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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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May 2024

5/22/24

There’s a bit of news from all over this week. Enjoy Memorial Day weekend!

California:

Stanislaus public defense is among most understaffed, overworked in Central Valley, report says

Santa Clara County DA, public defender forewarn trouble from proposed budget cuts

Why a drug treatment unit for juveniles in LA County custody closed just months after opening

Connecticut:

Connecticut's top public defender could be fired as panel mulls punishment for alleged misconduct

Florida:

Broward public defender keeps up drumbeat for better services for mentally ill inmates in jail

Georgia:

Young Thug's historic Atlanta trial snarling the justice system 'statewide' for families seeking closure

Illinois:

Editorial: Statewide public defense office would help Illinois counties in need of support

Adams County public defender questioning local interpretation of Pretrial Fairness Act in cases of Springfield, Quincy men

Pennsylvania:

Free the PD? Report urges Allegheny County to join move toward more independent public defenders.

New report: Allegheny County indigent defense system needs ‘fundamental overhaul’

Press Release: Shapiro-Davis Administration Reminds Counties Of Upcoming Deadline To Apply For Grant Funding To Support Indigent Defense Services

Lebanon County to hire first-ever social worker for public defender’s office

Pa.’s judges must reveal the perks they accept, but the public won’t find those disclosures online

Nevada:

Carson City Supervisors to review budget, employee raises Friday

New Mexico:

Criminal defense lawyer to fill vacant judgeship on 11th Judicial District Court

North Carolina:

Inaugural chief public defender for District 32 sworn in

NC lawmakers propose limiting public access to autopsy records, including for families

Oregon:

Public defender Willy Chotzen wins Democratic primary to represent Southeast Portland in Oregon House

South Dakota:

SD public defense duties shift from counties to state

Texas:

Governor Abbott Appoints Six To Governing Board Of The Texas Indigent Defense Commission

Legal heavyweights seeking Democratic Party nomination in El Paso DA's race

Wharton County seeks indigent defense grant assistance (paywall)

Utah:

Do Utah youth get a good defense in court?

Washington:

Okanogan County adds two lawyers for indigent defendants

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Galit Lipa: The Fight to Get California to View Public Defense as a Public Good and not a Private Luxury

Molly Gilbert and Jason Schwarz: How Washington is Implementing Public Defender Workload Standards

5/15/24

Look for news this week about public defense litigation in Maine, the ongoing war on public defenders in Aurora, Colorado, and Mississippi’s failure to enact reform.

Arkansas:

Federal judge grants class action status to lawsuit over when attorneys are appointed

California:

A San Diego judge was disqualified from hearing racial bias motions. Now the motions department no longer exists

Colorado:

Aurora committee OKs ordinance sending domestic violence cases to county courts

Aurora lawmakers advance shifting domestic violence court cases despite county warnings

Illinois:

Illinois Lawmakers Continue Effort To Create Statewide Public Defender Office

Maine:

Maine's high court upholds order calling for trial over indigent defense crisis

‘Worse by the day’: ACLU report highlights growing number of Mainers without legal defense

Maine ACLU says number of un-represented criminal defendants has 'skyrocketed'

Mississippi:

MS Lawmakers considered modest public defense reforms. They rejected all of them

Why Mississippi Nixed Fixing Its Broken Public Defense System

Nebraska:

Hall County Public Defender preliminary results

New Jersey:

New Jersey Appoints Public Defender to Lead Overturning of Criminal Convictions

Pennsylvania:

Gideon's Promise Versus Gideon's Reality: Resource Shortfalls in Pennsylvania Public Defense

Nearly every county in Pennsylvania is short on public defenders, according to a new report

Virginia:

“An Impossible Choice”: Virginians Asked to Waive Constitutional Rights to Get a Plea Deal

New Public Defender Office Will Start Up Soon

Washington:

Public defender: Motions to disqualify Judge Ochoa-Bruck due to courtroom issues are impacting defendants

Wisconsin:

‘It shouldn’t be the wild west’: Wisconsin lacks clear system for tracking police caught lying

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Taylor Herbert: The Many Ways Oregon's Civil Commitment System Fails so Many

Stephen Hanlon: Case Withdrawals, Federal Funding, and the Five Year Plan to Fix Public Defense in Oregon

5/8/24

This is another pretty light week for public defense news. Look for stories about ongoing public defender shortages in Oregon, new standards in Washington, and reforms in Louisiana that threaten quality public defense.

National:

President Biden Names Forty-Ninth Round of Judicial Nominees

Connecticut:

CT lawyers group to honor embattled chief public defender for promoting inclusion, diversity

Who is TaShun Bowden-Lewis and what’s going on at the CT public defender’s office?

Indiana:

Indiana To Pilot Return To Misdemeanor Defense Reimbursement

Louisiana:

Equal justice is under threat in Louisiana

Advocates Sound Alarm On Threats To Equal Justice In Louisiana

Michigan:

Kent County pauses plan for new public defender’s office amid pushback

Kent Co. public defender office may undergo drastic changes by year's end

Michigan Senate moves first batch of department funding bills

Mississippi:

Mississippi Lawmakers Considered Modest Public Defense Reforms. They Rejected All of Them.

Dozens Jailed Without Lawyers in One Mississippi County

North Carolina:

'Life sentence on the installment plan'

Oregon:

Editorial: Public defender crisis hits Deschutes courts -- defendants and their alleged victims

‘Letting the public down:’ Deschutes DA warns of ‘severe public safety risk’ due to worsening public defender shortage

Candidates for Multnomah County District Attorney square off in final debate

Pennsylvania:

VIDEO: Pennsylvania's Wrongfully Accused: A Closer Look at the Human Cost of Miscarriages of Justice

Article: Pennsylvania’s Wrongfully Accused: A Closer Look at the Human Cost of Miscarriages of Justice

Participatory Defense Initiatives Combat Racial Inequities and Empower Community Members

Public defense committee outlines plan for state legal funding

Rhode Island:

'I'm really struggling with this one': Senate debates making it harder to get a bench trial

Texas:

Indicted Victoria County chief public defender officially begins post

Washington:

Public Defense Standards Are Changing: What Counties and Cities Need to Know

New State Bar change could leave counties without enough attorneys

Of Interest:

Charles J. Ogletree Jr.: A Humble Civil Rights Defender and Public Theologian

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Robin Bernstein: The New York Prison that Started our For Profit Prison Industry

Lee Wachocki: With Almost 3k People Unrepresented, Why is Oregon adding More Cases to the Public Defender Crisis

5/1/24

As we often see when other stories are dominating the news coverage, public defense news is fairly light this week.

Arkansas:

Overworked, understaffed, underpaid: Public defender system at the verge of crisis, panel told

California:

LA County Public Defender Unveils Innovative Office Space and Civic Art Inspired by the Criminal Legal System

LA County assistant district attorney charged with unauthorized use of peace officer files

Federal Judge Orders Alameda County District Attorney to Review 35 Capital Cases Following Disclosure of Prosecutorial Misconduct in Jury Selection

Connecticut:

Chief public defender’s hearing continued

Florida:

Jacksonville State Attorney, Public Defender re-elected without opposition

Hillsborough state attorney, public defender, judicial races take shape

Georgia:

Lack of review snags hundreds arrested by now-disbanded task force

Indiana:

Indiana to pilot return to misdemeanor defense reimbursement

Louisiana:

Public defenders should be part of the conversation about public safety

Maine:

Maine Monitor: Lack of attorneys keeps parents waiting in child removal cases

Massachusetts:

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden Pays $5,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

Nevada:

Lyon County looking for public defenders

New York:

Brooklyn Defenders celebrate legislative successes in 2023 annual report

New York boosts pay for legal defenders of children and the indigent in latest budget

North Carolina:

Meet the new public defenders (Waynesville)

Pennsylvania:

Press Release: Pennsylvania Launches State Funding Initiative to Improve Indigent Defense Services

State advisory committee releases plan for historic public defense money

Tennessee:

Hensley: TN Senate allocates budget for public safety, education, healthcare

Texas:

Harris County once projected a $5.1 million surplus. Now it's a $15.7 million deficit. What happened?

Washington:

Clark County selects director of new public defense office

Of Interest:

Howard University School of Law and U.S. Department of Justice Host Panel on International Public Defense

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

The Voices of Victims and Survivors that Alabama Ignores and Neglects w/Leah Nelson and Callie Greer

Dorsey Nunn: From Banning the Box to Restoring the Right to Vote, One Man's Struggle for the Rights of the Current and Formerly Incarcerated

April 2024

4/24/24

The news was off last week, so this is a double issue. Articles are from all over the country this week.

California:

San Benito supervisors approve public defender contract

VIDEO: Alameda County Public Defender hosting block party in Oakland

SF Public Defenders Charge SF Police Reforms Fall Short, Cite Continuing ‘Sexual Assault, Bias, Excessive Force, Unlawful Arrests, Searches’

Connecticut:

Connecticut's top public defender denies misconduct claims as commission debates firing her

Indiana:

Attorney shortage in Indiana affecting local public defender’s office

GOP gubernatorial hopefuls talk Indiana’s dormant death penalty

Illinois:

Efforts underway for statewide public defender system to ‘even legal playing field’

Louisiana:

Landry’s Power Play Over Public Defense in Louisiana

Maine:

Lack of attorneys keeps parents waiting in child removal cases

Minnesota:

This Prosecutor Pledged to Change George Floyd’s City. Her Critics Are Circling.

New Hampshire:

Sarah Blodgett named new NHBA executive director

New York:

VIDEO: 'Bail Reform Is The Right Move - It Does Keep Us Safe': Public Defender Talks Crime In NYC

North Carolina:

NC judicial branch at odds over what to ask from lawmakers. How jobs, eCourts are factors

Sampson County provides office space for public defenders

North Dakota:

Public defenders underpaid, overworked, North Dakota report says

Ohio:

Commission approves Mitchell Williams as new Franklin County Public Defender

Oregon:

Longtime health administrator, public defender compete to represent Southeast Portland in Oregon House

Texas:

Dallas County infighting keeps defendants from having attorney at first court hearing

Texas Prosecution of Progressive District Attorney Gets Hearing

Washington:

Proposed changes to public defender caseloads could hurt rural counties

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Where is the Ethical Limit for Zealous Criminal Defense Advocacy? w/Martín Sabelli

Why Isn't a Cop Who was Indicted for Shooting an Unarmed Person Being Prosecuted? w/Andrew Darling

Why Are People Being Found Not Guilty but Still Going to Prison? w/Andrea Jaeger

How the DVSJA Gave Two Survivors of Domestic Violence a Second Chance w/Assia Serrano and Trinity Copeland

Why is this Vitally Important Forensic Science so Rarely Used by Defense Attorneys and the Legal System? w/Dr. Shameka Stewart

From a 25% Vacancy Rate to Nearly Zero, How the Montana Public Defender System Came Back from the Brink w/Brett Schandelson

Beacon:

Maine’s long-awaited public defenders

4/10/24

Thanks to all who participated in the ABA Public Defense Summit last week. Special thanks to the ABA Indigent Defense Advisory Group members who assisted with conference planning and moderating, and to the many folks who volunteered time to speak! It was a big success. We will plan to make the conference videos freely available (without CLE credit) in the coming weeks.

This is a double issue. The news was off last week due to the Summit.

National:

ABA criminal justice and legal aid sections launch Task Force for Public Defense Independence

6AC: Interactive Right to Counsel Map

California:

Strike 6: New lawsuit hits in San Mateo County, California

LA Public Defender CIO digitizes to divert people to programs, not prison

Renowned Civil Rights and Legal Organizations File Petition Challenging California Death Penalty

Letter: SF Public Defender’s Racial Justice Committee Supports Davis’ Proposed Ban on Facial Recognition

San Joaquin County to pay $250K to former public defender who sued over sexual harassment, retaliation

Colorado:

Aurora leaders threaten to end city's domestic violence prosecution if state legislation passes

Aurora City Council to discuss indigent defense, I-225 safety

Connecticut:

CT commission may begin decision-making on future of chief public defender put on leave

Florida:

Daniel Eisinger campaign for Palm Beach Public Defender reports $100K haul in Q1

Florida Supreme Court disbars former Jacksonville Public Defender, suspends 4 attorneys

Illinois:

Illinois lawmakers consider support for public defender system

Louisiana:

Law to bar people from approaching law enforcement officers advances in legislature

Maine:

Letter: No corner turned on indigent legal services

Minnesota:

Hennepin County public defender concerned clients will miss court appearances without rideshare

Nevada:

OPINION: Do Nevada’s indigent defense standards hold up 15 years later?

New York:

New Leader Discusses The Next Era For NY Federal Defenders

Waite: Amid hiring struggles, public defenders question Schenectady County’s support

North Carolina:

Harjo Leads Indigent Defense (Wilmington)

Ohio:

Cuyahoga County should increase use of public defenders to represent juvenile clients

Pennsylvania:

Public Defender’s Office celebrates 90 years with its first fundraiser to help support new attorneys

Opioid settlement cash a boon to Pa. prosecutors but public defenders are being turned away

South Dakota:

Law school dean, public defender, judge appointed to state public defense commission

Fulton Named To SD Public Defense Commission

Texas:

Brazos County public defenders take nearly 500 cases in first year

Victoria County's new chief public defender indicted, county judge says

Texas criminal appeals court takes man off death row over intellectual disability

Washington:

NCW public defenders want to be optimistic about new caseload limits

Judge tosses counties’ lawsuit pressing for more state funding for public defenders

Future of WA public defense funding unclear after judge tosses lawsuit       

Yakima's DAC in-house capacity reaches its limit

Guam:

Chief justice calls for indigent defense reform, supports independent board

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

ALAA's Ceasefire Resolution and the Fallout From it: Part I w/Michael Letwin

ALAA's Ceasefire Resolution and the Fallout From it: Part II w/Sophia Gurulé and Pooja Patel

RE-RELEASE: How Moral Injury, Stress, and Trauma Impact Public Defense with Jenny Andrews

The Future Looks Bright for New Jersey Public Defense w/Jennifer Sellitt

How Moral Injury, Stress, and Trauma Impact Public Defense with Jenny Andrews

The Case for Decriminalizing Domestic Violence w/Leigh Goodmark

The New York Law Giving a Second Chance to Criminalized Domestic Violence Survivors w/Elizabeth Isaacs

March 2024

3/27/24

ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is approaching! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. It’s a great way to get most of your annual CLE requirements knocked out. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section. Register nowLearn more about how the 2023 National Public Defense Workload Study was developed and how to use it to advocate for reform.

Look for news this week about a welcome fix for the federal defender budget crisis, changes in Louisiana that threaten defender independence, a potential scandal in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s juvenile appointment system, and new developments for reform in Maine, Oregon, and Washington.

National:

Hiring freeze lifted for federal public defenders amid new funding

US judiciary set to receive modest spending boost from Congress

Sen. Welch applauds federal public defender funding

Of Interest:

Sixth Amendment Center Launches New Right to Counsel Interactive Website

Arizona:

Pinal County Public Defender Kate Milewski Honored with Rothstein Achievement Award by AACJ

California:

Meet the Los Angeles County Public Defender Side Hustling as a Dumpling Master

Colorado:

Governor Polis Announces Panel to Review Applications for the District Attorney in the 16th Judicial District

Florida:

Tribute to former Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger to be held Saturday

Illinois:

Illinois Supreme Court approves report and recommendations from Pretrial Release Appeals Task Force

Iowa:

Defense by court-appointed attorneys is a constitutional right: Iowa should pay for it

Louisiana:

6AC: Louisiana Governor institutionalizes political interference

Senate Bill 8, which is now law, favors tyranny over justice

LSU law student: Legislation discourages next generation of public defenders

Landry’s public defender board scheduled to meet, but all members haven’t been picked

Jeff Landry selects a state public defender, names 4 appointees to oversight board

Maine:

Maine governor signs bill to fund more public defenders

This chart shows how bad Maine’s indigent defense system has gotten

Maine’s new public defense offices face staffing challenges

OPINION: Public defenders’ plight finally gets attention

Maine to add 2 more public defender offices

Maryland:

Maryland Celebrates 61 Years of Right to Counsel for All With Gideon’s Day Event

New York:

Gov’s cut to criminal public defense remains as budget deadline nears

North Carolina:

A. Traynham Dorn Appointed As Johnston County’s First Public Defender

Ohio:

For a handful of lawyers in Cuyahoga County, juvenile cases are big business

Advocates ask Ohio Public Defender Commission to investigate Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court

Oregon:

Oregon public defense report lays out plan for more hires, funds to address crisis

Editorial: It may take hundreds of millions to resolve Oregon's public defender crisis

South Dakota:

Notable South Dakota jurists to help standup state-run public defenders office

SD no longer only state to saddle counties with all indigent defense costs

Texas:

Victoria County commissioners appoint chief public defender

Washington:

Spokane County leaders concerned about public defense resources

Public defender issue finally eyed

Guam:

6AC: New Guam report finds judicial influence over indigent defense

Sixth Amendment Center evaluation dissects the right to counsel on Guam

3/20/24

ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is approaching! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. It’s a great way to get most of your annual CLE requirements knocked out. Representative Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, one of the most passionate public defense advocates in Congress, will be giving opening remarks. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section. Register now!

Happy (belated) Gideon Day!

Of Interest:

Vera Institute: Immigrants Facing Deportation Were Excluded from the Right to a Lawyer 61 Years Ago—the Fairness to Freedom Act Would Change That

Alabama:

Alabama House OKs pay increase for attorneys representing indigent clients

California:

Budget cuts and hardened opinions on crime sour public defenders

National Public Defense Day: Nevada County taking steps to ensure fair and speedy trials

Calif. County's Indigent Defense System Is Illegal, Atty Says

‘It feels like I represent my entire race’: Defenders at Berkeley hosts Public Defenders of Color panel

Colorado:

Aurora's request for proposals to determine cost of contracting public defenders comes up empty

Florida:

Former Jacksonville Public Defender Matt Shirk disbarred

Idaho:

Bryan Kohberger’s Public Defender Argues Against Expansion of Death Penalty Cases to State Panel

Indiana:

Criminal justice policy in the crosshairs of the session

Maine:

State urges judge to not add governor, attorney general to indigent defense lawsuit

Massachusetts:

Ngubeni & Wayne: Celebrate, support public defenders

Michigan:

Kent County could replace public defender nonprofit

New Jersey:

We are defenders of the public | Opinion

New York:

Gov. Hochul faces backlash over attempt to divert $120m from legal aid fund

Commentary: Gideon's promise

North Carolina:

New Johnston County public defender expected to help carry heavy caseload

A. Traynham Dorn Appointed as Johnston County's First Public Defender

North Dakota:

Public defenders underpaid, overworked, North Dakota report says

Oregon:

How recriminalization could impact Oregon public defenders

New report says an Oregon public defender’s poor performance affected 100 clients

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Makes Historic Move Towards Equal Justice with Indigent Defense Funding

Senator Hughes and Pennsylvania Leaders Mark Historic Milestone for PA Public Defense and Criminal Justice

Next to last in the nation: PA finally provides funding for indigent defense

South Dakota:

6th Amendment Center: S.D. leaves nation’s “no state funding” list in groundbreaking legislation

South Dakota public defense duties shift from counties to state

South Dakota no longer only state to saddle counties with all indigent defense costs

Texas:

Commissioner Price To Discuss The Findings Of The Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC) On First Degree And Capital Murder Charges In The Dallas County Court System

Public Defense Group Charges System-Wide Deficiencies in Texas County Criminal Defense Representation

Virginia:

Bill to provide more funding to Virginia court-appointed attorneys awaits Youngkin signature

Virginia’s court appointed attorneys could see first raise in 20 years

Washington:

Change in indigent defense caseloads could force counties to hire many more attorneys

Washington State Bar Association OKs Far Lower Caseloads for Public Defenders

Wisconsin:

Judge orders state to produce data on indigent defendants in Wisconsin as lawyers seek class-action lawsuit

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Securing Life over Death in the Aurora Theater Shooting Case w/Doug Wilson

The Cuyahoga County Youth Public Defenders Want More Cases, So Why Aren't They Getting Them? w/Nikki Baszynski

3/13/24

ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is approaching! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. It’s a great way to get most of your annual CLE requirements knocked out. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section. Register now!

Alabama:

House committee approves bills increasing pay for attorneys representing indigent clients

California:

COMMENTARY: Advocating for a Public Defender’s Office in San Benito County

San Benito supervisors select new interim public defender

Florida:

2nd Hand Trauma of Crime: A Public Defender’s Story

Louisiana:

With Sweeping New Laws, Louisiana Embraces Tough-on-Crime Approach

Maine:

ACLU’s updated lawsuit challenges legality of holding unrepresented, jailed Mainers

New Jersey:

'Broken' NJ Parole System Denies Over 50% Of Cases: New Report

New York:

NYSBA Supports Funding of the Indigent Legal Services Fund

Town of Ulster hires substitutes for public defenders during late nights and weekends

Pennsylvania:

Sobeski-Reedy named to state's new Indigent Defense Advisory Committee

Texas:

Progressives Win Two Texas District Attorney Races

Virginia:

Ruzic: Reflecting on the anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright

Washington:

Washington Bar approves much lower caseloads for public defenders

WA public defense crisis ‘fix’ will bankrupt counties, say Franklin officials

VIDEO: Another complication for battle over public defense funding

WA to train public defenders, prosecutors for rural, underserved areas

In Memoriam:

Bob Dillinger, longtime Pinellas Public Defender, dies

Podcasts:

How a Holistic Defense Team Filled Critical Gaps in D.C.'s Youth Legal System w/Penelope Spain

As States Criminalize LGBTQ+ People, How can Lawyers Fight Back? w/Richard Saenz

3/6/24

Registration for ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is now live! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. The past year has seen two important developments in public defense standards. In August 2023, the ABA enacted the Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, thereby updating its core public defense standards for the needs of modern defense counsel and their clients. The following month saw the release of National Public Defense Workload Study, which employed empirical data and the consensus view of public defense experts to shed new light on the workload crisis facing defenders nationwide. This program will explore how facets of these new developments will shape public defender advocacy and policy in years to come. Ethics credit will be included. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.

Look for articles this issue about South Dakota’s public defense overhaul, a bill threatening public defender independence in Louisiana, public defender privatization in Colorado, the ongoing threat to federal public defender funding, and much more. The news was off last week so this is a double issue.

National:

Lawmakers press to avoid funding pitfall for public defenders

Democratic US senators say judiciary to blame for public defenders' budget woes

ABA President’s Letter on Federal Public Defender Funding

An Unwavering Commitment to Justice: ABA Advocacy for LSC Funding

Of Interest:

Journal Article: The Stress of Injustice: Public Defenders and the Frontline of American Inequality

Longtime civil rights advocate Emmet Bondurant will receive this year's ABA Medal

California:

Public defender services in the county are inadequate, report says

Public Defenders Running For Judge Want To Reduce Mass Incarceration In Los Angeles

Organizers of recall against Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price turn in signatures

Colorado:

Aurora’s Public Defender Privatization Plan Faces Scrutiny Ahead of Council Vote

Looking ahead in Aurora: immigration, public defense, retail theft major topics at council meetings

Speakers chide Aurora council after ceasefire, public defender resolutions pushed off agenda

Court delays mount 2 weeks into ransomware attack on Colorado public defender’s office

Idaho:

ACLU again challenges Idaho's public defense provision


Illinois:

Court Clerk’s Error Exposed Data Involving Thousands of Juvenile Defendants, Violating State Law

Iowa:

Iowa's Legal Dilemma: Indigent Defense Pay Crisis and Its Broad Social Impact

Louisiana:

Opinion: Opposing Centralized Public Defender Board

Will state public defender overhaul affect Caddo Parish Public Defender's Office? Find out

Proposed Louisiana public defender overhaul is a power grab, critics say

Guest column: Eliminating public defender board unnecessary, sets up potential conflicts

Maine:

Lawsuit over indigent clients in Maine headed to trial after settlement rejected

Indigent defense case returns to court as Maine on precipice of ‘constitutional crisis’

Maine Judge Rushes Solution To Lack Of Public Defenders

Mississippi:

No Questions, Multiple Denials: This Mississippi Court Appoints Lawyers for Just 1 in 5 Defendants Before Indictment

Pennsylvania:

A group of 20-somethings in Delco is sparking a ‘public defense renaissance’

Siegel: Everyone Deserves Right to Council

South Dakota:

Bill To Establish Indigent Legal Services Commission, Office Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

Senate panel backs more help for indigent defense

A Unanimous Step Forward: South Dakota Moves to Establish State Public Defender's Office

Bill to create extra funding for SD's indigent defense office stumbles at the start

Lawmakers, court system sees urgent need for public defense reform

South Dakota Senate adds $3 million to statewide public defender bill to reimburse counties

VIEWPOINT | Criminal justice reform best solution for South Dakota

Indigent Legal Defense: South Dakota State Senate passed House Bill 1057

Public defense reform reaches governor's desk

Tennessee:

Coalition aims to break cycle of poverty with sweeping ‘More For Memphis’ initiative

Texas:

New Report from Texas Defender Service Examines Ongoing Racial Disparities in Harris County Death Penalty Practices and Recommends Reforms

Texas Gives $125M to Rural Sheriffs, Prosecutors for Pay Increases

Washington:

Public defenders struggle with big caseloads

WA’s public defender system is breaking down, communities reeling

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

How Anecdotes and Fear are Driving Maryland to Undo the Juvenile Justice Reform Act w/Natasha Dartigue and Alycia Capozello

Even if You're Found Not Guilty, Iowa Makes You Pay for the Full Cost of Your Public Defender w/Alex Kornya

The Copaganda Fueling the Retail Theft Crisis that Never Was w/Brad Haywood

The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death, and the Soul of Policing w/Michael Sierra-Arévalo

How Three L.A. Public Defenders Hope to Change the Legal System by Becoming Judges w/Ericka Wiley, George Turner, and Kim Repecka

February 2024

2/21/24

This week, look for news out of Louisiana, where the governor is proposing legislation that would place the state public defender under his direct control.

Registration for ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is now live! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. The past year has seen two important developments in public defense standards. In August 2023, the ABA enacted the Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, thereby updating its core public defense standards for the needs of modern defense counsel and their clients. The following month saw the release of National Public Defense Workload Study, which employed empirical data and the consensus view of public defense experts to shed new light on the workload crisis facing defenders nationwide. This program will explore how facets of these new developments will shape public defender advocacy and policy in years to come. Ethics credit will be included. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.

Alabama:

Alabama Senate Approves Bill to Raise Pay for Indigent Defense Attorneys

Bill increasing pay for attorneys representing indigent clients passes Alabama Senate

California:

CA state attorneys will be deployed to Alameda Co. to boost criminal prosecutions

Judge 'pantomimed something similar to a lap dance' on public defender's wife at outing, ethics complaint alleges

Illinois:

Pratt ‘trying to salvage what is left’ after judges name him interim chief public defender (Qunicy)

Iowa:

Iowans face hefty public defender fees even when acquitted

Louisiana:

Jeff Landry seeks control of public defense, aims to replace state board with appointee

OPINION | Centralizing state Public Defender Board in a new bureaucracy is ill-advised

Proposed Louisiana public defender overhaul is a power grab, critics say

Louisiana special session aims to take a bite out of crime

Missouri:

McClellan: Hippie-turned-public defender fights his last fight

Nebraska:

Hall County public defender not seeking reelection

New York:

NYC defense lawyers with indigent clients vulnerable to fraud, check theft

Pennsylvania:

PCCD hosts inaugural meeting of Indigent Defense Advisory Committee

Editorial: Shapiro's indigent defense funding proposal another step in the right direction

Texas:

Harris County Democrats split over heated district attorney race

Washington:

Can the Underfunded, Overloaded Public Defender System Avoid Collapse?

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Death by Design: The Death Penalty in Harris County, Texas w/Jessica Brand

Sometimes to Fix a Public Defender System, You have to be Willing to Let it Fail w/James McDermott and Paul Chambers

2/14/24

Registration for ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is now live! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. The past year has seen two important developments in public defense standards. In August 2023, the ABA enacted the Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, thereby updating its core public defense standards for the needs of modern defense counsel and their clients. The following month saw the release of National Public Defense Workload Study, which employed empirical data and the consensus view of public defense experts to shed new light on the workload crisis facing defenders nationwide. This program will explore how facets of these new developments will shape public defender advocacy and policy in years to come. Ethics credit will be included. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Our news team was out sick last week, so this is a double issue.

National:

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Sets Publication Date for Forthcoming Memoir

Arkansas:

Baxter Co. Personnel Committee to meet Thursday; staffing request for Public Defender

California:

San Diego County has a new public defender, but the selection process troubled some

LA County DA Election Guide: Balancing Justice and Reform in a Pivotal Race

Colorado:

Cyberattack shuts down Colorado public defender’s office

Connecticut:

CT chief public defender TaShun Bowden-Lewis placed on leave

Florida:

Fla. Courts' Fines And Fees Trap Poor In Debt, ABA Finds

LISTEN: Report Slams Florida For High Fees and Fines for Low-Level Charges

Illinois:

Pay raises sought for prosecutors and public defenders in McHenry County court amid recruiting struggles

Iowa:

If You Can’t Afford an Attorney, One Will Be Appointed. And You May Get a Huge Bill

Louisiana:

Gov. Landry sets wide agenda for special legislative session on crime

Prosecutor case backlogs worsened after the pandemic. Here’s how Baton Rouge is affected.

Maine:

Lawyers say they have limited access to clients at Maine’s lone youth prison

Maryland:

Maryland's new juvenile crime bill sparks extensive debate in Annapolis

Michigan:

Opinion | Michigan must prioritize investment in safety, prosperity, equity

New Jersey:

Bayonne Municipal Court Gets New Public Defender

New York:

VIDEO: Julie Cianca reappointed as Monroe County Public Defender

Oregon:

Editorial: Oregon's public defense system remains in crisis

Medford’s new community outreach court takes justice to the streets

Pennsylvania:

Press Release: Governor Shapiro Unveils 2024-25 Budget Proposal to Get Stuff Done, Create Opportunity, and Advance Real Freedom for All Pennsylvanians

‘The need is great’ for funding public defenders, Shapiro says after proposing $10M increase

Committee begins work to distribute Pa. public defender money as Shapiro asks for more

The petitions are in. Here’s who’s running for Pennsylvania attorney general

Snyder to serve on newly created Indigent Defense Advisory Committee (Clinton Co.)

Montgomery County chief public defender appointed to Pennsylvania Indigent Defense Advisory Committee

South Dakota:

Proposed state public defender commission gets term limits added during floor debate

Tennessee:

Court official: Funding ‘crisis’ looms for indigent criminal legal defense

Virginia:

Wilt's Bill For Public Defender's Office Heads To House Of Delegates (Harrisonburg/Rockingham)

Northern Mariana Islands:

Public defender joins private attorneys in opposing subpoena bill

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

What has Actually Happened Since Illinois Abolished Cash Bail w/Sharlyn Grace, Celeste Korando, and Victoria Kerr

How Public Defenders Can and Have Beaten Mass Immigration Prosecutions w/Eric Fish

The Washington Supreme Court Case Giving 500,000+ a New Chance at Freedom w/Grace O'Connor, Nat Jacob, and Kimonti Carter

One Journalist's Effort to Uncover the Rot in Kentucky's Legal System w/Taylor Six

How the Legal System Abuses and Ignores the Rights of Incarcerated People w/Kaelen Perrochet

Using the Carrot and the Stick to Improve Texas Public Defense w/Geoff Burkhart

2/2/24

Registration for ABA SCLAID’s 2024 Public Defense Summit is now live! The summit will be held virtually on April 4 and 5, 2024. The past year has seen two important developments in public defense standards. In August 2023, the ABA enacted the Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, thereby updating its core public defense standards for the needs of modern defense counsel and their clients. The following month saw the release of National Public Defense Workload Study, which employed empirical data and the consensus view of public defense experts to shed new light on the workload crisis facing defenders nationwide. This program will explore how facets of these new developments will shape public defender advocacy and policy in years to come. Ethics credit will be included. The summit is co-sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section. More details will come soon!

California:

Some public defender offices in rural California are in dire need of lawyers

Censured San Diego judge denies ‘racist and insensitive comments’ alleged by public defender chiefs

Chesa Boudin Ally Challenges District Attorney Brooke Jenkins

Ericka Wiley Is Campaigning to Be a Judge (Los Angeles)

Prosecutors sue George Gascón to get records of controversial DA hires

Colorado:

In house or privatize: Comparing indigent legal defense in Aurora, Denver and Colorado Springs

Florida:

NAACP, Public Defender call for accountability after inmate deaths at Broward jails

Idaho:

Longtime public defender appointed magistrate judge for Lincoln County

Illinois:

With Adams County Public Defender’s office already shorthanded, Nelson leaving as chief public defender on Feb. 15

Kansas:

Kansas public defenders got raises. But their dissatisfaction with pay almost doubled

Louisiana:

Gov. Jeff Landry's transition team recommends rollback of criminal justice laws

Former Evangeline chief public defender accused of overcompensation, refuses to return money

Maryland:

‘We need accountability': Maryland leaders propose juvenile justice reform

Minnesota:

Public defender pay raise shakes up staffing in Minnesota county attorney offices

North Carolina:

Public defender Champion has office up and running – even without office space

Ohio:

Ohio State Bar Association presents report and recommendations for how to reform Ohio’s indigent defense system before General Assembly task force

Oklahoma:

Bob Ravitz's leadership remembered by family of attorneys, advocates

Oregon:

Misdemeanor Bootcamp held to help fill the gap for indigent criminal defense in Oregon

Pennsylvania:

Luzerne County manager preparing for decision on two division head nominees

Short-handed Northampton County DA faces an enormous backlog of cases

South Dakota:

State public defender’s office, pipeline bills are focuses for Mortenson this week

Washington:

‘Verge of collapse’: Washington public defenders swamped by cases

‘Rights are being violated’: WA public defender shortage leads to alleged gap in representation

January 2024

1/24/24

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association are seeking nominations for the next Harrison Tweed Award. The Harrison Tweed Award was created in 1956 to recognize the extraordinary achievements of state and local bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs to increase access to civil legal and criminal defense services to persons who cannot afford an attorney. Nominations are due by April 26, 2024. Please view award history, criteria, and submit nominations online.

Of Interest:

The Surprising Downside of a Criminal Justice Trend Reformers Might Think They Love

California:

Defense attorneys seek judge’s order banning further inaccurate fentanyl ads from Sonoma County DA

Public defender's office accuses San Diego County DA's Office of racial bias in plea deals

Maine:

New rules could make it harder for incarcerated Mainers to get lawyers

Michigan:

Stateside Podcast: Reforming MI's juvenile justice system

New Jersey:

New state public defender aims to bring modern approach to indigent defense

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma County Chief Public Defender passes away

Oregon:

Record Numbers of People Face Criminal Charges in Multnomah County With No Defense Attorney

VIDEO: Public defender running for Jackson Co DA

Pennsylvania:

Innamorato appoints public defender, nominates solicitor (Pittsburgh)

South Dakota:

South Dakota Bill Advances, Proposing More Legal Representation for People Who Can't Pay

Series of prison, criminal defense bills move through SD Legislature

Texas:

Smith County judges discuss solutions to problems retaining, attracting indigent criminal defense attorneys

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

The Fight Against Mass Immigration Prosecutions w/Kimberly Simmons and Jamie Spencer

The Problems with Public Defense in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska, and California w/Radley Balko

1/19/24

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association are seeking nominations for the next Harrison Tweed Award. The Harrison Tweed Award was created in 1956 to recognize the extraordinary achievements of state and local bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs to increase access to civil legal and criminal defense services to persons who cannot afford an attorney. Nominations are due by April 26, 2024. Please view award history, criteria, and submit nominations online.

California:

A year after the death of OC lawyer Elliot Blair in Mexico, mystery remains but healing begins

Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on police accountability

Georgia:

He defended Columbus area residents unable to afford a lawyer. Robert Wadkins Sr. dies

Indiana:

Misdemeanor reimbursement pilot program included in new Senate bill: 7 counties could take part in new program under SB 179

Karozos appointed to second term as state public defender

Iowa:

Pay judges more, Iowa’s chief justice tells lawmakers

Kentucky:

State Department of Public Advocacy in process of taking over Louisville Public Defender's Office

Louisville's public defenders hopeful for changes as state takes over office (VIDEO)

Maine:

Maine’s court-appointed lawyers are ‘saturated’ with criminal, parental caseloads

Michigan:

Macomb County Public Defender unit moves into new offices

Macomb County highlights new facility for the public defender, plans to keep hiring more attorneys

North Carolina:

Statesville attorney appointed chief public defender for 32nd Judicial District

Ohio:

Marshall Project: How Cuyahoga County Picks Attorneys to Represent Children

Pennsylvania:

Wren Collective: Pa. needs to adequately fund indigent defense

Court-appointed defense lawyers costs nearly doubled in 2023

Client model drives Lehigh County, Pa. indigent services

PA provides state money for public defense for the first time

South Dakota:

Lawmakers advance plan to put prison legal defense costs on state ledger

State of the Judiciary 'plants seeds' for the future of South Dakota courts

Texas:

Public Defender Warns City’s Proposed First Hearing Process Circumvents Critical Processes

Virginia:

Proposed bill would create public defender office for Harrisonburg, Rockingham

Wisconsin:

Public Defender Board Chair Jim Brennan: Opens recruitment for next Wisconsin State Public Defender

Public defender delays persist (VIDEO)

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

The Incredible Success of Missouri's Holistic Public Defense Program w/Annie Legomsky

Ending Mississippi's Criminal Law "Dead Zone" and the Challenge of Securing Public Defender "Wins" w/Andre de Gruy

1/10/24

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association are seeking nominations for the next Harrison Tweed Award. The Harrison Tweed Award was created in 1956 to recognize the extraordinary achievements of state and local bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs to increase access to civil legal and criminal defense services to persons who cannot afford an attorney. Nominations are due by April 26, 2024. Please view award history, criteria, and submit nominations online.

This is a light week for public defense news as journalists around the country continue to ease out of their New Year’s Eve hangovers.

Arkansas:

Concerns grow for Arkansas jail overcrowding with New “Truth in Sentencing” law

Michigan:

Opinion: Michigan must pass bill to ensure juveniles receive legal counsel

New York:

Margaret Walker appointed as Dutchess County's first female public defender

Advocates Demand Former Brooklyn Prosecutor Mark Hale Be Held Accountable for Trial Misconduct

North Carolina:

Hail to the ‘Chief’ (Northampton Co.)

Judge Weighs Judiciary’s Role in Ex-Defender’s Harassment Suit

Pennsylvania:

New Cambria County's chief public defender excited to take over, has his sights set on hiring more full-time

Cambria County attorneys establish law firm together in Ebensburg

Editorial: The ups and downs of Westmoreland pay raises

South Carolina:

South Carolina’s Backlog of Criminal Cases May Soon See Resolution

South Dakota:

Minnehaha Co. defense lawyers say state is working to resolve inmate client access issue

Virginia:

Virginia's culture warrior attorney general: How Jason Miyares turned an office for the wrongly convicted into a MAGA propaganda mill

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Chipping Away at Virginia's Cruel Legal System, One Policy at a Time w/Rob Poggenklass, Andy Elders, and Ashley Shapiro

The Coalition Trying to Abolish the Death Penalty in Nevada w/Nancy Hart and Chris Peterson
 

1/3/24

Happy New Year readers!

National:

'Stunning Diversity': How Joe Biden Reshaped The Courts In 2023

California:

In L.A. District Attorney Race, Rhetoric Shifts From Reform to Fear

Sacramento deputies stopped Black drivers for minor violations 5 times more than white drivers

LA County Deputy Public Defender Released After 21 Months In Venezuelan Prison

Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on the death penalty

San Diego County hires longtime deputy public defender as office’s new chief

Connecticut:

Attorney for chief public defender accuses commission of discrimination, retaliation

Florida:

Broward Public Defender Gordon Weekes calls for oversight of jails after latest inmate death

Illinois:

Stalled Justice: Slow Cook County courts see progress in 2023, but some decade-old cases still linger on dockets

Maryland:

Letters: Maryland Office of the Public Defender plagued by underfunding

Michigan:

Low pay rates lead to attorney shortage for courts

Minnesota:

Hennepin County Attorney to require law enforcement to disclose more of officers' misconduct history

New York:

Serino nominates woman to be public defender

North Carolina:

New public defender office to serve four NC counties

Public Defender Office for Judicial District 7 approved

Dobson named chief public defender in new district

Ohio:

Study Critical of Appointed Attorney Process in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court

Pennsylvania:

Public Defender: State indigent defense funding ‘huge win’             

Pennsylvania begins funding criminal defense for those who cannot afford an attorney

Texas:

Here's what to expect if you've been appointed a criminal defense lawyer in Harris County

Virginia:

Despite defendants’ inability to pay court fees, many still incur costs

Washington:

Attorney shortage continues in courts around WA, with new proposals on the table

Legislation aims to keep public defense from spinning into crisis

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

Securing Life over Death in the Parkland School Shooting Case w/Casey Secor and Kate O'Shea

Aurora City Council's Continued Effort to Disband the Public Defender Office w/Elizabeth Cadiz

December 2023

12/20/23

It’s a light week for news but look for articles out of Texas about the Wren Collective’s new study on death penalty representation in Harris County, as well as news about Pennsylvania finally funding public defense at the state level.

This is the last newsletter of 2023. See you all next year!

National:

Nancy La Vigne & Rachel Rossi: 60 years After Gideon v. Wainwright: Bridging the gap in access to justice

Arizona:

La Paz County’s first Public Defender has thoughts on office closure

Colorado:

Offense for the defense: Aurora public defenders take the stand

Georgia:

Bernard to Lead Rockdale Public Defender Office

Michigan:

Opinion: The Legislature passed juvenile justice reforms. They didn't do enough.

Minnesota:

Public defender appointed to bench in First Judicial District

New York:

How the Israel-Hamas War Tore Apart Public Defenders in the Bronx

Oregon:

Recriminalizing drugs would be a bad choice for Oregon

Pennsylvania:

'Getting closer to true justice:' Pennsylvania funds indigent defense for first time

For the first time, Pa. will provide counties with funding to help indigent defendants

Texas:

The Wren Collective’s Report on Capital Representation in Harris County

Shoddy work from Houston lawyers, judges jeopardizes justice in death penalty cases, study reveals

Harris County Judge Natalia Cornelio Faces Accusations of Delaying Death Penalty Cases Amid Critique of Houston's Troubled Legal System

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and What is Next for Idaho Public Defense

The Rise of Big Data Policing and the Dangers of the Digital Age of Surveillance w/Andrew Ferguson

12/13/23

Glossy printed booklets of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense’s Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System are available. If you’d like copies for your office, email Caroline Lucius at [email protected] with your name, mailing address, and number of copies requested (within reason). We will send them to you free of charge.

Arizona:

Supervisors vote to close La Paz County Public Defender’s office

California:

San Francisco public defender invokes "Racial Justice Act" in police-shooting case

Colorado:

Failures in Colorado’s courts, mental health system strand hundreds in “vicious cycle” of competency process

Attack on the poor or the pursuit of efficiency? Aurora considering getting rid of public defenders.

Former prosecutor found guilty

Connecticut:

A CT official made a misogynist social media post. Ex-inmates say his message is being misinterpreted

Louisiana:

After attorneys claim unpaid vacation time, Baton Rouge public defender settles for $110K

Maryland:

Maryland doesn’t have enough public defenders. Here’s what they say they need.

Maryland handgun license law gets temporary win as appeals court ruling looms

Michigan:

Gilchrist signs bipartisan bills aimed at reforming Michigan juvenile justice system

LEO awards over $1.3 million to Kalamazoo Defender, Inc. to help expand services

Montana:

Organization provides bridge to services on Flathead Reservation

New Hampshire:

Amid overdose crisis, NH debates over two bail statutes and a death-resulting drug case

New Mexico:

Prosecutors say they need bigger budgets than public defenders because they have more legal burdens

North Carolina:

Local Bar Association nominates two Statesville attorneys for newly created chief public defender position

Oklahoma:

Warrant clearance event gives people chances to avoid jail time for simple offenses

Oregon:

Wyden Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Support Judge Amy Baggio’s Nomination

Pennsylvania:

Report documents racial disparities in Allegheny County justice system, offers solutions

Rob Perkins: Our indigent defense system is (still) broken. Here's why that matters (Alleghany County).

Editorial: Audit is an opportunity to overhaul Allegheny County indigent defense system

Immigration activists join with public defender and DA’s offices to protest alleged ICE arrests at Philly courthouses

South Dakota:

Noem Unveils $7.3-B Proposed FY 25Budget

2023 proposed governor budget sees improvements to South Dakota’s justice system

Texas:

Victoria County commissioners continue steps in creating public defender office

Brazos County Public Defenders talk future growth during oversight meeting

Damning Report On Texas Death Row Cases: ‘The System Is Utterly Broken’

Report Highlights Failures in Texas Death Row System

Virginia:

6AC: Virginia legislative report finds low fee caps cause problems

Hampton chief public defender sued for racial discrimination

Washington:

Commissioners approve new contracts for public defenders

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

The Dangerous Expansion of Facial Recognition Technology w/Clare Garvie

The Digital General Warrants Encroaching on Your Right to Privacy w/Mike Price

12/6/23

Glossy printed booklets of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense’s Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System will be available very soon. If you’d like copies for your office, email Caroline Lucius at [email protected] with your name, mailing address, and number of copies requested (within reason). We will send them to you free of charge.

A recording of ABA SCLAID and the SMU Deason Center’s webinar on the use of the new Public Defense Workload Study (scroll down for video) and the corresponding public defense principle is now available. Thanks again to Malia Brink and Cynthia Lee for lending their expertise to this important discussion!

National:

Vera Institute: How “Collateral Consequences” Keep People Trapped in the Legal System

California:

ACLU Challenges Recall of Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price

Colorado:

Aurora City Council to look at cost of privatizing public defender services

Florida:

In The Know Host Willard Shepard talks with Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender

Hillsborough public defender is blocked from representing an inmate in a dispute over restitution

Abortion rights organization wading into Public Defender contests for the first time

Maine:

Maine opens first physical office for public defenders

Nevada:

As criminal trials soar in Washoe County, lawyers and head prosecutor disagree on reasons

Ohio:

Candidates for Cuyahoga prosecutor clash over juvenile justice and experience

Oregon:

Lack of defense attorneys in Oregon raises constitutional issues as solutions prove elusive

Pennsylvania:

Allegheny County controller announces first audit of local indigent defense system

South Dakota:

Noem focuses on education, health care, prisons in state budget address

Texas:

Harris DA Kim Ogg's chief of staff rebuked for 'egregious' errors in case, blames missing appeal on typo

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg one step closer to being admonished

Kerr County could lose funds from public defender lease

Washington:

Clark County Council OKs funds for Public Defense Office

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

If Law School Can't Solve the Shortage of Public Defenders, What Can? w/John Gross

Why The Fourth Amendment Needs to Enter the Digital Age w/Jumana Musa

November 2023

11/29/23

Glossy printed booklets of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense’s Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System will be available very soon. If you’d like copies for your office, email Caroline Lucius at [email protected] with your name, mailing address, and number of copies requested (within reason). We will send them to you free of charge.

A recording of ABA SCLAID and the SMU Deason Center’s webinar on the use of the new Public Defense Workload Study (scroll down for video) and the corresponding public defense principle is now available. Thanks again to Malia Brink and Cynthia Lee for lending their expertise to this important discussion!

Due to the holiday, this issue covers the past 12 days.

National:

A Defense of Public Defender Funding

Connecticut:

Assistant public defender suspended after anti-Israel Marxist newspapers found in PD waiting room

Guam:
Lujan appointed Public Defender for Districts of Guam, NMI

Idaho:

After lawsuits, reports found Idaho’s public defense system was failing, a new office offers hope

Kansas:

Kansas attorney remembered as ‘lion of the national criminal defense bar’

Maine:

Maine soon could reach another settlement on legal defense for its poorest residents

State, ACLU say new settlement on indigent legal representation offers more immediate relief

State and ACLU offer revised agreement to settle indigent case

Maryland:

Opinion: On mass incarceration, “we are all part of the problem”

Michigan:

Berrien County approves indigent juvenile defense contract

Nebraska:

Richardson County Approves Public Defender Contract

New Mexico:

New Mexico Public Defenders Office Warns Of Major Shortage Of Attorneys

N.M. spends tens of millions more every year on prosecutors than public defenders

New York:

Public Defenders Get Restraining Order To Block Their Own Union From Voting On Gaza Statement

A Public Defenders Union Debated A Pro-Palestinian Resolution. Then Came The Backlash.

Oregon:

Lack of defense attorneys in Oregon raises constitutional issues as solutions prove elusive

Pennsylvania:

Partnering For Better Criminal Justice (Philadelphia)

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

The Compelling Case for Full Time Public Defender Offices in Rural California w/Lael Kayfetz

Another Supreme Court Decision Stopping Innocent People from Getting Their Day in Court w/Alison Guernsey and Meredith Esser

The Public Defender Take on the True Crime Podcast w/David Moore

Why is our Legal System so Ethically Inconsistent w/Kaelen Perrochet

11/17/23

Glossy printed booklets of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense’s Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System will be available very soon. If you’d like copies for your office, email Caroline Lucius at [email protected] with your name, mailing address, and number of copies requested (within reason). We will send them to you free of charge.

A recording of ABA SCLAID and the SMU Deason Center’s webinar on the use of the new Public Defense Workload Study (scroll down for video) and the corresponding public defense principle is now available. Thanks again to Malia Brink and Cynthia Lee for lending their expertise to this important discussion!

This issue of public defense news covers the past 16 days. Our crack news team attended the NLADA Annual Conference in Oakland last week, which was followed by some vacation time. Congrats to the New Mexico Office of the Public Defender, the well-deserved winner of the 2023 Clara Shortridge Foltz Award! The award, presented at the conference’s unforgettable luncheon, was co-sponsored by NLADA and ABA SCLAID.

National:

You have the right to have an attorney. Budget cuts in Congress mean you may not get one.

California:

Court ruling deems Vista judge ineligible to apply for county’s top public defender job

Public Defenders Urge State Supreme Court to Uphold Its 2021 Bail Ruling and to Reject Efforts to Undermine It

Colorado:

District attorney races focus on spike in crime and prison versus reform

Connecticut:

Controversy over misogynist social media post with sexual reference hits CT Public Defender service

Florida:

Florida public defenders want a raise to stem turnover

Georgia:

Shot at a birthday party, she now faces the high cost of survival

Illinois:

Attorney shortage, large caseloads force Adams County Public Defender’s office to turn down new felony cases

Maine:

‘It’s incredibly stressful:’ Aroostook defendants say weeks spent without attorneys makes defense impossible

U.S. Civil Rights Commission echoes concerns about Maine's indigent legal system

Supreme Judicial Court justice allows indigent defense petition to proceed

Maryland:

AG, Md. public defender to host Baltimore forum about mass incarceration

Michigan:

Macomb County criminal defense attorneys get pay increase

Bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reforms Sent To Governor

Alpena defense lawyers welcome new state rules

New Hampshire:

Opinion: The defense must not rest; The state makes progress on counsel for indigent defendants, but more is needed

Indigent defense is recovering from crisis but still ‘under a lot of stress’

New Jersey:

My Lawyer Didn’t Tell Me About A Proposed Plea Deal Because He Thought We’d Win

New Mexico:

New Mexico does not have enough legal public defenders

North Carolina:

Bar Association votes to recommend two for appointment as new public defender (Alamance Co.)

Ohio:

Sturgill recognized for work as Allen County Public Defender

Oregon:

Federal appeals court temporarily blocks Oregon judge’s public defense order

Judge: Oregon must appoint public defenders to jailed defendants within 7 days or release them

Federal judge sets jail limit for Oregon detainees without public defenders

Editorial: Oregon's public defender crisis is not going away

'We know it doesn't work:' A Portland public defender on recriminalizing drugs (PAYWALL)

Biden nominates Oregon judge (with PD background) for the federal bench

Tennessee:

Kwame Kilpatrick to lead Memphis nonprofit: What to know about Taking Action for Good

Texas:

Taxpayers foot Boerne businessman's legal bill

Virginia:

Report: Virginia's indigent defense system is in trouble

Staff to present JLARC with study results on legal counsel for indigent defendants in Virginia

Washington:

Press Release: County council approves funding to establish Public Defense office

Clark County Council greenlights establishment of Public Defender office, plans shift from contract model

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

After Serious Positive Overhauls, What is Next For Delaware Public Defense? w/Kevin O'Connell

Looking to Other Countries to Push Back Against the Cruelty of the American Youth Legal System w/Betsy Clarke

After 17 Years of Incarceration, One Man's Fight to Radically Reimagine the American Legal System w/Sean Wilson

The Partners for Justice Programs Sparking Change in Public Defense w/Rebecca Solow and Vichal Kumar

11/1/23

This is a double issue of Public Defense News covering the last two weeks.

On October 25, ABA SCLAID and the SMU Deason Center held a webinar on the recently released National Public Defense Workload Study Report. Public defense experts Malia Brink and Cynthia Lee, who both contributed to the Workload Study report, explained the results and uses of the study, with a focus on jurisdiction-specific data and the study results to understand funding needs. You can view a recording of the webinar here.

National:

You Have the Right to an Attorney, but It Might Cost You

California:

AUDIO: Why More Public Defenders Are Adopting a “Holistic” Model

Governor Newsom Appointments

San Francisco fentanyl dealers could face murder charges in fatal overdoses

Colorado:

Aurora could privatize the public defender's office

DOUG WILSON: Councilmember Zvonek tries to undermine rights of poor with wrong defender ploy (Aurora)

Florida:

Ex-Public Defender In Florida Faces Contempt Questions

Maryland:

Attorney general, public defender launch collaborative to address inequity in incarceration

New collaborative to take aim at Maryland ‘crisis’ of overincarceration of Black residents

Minnesota:

'Inappropriate, outrageous, illegal': Public defenders, AG challenge judge’s sentences prohibiting probationers from voting

Mississippi:

The Mississippi Supreme Court Moved to Ensure Poor Criminal Defendants Would Always Have a Lawyer. It’s Not Working.

New York:

State settles in assigned counsel case

Broome County's next top prosecutor will come from the defense

Tennessee:

VIDEO: Public Defender Pay with Nick Leonardo

Nelson elected president of Public Defenders Conference (partial paywall)

Texas:

Indigent migrants can get legal counsel for Operation Lone Star arrests, Texas Supreme Court says

First step taken to form new public defender office (Victoria)

County Commissioners approve attorney contract (Henderson)

HPD sees high-speed chases plunge 40% after Chief Troy Finner implements tighter policies

Virginia:

Fee bump OK’d for some court-appointed counsel

Washington:

Franklin County supports lawsuit challenging Washington's indigent defense system

Wisconsin:

Prosecutor, public defender vacancies down following pay raises

Podcasts:

Public Defenseless:

The Public Defender Policy Team Fighting Back Against San Francisco's Pro-Policing Agenda w/Angela Chan
The Corruption and Coverup that Led to the Wrongful Conviction of Tim Wright w/Adam Deutsch

How Does the Tennessee Youth Legal System Allow Judges to Make up Crimes and Illegally Jail Kids w/Christina Kleiser and Meribah Knight

The Cruel Past, Present and Future of Solitary Confinement w/Keramet Reiter