

Opinion: Fees, fines and the ability to pay

Column: Lawyers zealously advocate in face of ‘clamours of the populace’


Missouri public defender caseloads continue to mount

Missouri’s prosecutors and public defenders are drowning in cases

Public defender pushes for more funding

Public defender system asking for extra $3M to eras backlog of Missouri defendants

Lack of public defenders contributes to Greene Co. jail overcrowding

Greene County paid to hire extra public defenders; here’s how it could save taxpayer money


Report: Alabama Appleseed - How the promise of diversion clashes with the reality of poverty and racism in Alabama’s justice system

Washington DC:

DC Court extend child’s right to counsel


Driving, public defender and cancer bills advance in legislature


Albany Commission approves suspending municipal court proceedings for 10 weeks


Philadelphia public defenders vote to unionize

With unionization, Philadelphia joins rising tide of organized public defenders

Montgomery County public defender’s office taking big step to increase focus on mental health issues

Phila. Public defenders to receive $250K for technology upgrades


Public defenders to receive more funding through state reimbursement (Ross County)

Marion attorneys say public defender raises a good first step

Ashland County raises pay for public defenders


Commentary (by SF PD Mano Raju): How long must S.F. wait to root out police corruption

OC’s criminal justice system is at risk from attorney exodus, union says

How much reform? That’s the question framing LA district attorney race


Public defender office in Prince William receives key approval in legislature

Reformers find hope in proposed Prince William County public defender’s office


Editorial: Detroit finally asks for – and gets - $7M for poor defendants

St. Clair County launching public defender office for indigent defense

County officials advance grant funding for public defender (Shiawassee County)


High court considers innocence requirement in malpractice suit against state public defender

Dunkin will chair state public defender board


Idaho Supreme Court: Lawsuit against former Ada defender, current magistrate, can move forward


Clerk’s office can’t be trusted with county finances, public defenders warn

Bill pushing crackdown on public nudity likely to hit homeless and mentally ill

Former public defender to be censured

New York:

Judge challenging new bail law asked to step aside by public defender

Public defender’s office project, $4.7M over budget, framed by flaws: Comptroller audit

Amid uproar, Senate Democrats to offer compromise on bail law


Baltimore public defenders want police credibility list

Defense attorneys demand list of Baltimore City police officers with ‘integrity’ issues; Mosby’s office defends transparency

South Dakota:

Judge goes to bat for public defenders in murder case court appearance


Elmore County taking over public defenders office


Reform candidates are trying to change the definition of a ‘progressive prosecutor’ in Texas

North Dakota:

Rights of accused drive efforts of ND defense attorneys

North Carolina:

Beth Stang appointed chief public defender – Transylvania County, NC


Kenosha County public defender appointed circuit court judge

Of Interest:

How witness identifications send innocent people to prison


Save the Date:

The ABA Public Defense Summit will be held May 29-30, 2020 in Denver, Colorado! Register NOW!

Calls for Award Nominations:

ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award -Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice.

ABA SCLAID Harrison Tweed Award - Recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a state and local bar association that develops or significantly expands projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services to persons living in poverty or criminal defense services to indigents.

ABA Govt and Public Sector Lawyers Division Dorsey Award – Recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or legal aid lawyer. Nominations due April 6, 2020

In Memoriam:

John Cleary (CA) – Trailblazing San Diego defense lawyer dies

Marc Prelo (NM) – Attorney’s career spanned five decades


A new startup backed by David Axelrod helps public defenders analyze video


Facing dire budget, Missouri’s chief public defender calls on lawmakers for added funding

Federal judge refuses to OK consent decree limiting caseloads for Missouri public defenders

Judge: Settlement ‘not the vehicle’ for reforms to public defender caseloads

Report: Prosecutors’ workloads even higher than public defenders


Public defenders face funding crisis for sixth year in a row, report says

The judge whose bail requirements leave cash-strapped defendants in jail

Assumption judge accused of affair should step down from criminal cases, DA, public defender say


Wayne County invests in public defenders for poor Detroiters

Kalamazoo defender offering expungement clinic to remove nonviolent crimes from record


Tennessee veteran with same name as suspect was wrongly jailed for weeks

‘Undoubtedly unjust’ Tennessee man wrongly jailed exposes potential for critical errors

Case of mistaken identity leads to wrongful jailing, public defender’s office responds

Nashville public defender responds to man wrongly jailed: ‘Things are not foolproof’

Gardner a candidate for public defender (15th Judicial District)


Justice by geography? Bill aims to bring uniformity to indigency determinations


County organizations work together to agree on public defenders’ rates

Summit County boosting salaries for public defenders, among the lowest paid in the state

Court-appointed lawyers get their first raise in Butler County in 16 years

Proposals presented to Allen County Commissioners for public defender office

Cleveland bail project has paid bonds for 175 defendants


State House, Senate pass bills to create a local public defenders’ office (Prince William)

Prince William public defender bills pass house, senate: Report

Column: Northam’s proposed criminal justice reform agenda includes a small, but crucial reform for juvenile offenders


Public defender’s office wins grant to add more social workers

Travis County hires law professor as its first-ever public defender

Travis County hires inaugural chief public defender

Travis County Commissioners Court appoints county’s first chief public defender

Podcast – Jose Garza (former public defender) runs for DA in Travis County, Texas

Washington, DC:

Washington D.C. fines its residents more than any other city in the country


Kemp wants death penalty in anti-gang law amid public defender cuts

New York:

How New York’s bail reforms are playing out in a Queens court

NYC public defender calls for teardown of criminal justice system in VLS speech


Broward medical examiner’s office toxicologist fired over error


Feds investigate Mississippi prisons after string of deaths

North Carolina:

Chapel Hill passes fund for criminal justice fee relief

Stang sword in as chief public defender (Henderson County)


Defendant runs into snag during hearing (Bingham County)


Cook County assistant public defender bids farewell after 30 years

Bureau County public defender resigns

Hennenberry resigns as Bureau County public defender; Nolasco named acting public defender

New Jersey:

Janine M. Cerra named as the Hardyston Township public defender


Allegheny County names Matthew Dugan as new chief public defender

Mercer County public defender passes the torch

South Carolina:

Sumpter third circuit mentor passes torch to new public defender


SF public defender aims to ‘heal the community’ with new Bayview yoga studio

Of Interest:

Long shielded from lawsuits, prosecutors face scrutiny after fake subpoenas

Caught between here and there: Octavius Williams was convicted of attempted murder in 2011. Now, he’s free, but far from finished with this case.

I’m a public defender, and this is what I wear to work



The ABA Public Defense Summit will be held May 29-30, 2020 in Denver, Colorado! Registration coming soon! 

Calls for Award Nominations:

ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award – Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice.

ABA SCLAID Harrison Tweed Award - Recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a state and local bar association that develops or significantly expands projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services to persons living in poverty or criminal defense services to indigents.

ABA Govt and Public Sector Lawyers Division Dorsey Award – Recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or legal aid lawyer. Nominations due April 6, 2020


Justice Programs Office, American University - Enhancing Caseflow Management to Ensure Effective Assistance of Counsel


A proposal to offset prosecutors’ power: the ‘Defender General’

What’s the meaning of “life” when sentencing kids?


Federal judge refuses to approve deal reducing Missouri public defender workloads

Judge vetoes plan to decrease workloads for Missouri’s ‘inundated’ public defender system

Missouri woman, 20, pays own child support to keep her mom out of jail

Atwell named to public defense commission


Kemp pursues new criminal justice policy, unnerving critics

Lawmakers question state budget cuts to criminal justice, public safety


In Milwaukee, ‘Justice’ is about more than punishment

West Virginia:

West Virginia criminal justice reform gaining support from both sides of the aisle

Lawyer accused of billing more than 24 hours per day is found in Nicaragua

New York:

Warren County adding more lawyers to represent defendants amid law changes

Mailbag: Legislator’s recent votes are questionable (Niagara County)

Bail uproar may dim appetite for criminal justice reform

Opinion: Bail reform is already working: Looking beyond the breathless fearmongering


Alameda County public defender Brendon Woods explains support for bill that would raise age at which young people in California are automatically tried as adults

Newsletter: The future of cash bail in California

OC public defender accuses DA of negligence in case of sheriff’s deputy allegedly mishandling evidence

At least 91 convictions involved missing evidence, DA says, casting doubt on Sheriff’s statements

Public defender leads $1.2 million mental health diversion grant

‘We all make mistakes in life’: Many hope for a second change (Expungement Clinic - Fresno)

North Dakota:

Rights of accused drive efforts of defense attorneys


Public defender quits after spat with judge (Mohave County)


Today’s budget hearings: Attorney General, public defense, Fish & Game . . .


Travis County commissioners interview 2 candidates for chief public defender position

They were stuck in jail six days after Wichita County grand jury no billed them.  Why?


Paul Jarobe selected MIDC coordinator for Grand Traverse, Antrim counties


Law firm hired to serve as Clarion County public defender

Larry Krasner’s lonely, radical crusade to solve America’s gun problem

Letter: Truly criminal justice system (Northumberland County)


Criminal justice support group coming to Dayton

Attorney to serve on public defense commission (Stark County)


Florida Supreme Court justices back away from major death penalty ruling

Voting rights for Florida felons debated at 11th Circuit

Hillsborough public defender, tax collector receive lifetime achievement award


New head of Scotts Bluff County public defender office brings decades of experience

New Box Butte County defender retained

Embattled public defender placed on medical leave, to step down formally in July

New Jersey:

New Jersey just eliminated fines for youth in the juvenile justice system.  And that’s a good thing.


Law enforcement officials argue rural homeless services worsen problem


Alabama moving 600 inmates from dangerous, deteriorating Holman prison


Gov. Reeves calls for Unit 29 at Parchman to close down


Gov. Prtizker announced PD Carla Barnes will serve on Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority


Massachusetts Bail Fund wins social justice award

Of Interest:

What would a world without prisons be like?

Trade your prison sentence for a smartwatch?


Save the Date:

The ABA Public Defense Summit will be held May 29-30, 2020 in Denver, Colorado.  The Summit will focus on misdemeanor and municipal court reform efforts.  Details coming soon!

Calls for Award Nominations:

ABA SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Award
Honors young lawyers for exceptional achievements on behalf of their clients and/or in advancement of the cause of access to justice.

ABA SCLAID Harrison Tweed Award
Recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a state and local bar association that develops or significantly expands projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services to persons living in poverty or criminal defense services to indigents.

ABA Govt and Public Sector Lawyers Division Dorsey Award 
Recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or legal aid lawyer. Nominations due April 6, 2020


Ohio Supreme Court justice weighs in on public defender shortage

Ohio pours cash into paying lawyers to represent indigent clients

Ohio Senate lawmakers consider public defender loan repayments

Ohio bill will reimburse tuition for public defenders to fight shortage

Opinion: Public defender may be prudent (Jefferson County)

Indigent defense fees raised (Henry County)


Georgia Governor Brian Kemp wants to slash public defender funding by $3 million

Members who inspire – Assistant public defender: ‘I just personally like to give back’


A black defendant’s lawyer harbored such ‘extreme’ racist views that a court has granted his client a new trial

San Francisco will no longer seek cash bail in criminal cases

How a major investigation into Orange County jail informants ended with a whimper

Immigrant representation in court in doubt as move to Van Nuys is planned

Meet Mano Raju, the SF public defender who wants you to be paid more for jury duty

Meet Rachel Rossi, the progressive ex-public defender running for DA (Los Angeles)

How Rachel Rossi would change the DA’s role in Los Angeles


MO Supreme Court chief: ‘System simply does not work’ without public defender funding


Senate passes amended public defender pay parity bill


Philly public defenders move for union vote after management skips voluntary recognition

Philadelphia Defender Association refuses to recognize public defender union - for now

Fayette County commissioners terminate public defender Whiteko without making comments


Remy Starns elected as new state public defender following predecessor’s abrupt exit

Appeals court overturns contempt conviction for Lafayette public defender who filmed duct-taping incident


Macomb County creating public defender office

‘A fair fight’: Macomb County hiring to create public defender office

Macomb County takes steps to create public defender office

Kalamazoo defenders receive second year of funding from county

Task force suggests jail system changes: speed up trials, fewer license suspensions


Utah County commission signs contract with public defender association, increases budget by 13%


The State of Alaska sued itself.  Was it worth it?


Asotin County officials discuss attorney shortage for prosecution, defense


Task force says more resources needed for judicial system


Smooth sailing for public defender plan (Prince William County)

New York:

Critics question public defender hiring, lack of minorities (Niagara County)

Editorial: No defense for recent county hiring

Column: Schreiber for the defense: Former chief public defender on bail, discovery reforms

North Carolina:

Guilford County judge, public defender explain changes made to pretrial system


Md. Attorney General Frosh pushes for end to drivers losing licenses over traffic debt


Coming full circle: Karozos returns to lead state public defender office


Grundy County public defender looking to hire new assistant

Of Interest:

Architect of CIA interrogation program testifies at Guantanamo

Letter to the Editor: Right to Counsel in Housing Court


Save the Date:

The ABA Public Defense Summit will be held May 29-30, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The Summit will focus on misdemeanor and municipal court reform efforts. Details coming soon!

In Memoriam:

Andrea DeVries, Massachusetts


The road to real criminal justice reform goes through public defenders


Editorial: Are Missouri lawmakers finally ready to fix unconstitutional public defender system?

7 public defender in St. Joe cleared 1,768 cases last year. They’re asking for help.

New York:

Diversity a focus of county leaders upon public defender reappointment

Monroe County democrats question public defender hires on eve of reappointment

Public defender: New state justice reforms are step in the right direction but need revision

Jeers, Bad Government: Appointment of Niagara County’s chief public defender

Eyes wide open: Bail fight shows power of court watchers

Cash bail was never about public safety


Report: The economic, social and fiscal impact of Televerde’s prison workforce development


Bill to create new criminal justice data system introduced


Phila. Public defenders secure grant for community criminal assistance ‘hubs’

Allegheny County appoints top public defender

‘Everyone is detained’ How probation detainers can keep people locked up indefinitely – even when they haven’t committed a crime

Expungement clinic held in McKeesport

New Mexico:

Attorneys expect more Santa Fe police evidence problems

Santa Fe police evidence room: ‘All we know is that it’s a mess’


California Governor proposes millions in public defender funding to settle Sixth Amendment lawsuit

ACLU settles with California over right to criminal defense attorney

Fresno County public defender’s office to boost ranks after legal settlement with ACLU

Orange County public defenders take aim at sheriff’s department and DA’s office in filing

New DA Boudin hires public defender amid staffing shake-up

SF district attorney Chesa Boudin hires 4 attorneys after ‘Friday Night Massacre’


Governor Abbott’s campaign against the homeless isn’t just cruel – it’s dangerous


Defender Scherschligt, officials disagree over his firing (Sagamon County)


County to increase indigent defense payment (Henry County)


Wexford-Missaukee public defenders office, caseload growing


Thing debtors prisons are a thing of the past? Not in Mississippi.


Commentary: Her brother was murdered 20 years ago. His death shaped Becky Feldman’s life in the law.


40 under 40: Martesha Johnson, metropolitan public defender’s office

Of Interest:

Should judges have to weigh the price tag of sending someone to prison?

Prosecutor sues her own city under a law passed to fight the K.K.K.

As more mothers fill prisons, children suffer ‘a primal wound’

Counterpoint: Grand juries aren’t a check on prosecutors’ power

Bracing for a busy year at Guantanamo’s war court



ACLU settlement agreement secures Governor’s commitment to $14 million in added support for public defense systems

San Francisco public defender seeks restraining order protecting transgender ICE inmate

SF public defender’s office slams ICE for transferring client to Texas

Awakening to a mass-supervision crisis

Can you talk your way out of a life sentence?

Judge denies challenge to Rachel Rossi’s ballot designation as ‘Public Defender’ in race for L.A. District Attorney


‘We are upset about the suspension of Mary Moriarty’: Group defends Hennepin County’s top public defender

Our View: Public defender – A puzzling suspension with no defense

Moorehead mayor gives up public defender work, takes on new role at M State


Op-ed was wrong: Missouri’s overtaxed public defender system is no ‘huge bureaucracy’

STL County starts waitlist for public defender for defendants charged with lower-level felonies

Fox becomes the next director of the Missouri state public defender system

Missouri man who served 28 months in prison sues federal public defender’s office


Maine public defense under scrutiny: Five things to know


Lawsuit delves into public defense issues

Campaign statement: Public defender challenges Porter for judge’s seat


Attorneys frustrated with Clark County’s stance on indigent defense

County commission (Cowlitz) set to consider office of public defense contracts


County (Jefferson) will explore adding public defender

Public defenders in short supply in Jefferson County

Indigent defense fund to receive highest state reimbursement

Lucas County commissioners raise hourly rate for appointed counsel

Why is the Chief Justice of Ohio’s Supreme Court lobbying against sentencing reforms?

New Mexico:

Column: Public defenders there for wrongfully accused teen


MIDC year in review 2019

Berrien losing another chief public defender


Duke denied funds for state-funded experts and investigators in Grinstead case

Court of Appeals hears Zeh-ACLU defamation arguments

New Jersey:

NJ high court challenges public defender malpractice claims


In bizarre twist, head of public defender’s office that exposed Kealoha corruption is ousted

New York:

State grants continue to support defending St. Lawrence County indigent

Bail reform controversy marks Katz’s first week in district attorney’s office

Bail reform may make New York safer


Should a 13-year-old accused of murder be in the adult system?


Miller pleads guilty to posing as attorney in public defender’s office

Fake Illinois lawyer pleads guilty, gets probation


Governor announces criminal justice reform agenda for Virginia General Assembly session


Hinds Co. appoints new public defender


Former York County public defender changes plea in theft case

Public defender arrested, accused of trading legal fees for cocaine

Of Interest:

Lawmakers refused to increase an infamous prison’s funding.  Then, chaos erupted.

A record exec’s crusade for justice

As more mothers fill prisons, children suffer ‘a primal wound’



Minnesota public defender suspended over 'culture of fear'

Minnesota public defender Mary Moriarty suspended

Hennepin County's chief public defender placed on leave, faces review

Ellison decries defender's suspension

AG Keith Ellison seeks review of Hennepin County public defender’s suspension

Muhich to lead public defender services for Carlton County, Iron Range


St. Louis County set to start client waitlist for public defenders

Opinion: Problems with Missouri's public defender system won’t be fixed by increasing funding


Wyoming legislature advances bill to create agency for juvenile court cases


In indigent defense case, precedent for strong SJC action


Reimbursement from the state for indigent defense going up

Can Jefferson County afford public defenders in 2020?

Top Stories of 2019: State rules driving criminal justice costs


Editorial: In defense of local defense attorneys


New Board on Indigent Defense Services aims to improve the quality of legal defense for people who can’t afford a lawyer

New York:

Sweeping changes arrive in criminal justice system

Poor defendants to get better legal aid as state covers more of cost


Governor, legislators back public defender office in Prince William County

‘Still an ambush state’: The move toward discovery reform is going slowly in Virginia

Prosecutors won’t pursue marijuana possession charges in 2 Virginia counties


Column - Sadow: Louisiana’s public defense board needs reform before begging for your tax dollars


County board approves indigent defense assigned council administration contract (Cheboygan County)

Top Stories of 2019: Indigent defense offices established (Ionia and Montcalm)

Year in Review: Kalamazoo County opens first public defender’s office


Defense attorney ratchets up demands for documents in evidence scandal

Did OC Sheriff Don Barnes sit on evidence audit to further his 2018 election campaign?

Security tightens around low-level illegal entry court as number of defendants dwindles

California to allow people with felony convictions on juries beginning 2020

Alameda County judge admonished for hitting lawyer’s hand, crude language


With two more jail deaths, public defender again raises neglect concerns (Broward County)


Kentucky’s governor granted clemency to more than 600 people. Then came a firestorm.

New Jersey:

Judge nixes Mercer-Hudson inmate transfer plan pending lawsuit outcome

North Carolina:

Public defender’s offices celebrate 50 years with Guilford County leading the way

New Hampshire:

Profile: ‘The right to counsel is the difference between justice and mob justice’

Jumping to conclusions? Data needed to analyze effects of recent NH bail reforms

South Carolina:

York County public defender retires after 30 years (Harry Dest)

‘Honor of my life was helping the poor’: York public defender Harry Dest retires

New Charleston DUI court modeled on success of city’s livability court


Marion Co. defender Karozos named state public defender

State names new public defender

Bruce Andis named lead Lawrence County public defender


Editorial Commutations can relieve costs of sick and aging prison population - and reverse decades of bad policy

Bucks transition team announces chief public defender appointment

Chris Tallarico named interim chief public defender for Lancaster County


Longtime head of Cook County public defender homicide task force retires (Kulmeet Galhotra)

Kane County seeks new public defender

North Dakota:

New chief public defender named for Divide, McKenzie and Williams counties

Of Interest:

‘Everyone is detained’: How probation detainers can keep people locked up indefinitely - even when they haven’t committed a crime

Overcoming martyrdom as a mother and a lawyer