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.

Report a Broken Link    |     Official Quiz Rules    |    2019 Archives

October

10/21/20

Report:

Report from the Special Adviser on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts

National:

Dying inside: The hidden crisis in America’s jails

A state-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Kansas:

Kansas’ public defenders, already overburdened, adapt to pandemic

New Jersey:

Murphy signs bill to release thousands of NJ prisoners early beginning the day after Election Day

NJ public defender office, Cumberland County ready to argue inmate housing

Public defender’s order to show cause reveals warden Smith’s gross incompetence

California:

Santa Cruz County plans to reshape public defender office

“The numbers tell only half the story” – Narratives from San Quentin on COVID-19 data

“The whole jail will be infected eventually” – Incarcerated voices from Elmwood CC highlight inhumane conditions during COVID-19

Louisiana:

Louisiana public defenders ask skeptical Supreme Court to let them drop, refuse cases

New Orleans public defenders are mobilizing to “flip the bench”

A down-ballot revolution is brewing in New Orleans

Utah:

Pandemic has led to ‘upward trend’ in some cases assigned to Utah County public defenders

Delaware:

Backlog of jury trials could take months or more to resolve

Wisconsin:

There is a coronavirus outbreak among Waukesha County court staff and deputies, public defender says

Michigan:

Macomb names county public defender to ‘balance’ prosecutor’s power

Macomb County names new public defender to represent those who are indigent

Chief public defender delivers annual report (Livingston County)

Carey stepping down as indigent defense office head (Wexford-Missaukee)

Denise Lane becomes first social worker in Berrien County’s public defender’s office

New York:

Report reveals ‘long-simmering racial tensions’ in New York state courts

Ruth Boyer confirmed as Ulster County public defender by Legislature

New Mexico:

Judges get more flexibility on pretrial detention

Arizona:

Arizona Supreme Court hears case where man has been held 15 months in custody without bail hearing

Ohio:

Commissioners establish public defender office (Delaware County)

Virginia:

No more jury sentencing.  General Assembly reshapes Virginia’s legal system.

Texas:

“It’s the most outrageous thing I’ve ever seen. It makes no sense.”: DNA evidence proved Lydell Grant’s innocence. So why won’t the state’s highest criminal court exonerate him?

Bexar County DA, public defender, state lawmaker discuss justice reform

Oklahoma:

Federal public defender Patti Ghezzi retires after highly regarded career

A super-spreader jail keeps sparking COVID outbreaks across the US

Massachusetts:

Legal experts decry lack of minority, female judges in western Massachusetts

Letter: Take note Governor, Massachusetts appellate courts short jurists with criminal defense experience

New Hampshire:

New Hampshire updates public access rules during pandemic

Tennessee:

Intern in public defender’s office fired after evidence leak in Joe Clyde Daniels case

Of Interest:

Judge allows prisoners to pursue stimulus checks

The real forgotten voter is sitting in jail

Opinion: Failures of grand jury process evident in Breonna Taylor case

The complicated role of Black leaders in shaping the criminal justice system

10/14/20

In Memoriam:

Donald McKee, long time Chief Public Defender, Indiana County, PA

Report:

R2C: Stakeholder Engagement Report

National:

The Constitution is on Pause in America’s courtrooms

Opinion: Policymakers, time to end juvenile life sentencing

Jonathan Rapping looks to fulfill “Gideon’s Promise”

Missouri:

Overworked public defenders

Maine:

Maine hires lawyers with criminal records to defend poor residents. The Governor wants reform.

She was afraid of her lawyer. Then the text messages started.

Lawyers with criminal backgrounds and disciplinary records represent poor defendants in Maine

Florida:

In Florida, the gutting of a landmark law leaves few felons likely to vote

Florida ruled felons must pay to vote. Now, it doesn’t know how many can.

Attorney of the year finalist: Public defender Carlos Martinez scrutinized corrupt police convictions

North Carolina:

Court said felons who only owe fees can vote in NC, but making it happen involves obstacles

California:

Inconsistent California court livestreaming – a public access crisis

Mental health court gives public defenders a tool for treatment (Butte County)

Pros and cons of proposition 25 – bail and problematic consequences for California’s defendants

Letter: No on Prop. 25

Governor Newsom adds another prosecutor to the California Supreme Court. The state has not had a justice with experience as a public defender since the mid-1980s.

New York:

A broken bond; How New York judges are getting around bail reform

Public defender pick Ruth Boyer tells committee she’s ‘perfect fit’ for position (Ulster)

Oversight committee approves chief Ulster County public defender

Giants team with the Bronx Defenders to highlight legal representation for low-income people

Summer program helped bolster local indigent defense

New Jersey:

Jury selection via zoom is so thorny, a New Jersey court lawyered up – and beat a challenge

New Jersey’s first socially distanced jury trial will move forward in Bergen County

Pennsylvania:

Opinion: It’s time to reexamine Lehigh County’s criminal justice spending

Michigan:

St. Clair County indigent defense budget increases by more than $300K for 2021

Commissioners bring state public defender staffing request forward (Branch County)

Massachusetts:

Public defender agency wants regular prison testing

Mass. public defenders call for more COVID testing in correctional facilities after recent outbreaks

Oklahoma:

McDugle to hold study on death penalty procedures

Nevada:

State suspends practice of taking money from inmates who owe restitution

Arizona:

Superior Court judge reprimanded after prosecutor, public defender file complaint

Texas:

Two Harris County district judges face favoritism allegations in defense appointments

Bexar County jail overcrowded due to governor’s order

Commissioners to discuss funding for indigent defense coordinator program, more (Hays County)

Indigent defense coordinator program renewed (Hays County)

Louisiana:

Louisiana public defender board optimal funding groups new members appointed

How New Orleans activists are pushing DA candidates to end mass incarceration

Connecticut:

Order in the court: 5 things CT attorneys say about courts reopening

Public defenders coming to Norwich to aid un-represented defendants

Public defenders taking outdoor applications Wednesday in New London

New Mexico:

Tipping the scales of justice?

Georgia:

Georgia non-profit Gideon’s promise aims to help public defenders and their clients

10/7/20

In Memoriam:

Peter J. Rutherford, FL: A ferocious defender of the poor and forgotten: Judge and public defender Peter J. Rutherford remembered

Report:

National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice: Interim Report – Recommendations for Response and Future Readiness

TIDC: Public Defender Primer

PPI: Eligible, but excluded: A guide to removing barriers to jail voting

National:

A state-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Minnesota:

Hennepin County public defender Mary Moriarty ousted

Board declines to reappoint public defender Moriarty

State board declines to reappoint leading public defender

Maine:

Maine hires lawyers with criminal records to defend its poorest residents

With no public defender system, Maine’s poor are often represented by private attorneys with criminal backgrounds

Louisiana:

House advances bill to spend $15M for public defenders

Louisiana House shifts $32 million to public defense, disabled, other needs

Former prosecutors and public defender chief race for criminal district court bench seats

Chief public defender takes leave of absence amid judicial campaign

Commentary: Man goes to prison for life for stealing a pair of hedge clippers – what prosecutors can do about it

New York:

Bill would eliminate fines, fees associated with justice system

Proposal would curb mandatory court fees for poor defendants

NY push to nix court fines, fees could spread nationwide

Opinion: Criminal justice reforms have next to nothing to do with NYC’s shooting surge

Ohio:

Delaware County seeks to create public defender’s office with new commission

Delaware County to create public defenders office

Pennsylvania:

Public defender can pursue claims age spurred discipline, firing

SW Pa. County’s ex-chief public defender can proceed with age bias claims, US judge says

Utah:

Fired death penalty attorney win key ruling in lawsuit against Weber County

Tennessee:

Public defender says Sevier County owes (office) $1 million

‘We pursue justice’: Chief public defender responds after police outcry over attorney’s Breonna Taylor post

Massachusetts:

Defense lawyers question Plymouth County district attorney’s record on exposing cops with credibility issues

Maryland:

As court reopen, public defenders fear for themselves and their clients

As trials begin, public defenders fear virus spread

Court’s in session: Anxious feelings, extensive preparations surround start of jury trials in Maryland

An unpaid ticket can no longer cause you to lose your license, vehicle registration

Oklahoma:

Women to watch: Aisha McWeay treats all clients with dignity, respect

Illinois:

Rekowski leaving public defender’s post

North Carolina:

Sam Snead named Buncombe’s chief public defender

Of Interest:

Voting nearly impossible for eligible voters behind bars

Federal prisons will let inmates have visitors during pandemic

The Black New Yorker who led the charge against police violence in the 1830s

Column: A smarter approach to measuring prosecutorial success

September

9/30/20

Report:

6AC: The Right to Counsel in Santa Cruz County, California: Evaluation of Trial Level Indigent Representation Services

National:

Critics say federal prosecutors are pushing the envelope with protest charges

In email atty-client privilege battle, House sides with inmates

Blog post:  Second circuit panel rules unanimously that district courts have broad discretion to consider “any extraordinary and compelling reason for release that a defendant might raise”

State-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Minnesota:

Mary Moriarty is outspoken advocate as Hennepin County’s top public defender

Outspoken public defender faces ‘star chamber’ reappointment

Virginia:

How the prosecutors-public defender pay disparity creates inequity in Richmond

Louisiana:

Louisiana lawmakers to search for new ways to fund public defense

Louisiana legislators advance bill to spend $15 million to house public defenders

EBR office of public defender calls for review of cases involving BRPD officer who allegedly made racist comments online

Dozens of Hurricane Laura evacuees have been arrested in New Orleans as public defenders urge restraint

New Orleans judge Paul Sens faces rare challenge from public defender in Nov. 3 election

Florida:

The legal and political fight over amendment 4, granting as many as 1.4 million Florida felons the right to vote

Felon’s voting rights restored in Alachua County

Opinion: The racist anti-vote effort by Florida Republicans hits a new low

Opinion: Citizens shouldn’t need Bloomberg’s help to exercise their rights

California:

Santa Cruz County considers creating public defender’s office

Santa Cruz County supes consider public defender’s office

Public legal defense may become ‘public’ under Santa Cruz County plan

Alameda County judges attempt to change local court rules – public defender opposes move

Outsourcing of DUI and other monitoring costs offenders, creating private probation debt trap

SF public defender criticizes civil injunctions aimed at drug dealers -argues they don’t solve ‘actual’ problem

Los Angeles public defender support Gascón for District Attorney

Accused probation violator frustrated during self-representation in court

San Jose lawmakers makes case for racial equity in criminal courts

Opinion: Gov. Newsom must sign the Racial Justice Act to bar discrimination in California courts

Wisconsin:

Dane County announces $300,000 for mental health crisis center, an alternative to jail

The capitol report: Several state agencies seek new funds for 2021-2023 budget

Texas:

Study: Reforms needed to ensure indigent defendants aren’t at a disadvantage in Bexar County

New Galveston County public defenders office will help address mental health issues

Kentucky:

Opinion: Why I don’t understand the outcome of Breonna Taylor grand jury decision

Washington:

Whatcom public defender’s office removed from representing Bass over conduct concerns

Tennessee:

Fraternal order of police calls for public defender apology

‘Vile and disgusting’: FOP on Nashville public defender’s deleted Facebook post critical of Breonna Taylor decision

Maryland:

State Senate addresses several police accountability bills in Maryland

Before jury trials resume statewide, court workers question COVID-19 prevention

Indiana:

Marion County’s jail population plunges 28% during coronavirus as some inmates are released

Connecticut:

Albert Koziatek discusses decline in public defender applications

Death row defender found work friendship in New London after capital punishment repealed

New York:

New nomination for Ulster County public defender ‘dedicated to serving those most in need’

Michigan:

Montcalm County board of commissioners approve budget, hand out pay raises to 4 officials

Ohio:

Cuyahoga County public defender Mark Stanton announces retirement

Allen County buys building for public defenders

Arkansas:

County acquires Oucahita building as new location for public defenders

Of Interest:

Is violent crime rising in cities like Trump says? Well, it’s complicated.

Is freedom white?

Should I help incarcerate the man who tried to sexually assault me?

Defense lawyers argue juror COVID scare affected outcome of federal criminal trial

Inside the chaos of immigration courts

9/23/20

Report:

SMU Deason Center: Greening the Desert – Strategies and Innovations to Recruit, Train and Retain Criminal Law Practitioners in STAR Communities

National:

Reforming public defense is crucial for criminal justice

Financial aid for attys could help close rural justice gap

A state-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Criminal defense lawyers honor ‘Just Mercy’ author

Minnesota:

A reform-minded Hennepin County public defender is being unfairly attacked

Missouri:

Lawsuit challenging ‘sexual assault survivor’s bill of rights’ argued in court

Florida:

The decision upholding Florida’s Jim Crow-style poll tax is an affront to democracy

Judge hears arguments in court fines case

Mike Bloomberg raises $16 million to allow former felons to vote in Florida

Prosecutors & public defenders face budget cuts amid COVID-19 backlog

Hillsborough Commission says racism is public health crisis

Opinion: Hillsborough looking to build a more inclusive community

California:

Grand jury slams San Mateo County for letting private defender program languish while boosting DA’s budget

New California law strikes criminal court fees charged by sheriffs, police

Public defender encourages incarcerated people at Santa Rita to vote

Alameda County public defender uses YouTube videos to tell incarcerated how to vote for jail cells

Half of defendants no show for Tuesday’s Yolo hearings

UC Davis Law’s racial justice speaker series commences with inspirational talk give by chief public defender Brendon Woods

Everyday Injustice (podcast): Yolo County public defender Tracie Olson

Maryland:

Prince George’s public defenders pressing for access to police misconduct records

Prince George’s public defender’s office joins push to unseal police misconduct details in discrimination lawsuit

Prince George’s public defender believes officers’ discrimination lawsuit could lead to exonerations

Maryland prosecutors say they’re best equipped to prosecute police misconduct

Illinois:

County workers’ $14 million inmate harassment pact gets final OK

Texas:

Bexar County’s indigent defense system gets mixed reviews

New Galveston County public defenders office will help address mental health issues

Editorial: Need a reason to support felony bail reform? Judge Ramona Franklin

Vermont:

Opinion: Court rights a wrong in overdose death

Iowa:

Iowa court debt collected illegally, with millions routed to private firm

Officials, residents differ on county attorney’s role in racial inequities (Black Hawk County)

Arkansas:

Clerical blunder affects public defenders, detainees

Pennsylvania:

Building bridges in the legal process: Public defenders talk prelim. Arraignment program (Montgomery County)

Washington:

Washington’s prisons may have hit pivotal moment as they eye deep cut in their population

Louisiana:

With New Orleans DA race and swath of judicial elections, groups hope to reshape conversation

Nevada:

Inmate families paying price for billionaire’s ballot measure

Nebraska:

Amnesty day clears old arrest warrants; provides a chance to move on (Lancaster County)

New York:

Ruth Boyer nominated as Ulster County public defender: County executive Pat Ryan

Ulster executive nominates new public defender

Ryan says Ulster County public defender pick can rebuild minority community’s trust in ‘broken’ system

Virginia:

Prince William County’s public defender office ramps up

Connecticut:

Public defenders taking outdoor applications in New London on Friday

Ohio:

Office of the public defenders moving in January (Ashtabula)

Of Interest:

Commentary: A tale of two county Das on wrongful convictions

How COVID-19 tested the family bonds I was building when I got out

Legal advice is often unaffordable. Here’s how more people can get help: Kourlis and Gorsuch

9/16/20

Report:

DPIC: Enduring Injustice: The Persistence of Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Death Penalty

BJS: Criminal Victimization, 2019

Brennan Center: The Impact of Video Proceedings on Fairness and Access to Justice in Court

Brennan Center: Principles for Continued Use of Remote Court Proceedings

CJPP – Harvard:  Racial Disparities in the Massachusetts Criminal System

National:

Far from being beyond saving, prison youth deserve every opportunity for meaningful rehabilitation

DPIC release report placing death penalty in historical context as a “descendant of slavery, lynching, and segregation”

Report: Death penalty cases show history of racial disparity

He was wrongfully imprisoned for 8 years. Now he’s a defense lawyer

Florida:

US Court of Appeals rules ex-felons in Florida can’t vote – must pay fines, fees, costs, restitution first

Federal appeals court blocks hundreds of thousands of felons in Florida who still owe fines and fees from registering to vote

Opinion: Ease way for restoring voting rights

What Alachua County’s courtrooms are like during COVID-19

With trials set to resume in panhandle, state and defense clash over masks, scheduling

Broward public defender who was fired the day after losing bid for boss’s seat has landed a new job – as a prosecutor

Justice for all: New program aims to lower juvenile offender numbers

California:

San Mateo County civil grand jury raises red flags with private defender program

Public defender’s office takes Santa Barbara County sheriff to court over jail conditions

Opposition to Prop 20 increases; opponents charge it’s a step backward for CA

Everyday injustice podcast: Alameda public defender Brendon Woods

East Bay DA launches alliance of ‘progressive prosecutors’ to lobby for criminal justice reforms

Plea bargains keep court systems afloat – 97% of CA cases never go to trial

Delays in Santa Barbara jury trials lead to impacts across court system

Georgia:

Public defenders ask GA Supreme Court to review case for bias against Hispanic men

Nevada:

IndyMatters podcast: Improving rural public defense

Pennsylvania:

Unionized Luzerne County lawyers earn raises

Philadelphia DA asks Pennsylvania Supreme court to halt livestreaming trials

Plans to restart Lehigh County jury trials amid coronavirus pandemic face scrutiny

Attorney faces trial for allegedly stealing $270K for clients

Massachusetts:

A judge asked Harvard to find out why so many Black people were in prison.  They could only find 1 answer: systemic racism.

Missouri:

Missouri attorney general’s office pushes to keep innocent people in prison

Texas:

Hays County shares wealth of indigent defense

Alabama:

‘Don’t let me die’: Inside the Alabama prison system’s COVID-19 quarantine ward

New York:

Opinion: Time to say goodbye to NYPD buy and busts

Rikers guards ditch masks on duty despite COVID impact

Illinois:

State Senate committee focuses on criminal sentencing reforms

New Mexico:

Judge rules inmate is safer from COVID-19 in prison than at home

West Virginia:

Public defender services announce annual awards

Of Interest:

Opinion: Before attempting to reform the police, we must discover what actually works

Column: A step toward accountability in policing

How some attys are ditching biglaw for public interest work

The man who refused to spy

9/9/20

Report:

NJDC: Advancing Youth Justice: An Assessment of Access to and Quality of Juvenile Defense Counsel in Oregon

CCJ: COVID-19, Jails, and Public Safety

National:

Just science podcast: Just a public defender’s perspective

State-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

SCLAID celebrates centennial by recognizing 2 young lawyer’s work to promote access to justice

Tennessee:

Dispute over indigent representation leads to lawsuit

Mississippi:

Miss. Supreme Court allows felony plea hearings via video conference

After 6 murder trials and nearly 24 years, charges dropped against Curtis Flowers

Vermont:

VSC upholds trial delay due to COVID

Georgia:

Statesboro lawyer challenging Georgia’s suspension of juries

Florida:

Motion to waive Florida ex-felon’s fines to be heard 9/16/20

Man wants to vote, but mountainous fines stand in way

Nevada:

Nevada Board of Examiners OK’s project cuts forced by revenue reductions

California:

SJ Grand Jury: Public defender office is a mess

Opinion: Newsom should bill to assure prosecutors police misconduct records

Podcast: Public defense and criminal justice reform with Tiffiny Townsend Blacknell

Right a wrong – and rewriting a racist legacy

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin’s public defender, Packers have zoom conversation on social justice reform

Connecticut:

Public defenders step outside

Texas:

Fewer jailed and new arrests remain low, says report on Harris County’s bail system

Kerr County moves one step closer to public defender’s office

Kerr County awarded grant for public defender’s office

Alaska:

Settlement reached on holding people in mental health crisis

Kansas:

Kansas commission members seek refreshed ideas on race and the criminal justice system

Pennsylvania:

Your view by controller: How Lehigh County’s proposed budget promotes systemic racism

Pa. Board of Pardons recommends clemency for 8 lifers, including 3 women

Erie County Council designates racism a public health crisis

Ohio:

Ohio governor delays more executions amidst drug shortage

Members sought for public defender commission (Delaware County)

Indiana:

Stretched to serve in ‘legal deserts’

Louisiana:

Iberville Parish public defenders removed from parish offices twice this year by Pre. Ourso

North Carolina:

North Carolina General Assembly recognizes 50 years of public defense in North Carolina

Sam Snead appointed as chief public defender for Buncombe County

Wake County chief public defender appointed – Deonte’ L. Thomas

West Virginia:

McCune receives public defender services award

Washington:

New Superior Court judge Thad Scudder sworn in Friday

Missouri:

3 running for Missouri attorney general

Of Interest:

Opinion: Daniel Prude’s death is a nightmare scenario for Black families like mine

Faulty facial recognition led to his arrest – now he’s suing

32 Black federal prosecutors in Washington have a plan to make the criminal justice system more fair

Tiny desk contestant Danielle Ponder on telling stories that matter through music

9/2/20

In Memoriam:

Craig Boone, who defended people who most needed it, dies at 76 (MN)

Report:

Juvenile Law Center: Rethinking Justice for Emerging Adults

National:

Can you get a fair jury trial during the pandemic?

Opinion: Public defenders are working to free people from prison during the pandemic

Opinion: I’m a public defender. I don’t want my elderly client to die in prison from coronavirus

Jonathan Rapping debuts new book, ‘Gideon’s Promise’ to advocate for public defenders

Wyoming:

Budget cuts could throw state public defender’s office back into constitutional crisis

Wyoming budget cuts to impact state public defender’s office

New Mexico:

New Mexico Office of Public Defender supports class action lawsuit calling for immediate coronavirus safety in prisons

Minnesota:

Proposal to unseal hundreds of misconduct allegations against Minneapolis police officers moves forward

Hawaii:

A catastrophe is growing at Oahu’s jail

OCCC gets 4 more positive virus tests for total of 309

Texas:

‘Waiting and waiting:’ COVID only made Harris County’s massive backlog of murder cases worse

DA: Avoid another day like Aug. 23 by changing Wichita County’s approach to bail amounts

Kerr County awarded grant for public defender’s office

Tarrant County budget proposal includes salary increases for commissioners

Colorado:

Colorado advocates pushing for statewide immigrant legal defense fund

Oregon:

Opinion: Rosenblum must end persisting injustice of nonunanimous juries

New Hampshire:

NH public defender reacts to report on juvenile delinquency cases

Virginia:

Prosecutor pushes to maintain discretion on dropping charges

California:

Historic bill decreases juvenile legal fees that target low income families of color

Sacramento judge sets hearing to question jail about inmate medical care

Long-dormant county police watchdog plans first set of probes into OC agencies in years

San Quentin tells its own COVID story

Deputy public defender appointed to Riverside County judgeship

UC Hasting law establishes Adachi memorial scholarship

Idaho:

County accepts grant for public defense (Blaine County)

Indiana:

Local nominations for public defense board needed (Decatur County)

Commission seeks Owen County nominations for public defense board

Michigan:

Judge denies motion to postpone jury trials during COVID-19 pandemic

West Virginia:

DeLauder fires public defender minutes before hearing

Delaware:

Public defenders’ office urges contact for representation

Of Interest:

Visitation to begin again at federal prisons in October

The former prisoners fighting California’s wildfires

Sent home to die

August

8/28/20

In Memoriam:

Phil Shailer, former Broward state attorney and public defender

Report:

NJDC – Undervalued: An Assessment of Access to and Quality of Juvenile Defense Counsel in New Hampshire

National:

Opinion: No state would commit the resources I did to the defense of a death penalty trial. That’s concerning

Why we need federal judges who are former public defenders

Ex-defender seeks early win in harassment handling suit

State-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

How prisons in each state are restricting visits due to coronavirus

Louisiana:

City Council passes ordinance bringing public defender budget closer to DA’s office

City Council vote gives public defenders important funding parity with prosecutors

Proposed law seeks to bring public defender funding closer to DA’s

EBR DA says first jury trial since coronavirus outbreak ‘ran smoothly’; public defender disagrees

New Orleans public defenders chief could take leave during judicial campaign

Jefferson Parish correctional center placed on lockdown after coronavirus outbreak

Column: New Orleans justice is improving, but parity is still elusive

Nevada:

Public defender system in Nevada poised for reforms

Commissioners tab (sic) Sommers as full-time public defender

New Hampshire:

Report: Juvenile defense in NH ‘gravely undervalued’

Juvenile defense ‘undervalued’

Indiana:

Public defender report underscores need for additional resources

Washington:

Former inmate files suit against Asotin County: Calvin J. Hines claims his public defender was not licensed in Washington

Idaho:

Public defender update given to commissioners

Massachusetts:

96 percent of Brockton tenants facing eviction don’t have attorneys. Officials want change.

Virginia:

Public defender hopeful about justice reform session

Column: Get serious about criminal justice reform by properly funding court-appointed indigent defense

Public defender’s office internship gives look at justice system

Major reform to Virginia’s criminal justice system could take sentencing out of a jury’s hands

Portsmouth police charge Sen. Louise Lucas, NAACP leaders and other public officials in June confederate monument protest

Oregon:

WashCo judge says he won’t hear cases by public defense firm

Washington County judge made ‘false and baseless claims’ about public defense agency, lawyer

Hawaii:

Hawaii Supreme Court orders inmates released due to coronavirus

Prosecutors on deadline to review jail releases

Surge in COVID-19 cases spurs petition from Office of Public Defender seeking the release of some inmates

OCCC outbreak infuriates civil rights group; Public defender calls for inmate early-releases again

Public defender pushes state for OCCC health inspection, more inmate release

Prosecutors, OPD review list of HCCC inmates eligible for release

Prosecutors await ruling on inmates and virus

Hawaii top court considers freeing inmates after outbreak

Inmates start fires over quarantine lockdowns, cramped conditions

Georgia:

Public Defender Council plans to restore depleted appellate unit

Pennsylvania:

Delaware County public defenders vote for a union

Judge refuses to wear face mask and has ordered lawyers to remove theirs, public defender group says

New Mexico:

State public defender supports class action calling for immediate coronavirus safety in prisons

California:

Man tests positive for COVID-19 during trial; attorneys say court isn’t protecting public

Lawyers for nearly 50 men incarcerated at San Quentin sue over ‘botched transfer,’ demand release

California judge orders virus testing at immigration center

Half of ICE facility detainees test positive for COVID-19 after federal judge orders tests

Fair Juries Act reflects community diversity, now one step closer to becoming law

Bay Area public defenders ask state to release at-risk San Quentin inmates amid COVID outbreak

Yolo public defender charges trial ‘extremely unfair, one-sided’

Trial for deputy public defender’s lawsuit against judge set for next June (Humboldt)

Judge refuses to acknowledge COVID in jails – orders jail for minor offenses, doesn’t want to ‘interfere’ (Sacramento)

Sacramento jail releases COVID-19 data – 228% increase in cases over 4 weeks

Sacramento public defender butts heads with judge to protect client

Illinois:

25 community groups, Cook County public defender sign letter criticizing Lightfoot for police response this summer

Kankakee County increases chief public defender’s salary

New Jersey:

With first jury trials set to begin, defense lawyers are wary of the state’s new format

Michigan:

Public defender’s office, law enforcement finding creative ways to keep system moving during pandemic

North Carolina:

NC Supreme Court pulls racial justice act murder defendant off death row

44 years later, federal appeals court rules the rights of Concord man were violated at trial

Maryland:

They’ll have their day in Maryland court. But coronavirus means long wait, big fees for ankle monitoring.

New York:

Bronx defenders and New York Giants players partner amid George Floyd-sparked social justice movement

Plan to close Rikers and build new jails faces significant delays

Judicial Ethics Opinion 20-68 (Town Judge may preside in matter’s involving public defender’s office where his/her spouse works as an eligibility investigator, provided he/she discloses his/her spouse’s employment)

Florida:

Prosecutors, public defenders face case backlogs and smaller budgets

Selective compassion: Coronavirus shines light on disparities in compassionate release

Gordon Weekes wins for Broward public defender with 48% of the vote

Public defender’s office fires attorney after she runs to be public defender

Jessica Yeary clinches victory in public defender race (Tallahassee)

Matt Metz elected new public defender for 7th Circuit (Daytona)

Voters in Broward cast ballots for state attorney, public defender, clerk

Mississippi:

Supreme Court may allow videoconference plea hearings

Montana:

Judge says defense attorneys want to ‘derail’ prosecution in taking death penalty off table

Iowa:

Column: In decades as an Iowa warden, I learned how mandatory sentences, ill-considered programs and more keep inmates and prisons from success

District of Columbia

GSA, DC public defender’s office reach compromise on contentious space search

Connecticut:

Your lawyer’s ready

Minnesota:

Jury trials return after months-long hiatus

Texas:

Liyah Brown n the push for radical reform in Texas

Kansas:

Kelly to again nominate Folsom (former PD) for appeals court vacancy

Of Interest:

Dismiss minor misdemeanors during the pandemic

Fifty years of criminal justice reform

Ted Deutch brings back the National Criminal Justice Commission Act

Opinion: Prosecutors are not exempt from criticism

Column: Can prosecutors be taught to avoid jail sentences?

Public interest organizations back diploma privilege for law grads

8/12/20

Request:

ABA SCLAID and our partners are working on a project to draw attention to the plight of individuals incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are looking for any pictures from prisons of COVID conditions.  We are also looking for letters that such individuals may have written describing the conditions in their facility or asking for help. We will be redacting personal information and identifying characteristics from the letters. If you have such letters or have clients who might be willing to write to us about their experience, please contact me at malia.brink@americanbar.org.

In Memoriam:

Rob Mason, Jacksonville public defender

Joseph T. Kownacki, Former Public Defender, Erie, PA and San Diego, CA

National:

Overworked and underpaid: America’s public defender crisis

A state-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Nevada:

ACLU of Nevada calls settlement ‘huge step’ for poor defendants

Press Release: ACLU settlement is huge step toward remedying Nevada’s longstanding public defense crisis

Changes coming to rural Nevada courtrooms

Maryland:

Md. Public defenders vote to organize, join AFSCME

Hawaii:

Public defender wants inmates released as outbreak grows at Oahu jail

Judiciary postpones trials another month as COVID-19 cases surge

California:

Guest Commentary: There is room for compassion in criminal justice

San Francisco public defender frees man facing life in prison

Confusion in Yolo County Court – Why was man in custody?

Guest Commentary: District Attorneys leverage their power against Black lives

Incarcerated people at San Quentin tell harrowing stories of COVID-19 rampage

San Quentin inmates ask judge for pandemic discharges

Minnesota:

Study: Most stops of Black drivers

Study: Most Minneapolis police stops involved Black drivers

ACLU’s Darris joins public defense board

Tennessee:

Nashville’s public health orders have sent two homeless men to jail – and so far no one else

Florida:

‘Difficult to survive this’: What south Florida lawyers need to know about budget cuts to state judicial system

Nebraska:

Lancaster County judges make adjustments to hold jury trials during pandemic

Illinois:

Judge rebuffs request of Cook County public defender, activists to order Chicago police to promptly grant phone calls to arrestees

Man charged with attempted murder of a police officer was shot in the back by CPD, defense attorney says

New Hampshire:

Public defender: Stop bringing tweens into juvenile court

Virginia:

Should defendants be sentenced by judges or juries?

Texas:

Dallas County public defender’s office and Uptrust launch platform to help defendants make it to court

New Mexico:

Q&A: Public defender hopes to be voice for criminal justice

Delaware:

Office of Defense Services adds positions to address racial equity issues

New York:

Ulster executive aims to nominate new public defender soon

Georgia:

Criminal justice advocates say new law undermines Georgia’s efforts at bail reform

Public defender Parker-Smith takes DeKalb Superior Court vacancy

Of Interest:

Justice by Zoom: Frozen video, a cat – and finally a verdict

A founder looks at 50: What happened to our right to a speedy trial by a jury of our peers

Public defender: I worked with Kamala Harris: she was the most progressive DA in California

8/7/20

Request:

ABA SCLAID and our partners are working on a project to draw attention to the plight of individuals incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are looking for any pictures from prisons of COVID conditions.  We are also looking for letters that such individuals may have written describing the conditions in their facility or asking for help. We will be redacting personal information and identifying characteristics from the letters. If you have such letters or have clients who might be willing to write to us about their experience, please contact me at malia.brink@americanbar.org.

In Memoriam:

Robert Jagger – First Pinellas – Pasco public defender, valued life and due process

Judge Ramon Alvarado, Gwinnett County, GA – Fierce advocate, exceptional judge, teacher and mentor

First Hispanic judge in Gwinnett County, dies at 41

Report:

Justice Policy Institute:  Sticker Shock 2020: The Cost of Youth Incarceration

ABA – Profile of the Legal Profession 2020

National:

Split 5 to 4, Supreme Court rules for California jail over virus measures

COVID-19 is turning prison terms into death sentences

State-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Frail inmates could be sent home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Instead, some are dying in federal prisons.

Keeping children out of jail is ‘Main Street’ conservatism

The legal and technical danger in moving criminal courts online

Nevada:

ACLU, Nevada settle lawsuit over public defense in rural counties

ACLU settlement helps ensure ‘indispensable constitutional right’ to counsel

Maryland:

Public defenders announce effort to join Maryland’s largest public-service union

Nebraska:

Courts, private attorneys talk about low rates paid to defense attorneys

Maine:

Coronavirus restrictions for jury trials violate the Constitution, Maine defense attorneys say

New York:

Public defender denied in bid to halt non-emergency in-person court proceedings amid COVID-19

Federal judge dismisses public defender lawsuit to halt in-person criminal proceedings

Public defenders blast ruling allowing in-person New York City criminal court appearances

Can NYC reopen its housing courts safely?

Kossover attorney says Ulster County was given opportunity to avoid being sued

Ulster legislators nix Ryan’s pick for public defender, citing lack of experience in criminal law

Montana:

Public defenders plead for remote hearings

California:

Mayor London Breed and Public Defender Mano Raju announce young defenders (San Francisco)

SF public defender’s office welcomes high schoolers under citywide mentor program

Looking back: State and federal governments need to overhaul their broken public defender systems

Keeping courthouses clear of COVID-19 (Los Angeles)

LA County aims to step up coronavirus safety at courthouses

Public defender’s office secures social worker, funded by state grant (Humboldt)

Legislation would allow for decertification of bad cops

‘Can I speak?’ – Defendant adamant there should not have been a warrant for his arrest

‘I could not imagine a more infected group of officers’: Details emerge in case where deputy beat Black man

Oklahoma:

Half of Oklahoma is now Indiana Territory. What does that mean for criminal justice there?

A historic Supreme Court ruling upends courts in Oklahoma

Oklahoma AG seeks guidance on criminal appeals after high court ruling

Iowa:

Governor acts to restore voting rights to Iowans with felony convictions

Colorado:

People revolving through the doors of Denver’s city court typically don’t have homes and are disproportionately Black

Guam:

Public defender board Oks manåmko’ services pilot program

Massachusetts:

Trials may resume with fewer jurors; panel urges that first cases involve civil disputes, minor criminal charges

Mississippi:

Mississippi teen who has languished in jail for 17 months without an indictment is just ‘one of thousands’

Oregon:

Federal court to review ‘protest bans’ in Portland arrests

Missouri:

Missouri legislature’s push to crack down on crime has advocates worried

Louisiana:

New data tools show how unjust the criminal justice system is for Black New Orleanians

Michigan:

Grace, black teen jailed for not going her online coursework, is released

Dickinson Wright attorney to receive State Bar award

Minnesota:

Instead of criminal conviction, bill proposes assistance for distressed vets

Critics say Ramsey County jail isn’t safe for inmates, lawyers, or bail payers

Bail paying nonprofit halts services at Ramsey County jail, citing COVID-19 virus concerns

Distrust of the Minneapolis police, and also the effort to defund them

Tennessee:

Jury trials indefinitely suspended in Shelby County criminal court

Formerly incarcerated woman (and former public defender!) runs to be 1st Black woman in Congress from Tennessee

Lutton wins public defender race, Buuck wins law director in Knox County general election

Indiana:

County council rejects claims from public defender (Lawrence County)

State Sen. Eric Koch reappointed to serve on Indiana Public Defender Commission

Public defender board trims 2021 budget (Knox County)

Florida:

‘Difficult to survive this’: What south Florida lawyers need to know about budget cuts to state judicial system

Deferred prosecution program raises troubling questions

4 questions: Public defender candidates on leadership style, racial disparities in court

Defense attorney, public defender square off in Seminole judge race

South Carolina:

SC lawyers launch plan to study, promote diversity in legal community

Pennsylvania:

Progressive Philly DA disappointed PA Supreme Court fails to act to reform Philly’s broken cash bail system

‘This is what I was called to be.’ Centre County public defender steps down after 34 years

Parroccini resigns from his position

Virginia:

Public defender’s office begins building staff (Prince William)

Illinois:

DuPage County officials warn of possible cuts

West Virginia:

Former public defender takes over as interim magistrate in Raleigh County

Wisconsin:

Career public defender Travis Schwantes announces candidacy for Milwaukee County Circuit Court, District 30

Hawaii:

Office of public defender moving Sept. 1 (Kona)

Of Interest:

A vast racial gap in death penalty cases, new study finds

The police lie. All the time. Can anything stop them?

Homicide spikes hit most large US cities

Law to reduce crack cocaine sentences leaves some imprisoned

A woman’s place: The shaming and incarceration of Patricia Ann Prewitt

Courts dramatically rethink the jury trial in the era of the coronavirus

July

7/29/20

Survey:

Guilty Plea Process for Juvenile Defendants - If you are an attorney who represents juvenile clients in criminal and/or juvenile court, please consider participating in this research study being conducted by the Legal Decision Making Lab at Montclair State University in New Jersey. The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes and asks about the various types of plea deals that are offered to juvenile defendants. Responses are completely anonymous and no personal identifying information will be recorded. Survey link – HERE.

Report:

ABA SCLAID: The Indiana Project: An Analysis of the Indiana Public Defense System and Attorney Workload Standards

ACLU: Decarceration and Crime During COVID-19

National:

Early jail releases during pandemic didn’t lead to crime spike

Prosecutors struggle to resume Guantanamo trials

Indiana:

Study finds some Indiana public defender caseloads should be lower than recommendations

Report: Indiana public defender caseload standards likely too high

New Mexico:

Lawsuit claims gender pay inequality

Public defender raises concerns about restart of jury trials in San Juan County

Pennsylvania:

Montgomery County Oks contract to research making public defender’s office ‘independent’

Chester County officials test return of jury trials

New York:

New York City public defender oppose resuming in-person court appearances

Ulster lawmakers reject county executive’s public defender nominee

Former Ulster public defender files notice of intent to sue county and Ryan

Black public defenders blast ‘racist’ white colleague running for city council over school integration issues

Danielle Ponder returns to public defender’s office to bolster inclusivity, diversity (Monroe County)

Judicial Ethics Opinion 20-30: Judge must disqualify him/herself from a case where two attorneys representing the judge’s child in a civil matter are also the public defender and an assistant public defender

Louisiana:

WDSU Investigates: Almost 500,000 cases handled, $7 million spent on just 11 cases . . . why?

Orleans public defenders chief and other current, former staffers to run in judicial races

Missouri:

Column: How far should immunity for officials extend?

Texas:

Pandemic, hiring freeze impact launch of new Travis County public defender office

Defending the poor (Tarrant County)

Illinois:

Public defender, activists call for funding for free immigration attorneys

California:

Opinion: If George Floyd had lived: The trials of Black Americans in Santa Barbara

Opinion: Inside San Quentin prison, you sit and wait until COVID-19 comes for you

Through attorney, judge denies assaulting deputy public defender at Lake Shasta celebration (Humboldt County)

ADL ‘disappointed’ by response to alleged anti-Semitic assault on lake (Humboldt County)

Solano County sheriff, public defender probing jail sergeant’s testy interaction with deputy public defender over Black Lives Matter face mask

Florida:

COVID-19 spike causes ‘near-shutdown’ of criminal justice system

How the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office has used a shadowy charity fund in criminal cases

‘It’s apparent that they’re failing’: As Florida inmate deaths soar, families feel dread

3 running to be next public defender in Florida’s 7th Judicial Circuit

North Carolina:

Jury trials remain on hold in North Carolina

How can our state improve racial equity in the criminal justice system? North Carolinians have no shortage of ideas.

Iowa:

Iowa cities seek more data to guard against racial profiling

Oklahoma:

COVID-19 outbreak hits Oklahoma county jail

Oregon:

Tear gas, smoke impact inmates at Justice Center, sheriff says

Hawaii:

Honolulu’s prosecutor race could flip Hawaii’s punitive culture

Tennessee:

Convicted-felon-turned-public-defender Keeda Haynes is running for Congress in Tennessee

Wisconsin:

Public defender announces candidacy for circuit court judge

District of Columbia:

Dr. Harold Trulear appointed to board of trustees of the public defenders service uses personal experiences and teaching to advance criminal justice reform

Washington:

Columbia County seeks lawyer to handle indigent defense

Ohio:

Ohio’s prisons director confirms she has COVID-19

Of Interest:

Coronavirus pandemic sparks movement to rethink incarceration

Alexis Hoag on ‘movement lawyering’ as a tool for justice

7/22/20

Survey:

Guilty Plea Process for Juvenile Defendants - If you are an attorney who represents juvenile clients in criminal and/or juvenile court, please consider participating in this research study being conducted by the Legal Decision Making Lab at Montclair State University in New Jersey. The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes and asks about the various types of plea deals that are offered to juvenile defendants. Responses are completely anonymous and no personal identifying information will be recorded. Survey link – HERE.

In Memoriam:

John Lewis risked his life for justice

John Thurman was a defender

Lucien Campbell: Pioneering attorney for the indigent

National:

Prisons are overwhelmed with COVID-19. Why aren’t Governors doing more?

A state-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Court reopening plans face pushback as coronavirus surges

New York:

Courts showdown: Public defenders sue over reopening plan; court officers’ union also opposes

Federal judge denies defenders’ bid for temporary order to pause New York City’s in-person court proceedings

Emergency bid to halt criminal court reopening in NYC fails

Public defenders, legal aides rally against reopening of courts, say it puts people at risk

DiFiore says courts have ‘obligation’ to continue in-person operations

Ulster public defender qualifications questioned by lawmakers

Opinion: Ulster County public defender is qualified advocate

Missouri:

Judge grants class status in Missouri public defender case

Guam:

Public defender hoping it can help tackle 500-member wait list for manåmko’ legal service

California:

Scales of justice can be tipped by spending on prosecutions, public defenders

Santa Clara County DA abandoning death penalty pursuit in all cases

“ADO for Black Lives” – Alternate public defender speaks out on treatment by deputy sheriff in Solano County

Public defender keeps pressure on authorities for strong response to SJPD racism scandal (San Jose)

Deputy public defender says he was traumatized by anti-Semitic treatment (Humboldt County)

Yolo County to pass resolution recognizing racism as a public health crisis

Florida:

Supreme Court deals blow to felons in Florida seeking to regain the right to vote

Judge denies defendant’s plea to switch lawyers, saying public defendant (sic) not on his side

2nd criminal investigation into Matt Shirk closed: No charges filed

Who will be the next Broward public defender: Ruby Lenora Green, Tom Lynch or Gordon Weekes?

Yeary challenges Thomas for public defender job

Alabama:

Multiple attorneys drop cases due to mask concerns at Madison County jail

Kentucky:

The bar exam cancelation means my clients won’t have access to justice

Maryland:

As COVID-19 permeates prisons and jails, Baltimore defendants continue to be held without bail

Opinion: Pinstriped injustice in a time of COVID-19

Alaska:

Overcrowding at API leaves man with mental illness in jail for nearly a year, as state court warns of ‘unacceptable’ wait times

Task force looks to expand courts that offer treatment instead of prison time

North Carolina:

Lawsuit: Suicidal soldier wrongly arrested, lawyers failed to defend him (Fayetteville)

New Mexico:

Detainee at Bernalillo County youth detention center tests positive for COVID-19

Texas:

A second change (San Antonio)

Former public defender handily defeats incumbent in Austin DA primary run-off

Minnesota:

Nobles County public defenders win changemaker award

Pennsylvania:

Former Dauphin County chief public defender gets probation, pays $14K restitution for conflict of interest

Colorado:

Denver Post review finds ranks of Colorado judges, prosecutors overwhelmingly white

Washington:

Race and the justice system: 3 areas to target, according to this Seattle professor

Spokane attorney will lead office of public defense (Cowlitz County)

New Jersey:

No contempt charges under criminal justice reform act, NJ high court rules

Indiana:

Evan Broderick resigns as public defender, effective July 31

Rhode Island:

Montecalvo sworn in as Rhode Island public defender

Of Interest:

A brutal lynching. An indifferent police force. A 34-year wait for justice

They agreed to meet their mother’s killer. Then tragedy struck again.

For people leaving prison, rebuilding a life is hard even without a pandemic

Courts get creative to restart jury trials amid pandemic

US-style public defender system would be ‘complete disaster’ in Ireland

7/15/20

Announcement

American Bar Endowment opens 2021 Opportunity Grants Cycle

Report:

A majority of voters support an end to extreme sentences for children

National:

Inmates are 5 times more likely to get coronavirus than the general population, study says

Poverty can turn a brush with the law into a death sentence

Freed from prison, dead from COVID-19, not even counted

State-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

COVID-19 relief programs: Recent criminal enforcement and anticipated trends

ABA honors young lawyers from Texas, Montana with inaugural award for access-to-justice work

Indiana:

Many public defenders getting compensated less than minimum wage

Does Indiana have a weak public defender system?

Contract public defenders in this state make about $5 per hour after overhead, new study says

Many public defenders getting compensated less than minimum wage

Cases rising for public defender’s office (Adams County)

Maine: 

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

Recording of 837 attorney-client phone calls n 4 county jails ‘borders on the ridiculous’

New York:

Public defender groups: Court opening plan endangers clients, staff

Public defenders call on NY courts to reconsider in-person appearances during reopening process

NYC public defenders threaten to sue state to stop in-person criminal proceedings

Ulster County public defender nominee not qualified for job, Legislature chairman says

Ulster County public defender nominee defends her qualifications

Opposition to Ulster County public defender pick partly rooted in gender bias, nominee and Ryan say

NYPD must fire officer who punched man on subway: Defense lawyers

California:

1644 cases in San Quentin, bay area hospitals overwhelmed, shortage of firefighters – Breaking down COVID-19 in CDCR

Letter: Sheriff files complaint on public defender in Solano County based on her hearing a BLM mask

Inside California courts, lawyers fume that mask wearing is mixed during pandemic

SJ (San Joaquin) defender leads charge as lawyers fume over spotty mask wearing in state’s courtrooms

“It’s like a horror movie”: Trapped inside San Quentin during an explosion of COVID-19

Petrosino retires after four years as Orange County public defender, ending a 35-year career with the office

Louisiana:

With funding uncertainties exacerbated by coronavirus, public defenders hopeful for permanent statewide solutions

Coronavirus is making it harder for poor New Orleanians to get a fair trial

Pennsylvania:

Pa. Bar Association panel to develop recommendations to enable legal system to continue during emergency

Lawyers union says Allegheny County courthouse should be closed amid COVID-19 infections

Minnesota:

Public defender accuses prosecutors of withholding information in state trooper investigation

Massachusetts:

Public defenders in Springfield host justice-focused Black Lives Matter rally as courts cautiously reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic

Local public defender organizes Hampden County defenders for black lives rally

Michigan:

Michigan teenager incarcerated for failing to do her online schoolwork amid pandemic

Illinois:

Chicago police impounded 250,000 vehicles since 2010. Here’s why city hall’s rethinking that

South Dakota:

Minnehaha County commission refuses to forgive convicted felon’s public defender lien

West Virginia:

Trial delayed for Charleston lawyer who fled country on fraud charges

Tennessee:

County Commission declines to approve new court cost to aid public defender’s office

Texas:

COVID-19 strikes a Texas nursing home for prisoners

Wisconsin:

Council okays funding for indigent defense (Milwaukee)

Montana:

Bozeman attorneys quarantining after defendant tests positive

New Hampshire:

NH jury trials will look different during coronavirus pandemic

Florida:

Orlando-Osceola public defender didn’t take coronavirus safety seriously, some employees say

Public defender candidate profile: Andy Thomas (Tallahassee)

Public defender candidate profile: Jessica Yeary (Tallahassee)

Nevada:

Lawsuit: Lawmakers violate law with government day jobs

South Carolina:

Hazzard selected as 15th Circuit Public Defender

Of Interest:

How criminal background checks lead to discrimination against millions of Americans

Column: Want to escape a criminal past? Move to Alaska (like I did)

The federal death penalty has the veneer of respectability. But it’s just as flawed as the states’ killing machines.

For people leaving prison, rebuilding a life is hard even without a pandemic

7/8/20

In Memoriam:

Santae Tribble, whose wrongful conviction revealed FBI forensic hair match flaws, dies at 59

Sean Chapman, prominent Tucson attorney, dies at 58 of cancer

Announcement:

American Bar Endowment opens 2021 Opportunity Grants Cycle

National:

The unfulfilled promise of the public defender (Book Review of Free Justice by Sara Mayeux)

The case for a universal public defender program

The fight to stop federal executions isn’t over

Why blue lies matter: It is everyone’s business when police fail to tell the truth

State-by-state look at coronavirus in prisons

Right to legal counsel for minors grew out of Arizona case from 1964

Indiana:

Study: Public defender get $5.16 an hour after overhead

Study finds some Indiana public defenders are paid $5 per hour after overhead costs

High case loads, low salaries still issues for LCPDA

Commissioners approve temporary lease for new public defender office

California:

SF public defender’s office files for immediate release of non-violent clients in San Quentin, amid COVID-19 outbreak

SF immigration lawyers cut ICE detention centers population by two-thirds

Zoom communication causes Merced public defender to scream, “DON’T INTERRUPT ME”

Money or COVID-19 consequence? Fresno County no longer contracting interpreters for non-English speaking clients

Top medical officer for California prisons ousted amid worsening coronavirus outbreak

Jails a COVID-19 ‘tinderbox,’ Sacramento defenders tell high court in plea for early releases

State Supreme Court asked to intervene on behalf of inmates in Sacramento county jails

Public defender still fighting to free brother from Arizona jail

Judge declines to remove OC DA from sex offender parole violation cases

Attorney, now sick with COVID-19, says judge ordered her to court against her better judgment

Washington:

Supreme Court issues ruling on indigent juvenile defense

New York:

Many deaths at New York state prisons are preventable, review finds

Musician and lawyer Danielle Ponder rejoining public defender’s office to boost diversity

Minnesota:

Minnesota prosecutors fail to hold police accountable, critics say

Louisiana:

Rapides IDB ‘will no longer personally appear in court’ until courthouse comes up with better COVID-19 plans

Coronavirus tests come back positive for several Lafayette courthouse employees, including a judge

Illinois:

Defendants may not sue his public defender for legal malpractice in a civil rights suit

County courts resume routines

Georgia:

Georgia Justices: Constitutional challenges no longer automatic in noncapital murder appeals

Public defender faces family law attorney in DeKalb Superior runoff

Texas:

Houston council votes to settle lawsuit over lengthy jail detentions without hearings

A former public defender hopes to unseat top prosecutor in Travis County district attorney race

Florida:

Florida failing to fulfill justice promise

11th Circuit blocks order allowing felon voting in Florida

As COVID-19 spreads in juvenile lockups, public defenders, advocates call for testing

Backlogs, budgets and COVID-19 loom large as NWFL courts eye return to trials

Election 2020: These lawyers want to be your public defender (7th Circuit)

Nebraska:

Former York County public defender sentenced in theft case

Maryland:

Task force on police reform announced in Prince George’s county

Prince George’s county launches police reform task force

Of Interest:

Special Report: Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws, oaths remained on the bench

You can get kicked out of a jury pool for supporting Black Lives Matter

Biden still wants to close Guantanamo prison

The great recession diverted lawyers to public interest work. Will the pandemic do the same?

7/1/20

Report:

National Juvenile Defender Center:
Overdue for Justice: An Assessment of Access to and Quality of Juvenile Defense Counsel in Michigan

Missouri:

Class status sought in Missouri suit over public defender wait list

Missouri Supreme Court decides in public-defender immunity case

Illinois:

Lawsuit alleges Chicago police routinely deny arrestees the ability to call, meet with defense attorneys

Indiana:

Lawrence County public defender agency declining appointments of public defenders until further notice

Washington:

Washington not liable for some problems in public defense system

Public defender: Wash. COs working without masks ‘makes no sense’

California:

California public defenders issue recommendations for meaningful statewide police reform

Multi-tasking public defender performance amusing at times but ultimately exhausting to court

Sacramento court commissioner fed up with defendants’ questions

San Quentin State Prison is “deep area of focus and concern” in California: Nearly one-third of inmates have coronavirus

San Quentin prison was free of the virus.  One decision fueled an outbreak.

San Quentin: COVID-19 cases at California prison surge to 1,000

507 inmates test positive for COVID-19 in Fresno jail, 25 officers as well

What Ohio’s COVID-19 outbreaks can teach California prisons

Calls renewed to defund San Jose police amid investigation into alleged racist Facebook posts

Yolo County public defender expands on recent peaceful protest

Column: DA Reisig cannot let this one go, doubles down on attack on public defender (Yolo)

DA Rosen’s attempt to silence public defender backfires (Santa Clara)

Guest commentary: 650 public defenders stand behind Sajid Khan

Defense attorney upset that San Mateo County DA didn’t tell everyone in the courtroom a prosecutor had tested positive for COVID-19

DA Spitzer denies attempt to intimidate OC judges

Sacramento judge gives ‘time-out’ to public defender, requires him to change into ‘courtroom attire’

Georgia:

Georgia defender system dismantles appellate office spared from budget cut

Public defender office opens back up, courts continue to recover from COVID-19 outbreak

Judges can sentence juveniles to life without parole, court says

Floyd public defender’s office sanitized, reopened after positive coronavirus case

Why Tayo Alli may be the best public defender for such a time as this

Louisiana:

Resolution passes Senate to help fund public defenders

Judiciary Committee advances resolution to fund public defender board

As kids, they were sentenced to a lifetime in prison. A new law might give them a second chance

New York:

Budget cuts may keep Rikers open past 2027 deadline

NY state bar association honors former Ulster County public defender

Kentucky:

Kentucky’s Casey’s Law, involuntary treatment for the addicted, is challenged as unconstitutional

Oregon:

Letter: Public defender offers open-door invitation to commissioners

Florida:

Public defender, state attorney’s offices push to reduce jail population in Jacksonville

178 Jacksonville inmates test positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday; public defender, state attorney’s offices push to reduce jail population

New Mexico:

Massive COVID-19 outbreak at a southern NM prison hits just one type of inmates – sex offenders. That’s by design.

Maryland:

Opinion: Stop defunding schools, start defunding police: A juvenile public defender’s perspective

Some MD school districts look to remove police officers, amidst controversy

South Carolina:

Charleston forum reveals continuing distrust of police, justice system in Black community

Iowa:

Iowa law to test the benefit of early legal help in child welfare cases

Kansas:

Powell focused on distance running and future as a public defender

Connecticut:

Danielson court reopens to public – with new safety measures

Nebraska:

Mayor names former public defender, Yohance Christie, to city attorney

Of Interest:

Opinion To build an inclusive legal profession, we must deconstruct systemic racial bias

Opinion: A prison sentence of life without parole isn’t called the death penalty. But it should be.

Thousands of US judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench

Opinion: Tragedy of COVID-19 in prisons shows need for decarceration

June

6/24/20

New Survey:
Please participate in a survey asking about changes in how criminal cases are being processed since COVID-19 including how well the courts have protected you and your client’s safety and whether plea deals have changed (are they better, are they worse?). Cynthia Alkon, a law professor at Texas A&M University School of Law (and former Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender) is conducing the survey for defense lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. Please fill out the survey and also forward this request and link to other lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. Survey responses are anonymous. 

Report:

ABA – Privatization of Services in the Criminal Justice System

ELI – Reconstruction in America

National:

Trapped: Most states let courts fine teenagers. The debt is taking down their whole families.

ABA announces first winners of SCLAID Centennial Award

California:

Last-second appointed attorney unprepared to help defendant (Sacramento)

‘Our office could be decimated’ – 3 county public defenders exposed to COVID-19 positive inmates; other court staff threatened (Sacramento)

Yolo DA attacks public defender over claims of disproportionate incarcerated black population

Guest commentary: What we wish Yolo district attorney Jeff Reisig had written . . .

San Francisco ends zero bail policy, draws criticism from DA and public defender

Boudin bans prosecutions based on sole testimony of untrustworthy policy officers (San Francisco)

SF public defender hails new policy to end posting mug shots of those arrested

Evidence scandal rivals cop informant debacle in Orange County

Santa Clara county district attorney backs off whistleblower claim against line-level public defender

DA backs off whistleblower complaint after fierce backlash from public defenders (Santa Clara)

Opinion: California DA threatens whistleblower complaint against public defender over protest blog posts

Letter: 650 public defenders stand behind Sajid Khan

California public defenders association supports the right to free speech by deputy public defender

Prosecutor vows to file whistleblower complaint against public defender for bias blog posts

Orange County supervisors appoint new public defender

LA County public defender’s office poised for jump to cloud

COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in San Quentin, Corcoran prisons

Georgia:

Georgia budget cuts threaten prisoners’ ability to challenge convictions

Planned cuts for public defenders could bring lawsuit against state

Minnesota:

‘We see George Floyd often’: Hennepin co. chief public defender says she’s raised red flags about abusive officers for years

Henn. Co. public defender: Floyd’s arrest was not unique

Washington:

Public defenders ask Seattle to stop prosecuting

Public defenders, Manuel Ellis’ sister call for firing of Tacoma officers in his death

Illinois:

Chicago policy illegally denied protestors right to attorney, phone call, top public defender says

Maine:

Protected attorney-client calls released to prosecutors at least four times in Maine

Michigan:

New Detroit program can match public defenders and clients before arrest

South Carolina:

York County criminal court shut; public defender worker positive for coronavirus

Virginia:

Public defenders march against racism in Portsmouth

‘Sometimes you just have to follow your heart,’ says Portsmouth public defender seen vandalizing monument

Nevada:

Want to see Las Vegas police body-cam footage? You’ll soon pay $280 per hour

Kansas:

Letter: Public defenders have key justice role

Connecticut:

Column: Public defenders, allies for change

New York:

NY’s legal limbo: Pandemic creates backlog of 39,200 criminal cases

NYS advisory committee on judicial ethics – assistant public defender on town board: Opinion 20-32

Texas:

Virus case prompts public defender’s office to close (McAllen)

North Carolina:

North Carolina chief public defenders and state defenders adopt resolution denouncing the murder of George Floyd

Arkansas:

Dozens of Arkansas public defender march in solidarity for human rights at state capitol

Iowa:

Iowa Governor will restore voting rights to paroled felons

Wisconsin:

Wausau public defender appointed as Marathon County judge

Public defender Suzanne O’Neill appointed as Marathon County judge

Nebraska:

Burke verbally agrees to fill public defender position

Virginia:

Virginia democrats hope to drop mandatory minimum sentencing

Kentucky:

Black attorneys in Louisville march in hopes of ‘balancing the scales of justice”

Retired public defender running for circuit judge

Florida

Endorsement: Gordon Weekes is by far the best choice for Broward public defender

Of Interest:

How the Supreme Court has gradually weakened the legal protections you have when you’re arrested

What Chicago’s ultimate bad cop taught me about police reform

Abolishing qualified immunity is unlikely to alter police behavior

No money, no lawyer, no justice: The vast, hidden inequities of the civil legal system

Apply broken-windows theory to the police

Black lives matter’s years of pressure paved the way for sudden police overhaul

Op-Ed: DNA testing isn’t enough. We need the right to fingerprint matching

6/17/20

New Survey:

Please participate in a survey asking about changes in how criminal cases are being processed since COVID-19 including how well the courts have protected you and your client’s safety and whether plea deals have changed (are they better, are they worse?). Cynthia Alkon, a law professor at Texas A&M University School of Law (and former Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender) is conducing the survey for defense lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. Please fill out the survey and also forward this request and link to other lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. Survey responses are anonymous. 

National:

Coronavirus cases rise sharply in prisons even as they plateau nationwide

Over 40,000 people in prison have tested positive for COVID-19

Punishment by pandemic

‘We are part of the problem they protest’

U.S. Supreme Court rules Texas death row inmate had an ineffective lawyer, orders new review

California:

Will LA keep zero bail for now? DA Lacey says it should

Deputy public defender seeking hefty damages from Humboldt County

OC deputies fired in evidence scandal get leniency while their victims go to jail, public defender claims

County funding skews even more toward district attorney, sheriff, away from public defender (Yolo County)

Yolo County public defender’s office participates in peaceful protest for George Floyd

Santa Barbara County supervisors take first step to address racial inequality

Three Sacramento public defenders quarantined after exposure to COVID-19 inmates, according to tip

Illinois:

Public defender Amy Campanelli seeks probe into Sheriff’s deputies’ social media posts after Black Lives Matter march

Public defender cites backlash from sheriff’s deputies after Black Lives Matter rally, asks for discipline

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart ‘de-deputizes’ deputies linked to insults and threats toward protestors

Public defenders hold Black Lives Matter march around courthouse, jail complex

Commentary: DCFS should lift its ban on parent-child visits

Virginia:

Public defender accused of defacing Portsmouth Confederate monument plans Tuesday rally at statue

New group calls for police reform in Arlington

Tennessee:

Tennessee Supreme Court delays 2nd execution due to pandemic

Texas:

Texas COVID-19 massacre

Medary sworn in for 3rd term on Texas Indigent Defense Board

New York:

Jeh Johnson tapped by New York courts to lead racial bias review

Ryan appoints new Ulster County public defender, seeks OK for full-time status

Sheeley named Ulster County public defender

Arkansas:

Grim stories from inside an Arkansas prison capture the toll of COVID-19

North Carolina:

Association of Black Attorneys: Leadership change was necessary

Nevada:

Sisolak calls for investigation into arrests at Las Vegas strip

Alabama:

Public defenders host rally against racisms in the justice system (Montgomery)

Public defenders host rally in support of racial justice (Tuscaloosa)

New Hampshire:

Former Manchester man accused of beating up his public defender now wants to proceed pro se asks judge to reverse earlier ruling on waiver of speedy trial

Hawaii:

Column: Hawaii’s early inmate release a health success

Guzman: Legal system returning to normal

New Mexico:

Spike in coronavirus cases at Otero prison rises higher

Michigan:

County board approved indigent defense compliance grant application (Cheboygan County)

Of Interest:

Why Minneapolis was the breaking point

Report: Solitary confinement in US prisons spiked by 500 percent when coronavirus hit

Trump signs order on policing, but Democrats and activists say it falls far short of what is needed

Here are the 98 US cities where protestors were tear-gassed

Opinion: The successful closing of youth prisons shows a path to police reform

6/12/20

National:

President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice hold hearing on the role of public defender

How defendants end up pleading guilty to nonexistent crimes

Jon Rapping talks pandemics, protests and public defense

AI in the public defender’s office: Interview with Darrell Malone Jr., Tubman Project

Federal public defenders speak out on the killing of George Floyd

Jails are coronavirus hotbeds. How many people should be released to slow the spread?

Louisiana:

As Louisiana lawmakers continue to work on budget, see how millions in coronavirus aid will be used

Louisiana legislators begin moving spending bills

Louisiana lawmakers start moving $33B budget for next year

City park funding restored after money stripped by legislature for public defender

North Carolina:

New hope for people who claim racism tainted their death sentence

‘Unacceptable and ignorant:’ Cumberland County public defender apologizes for Facebook post, resigns

Public defender resigns after social media post

Kentucky:

Louisville passes ban on no-knock warrants after Breonna Taylor’s death

Public defenders to ‘March for Black Lives’ today to Campbell, Kenton county courthouses

New Jersey:

Obscure New Jersey ‘treatment’ facility has a higher COVID-19 death rate than any prison in the country

NJ Supreme Court gives prisoners right to appeal if turned down for COVID-19 release

How the court stepped back on procedure but stepped forward on due process, regarding COVID-19 prison release

Kansas:

Commentary: Kansas Senate put payback politics over justice with public defender Carl Folsom

Texas:

Harris County passes package of 11 criminal justice reform proposals

Criminal justice reform to take center stage at Harris County’s June 9 Commissioners Court meeting

Public defender could close indigent defense gap (Hays County)

Florida:

Florida Supreme Court conservatives reverse longstanding criminal protections. It’s ‘alarming,’ defense lawyers say

Brevard public defender, defense lawyers call on sheriff to release jail video involving Gregory Edwards and corrections deputies

Public defender: Stat attorney’s office reviewing protest videos to determine whether to drop charges

Tampa Bay public defenders march with Black Lives Matter movement

Palm Beach Co. public defenders hold protest in West Palm Beach

Palm Beach County public defenders join nationwide Black Lives Matter protest

Public defenders host peaceful protest for criminal justice reform (Gainesville)

Public defenders gather to Walk for Justice in Gainesville

California:

California lawyers seek criminal justice changes

California justice rescind emergency zero bail order

Bay area public defenders join national rallies pushing ‘transformative’ change in the name of George Floyd

Bay area public defenders protest as part of nationwide day of solidarity with black lives matter

Photos from Sacramento BLM public defender event

Public defenders rally in Woodland

Public defenders across country protest police brutality (focused on Alameda County)

200 Chino inmates transferred to San Quentin, Corcoran. Why weren’t they tested first?

(Los Angeles) County to dramatically expand access to bail

L.A. County expands pilot bail program to all courts

Maryland:

Maryland office of the public defender calls for removal of school resource officers at PG County public schools

Juvenile defenders call for removal of school resource officers from Prince George’s County public schools

New York:

Judge declares courthouse immigration arrests illegal in New York

Connections: Discussing criminal justice reform and the BLM movement with local public defenders (Monroe County)

Public defender highlights Silvon Simmons case for conversation about police reform

Rochester’s public defenders march for Black Lives Matter movement

South Carolina:

Lawyers provide free representation at bond hearings

Minnesota:

Minneapolis’ third precinct served as ‘playground’ for renegade cops

Jury trials resuming in Minnesota, but concern about virus remains high

Nevada:

Las Vegas public defenders lead Monday demonstrations outside of courthouse

Public defenders rally for change in downtown Las Vegas

Oregon:

Public defenders clash with the district attorney (Deschutes County)

Local attorneys march in downtown Eugene in support of Black Lives Matter movement

Nebraska:

OPS board president hopes to recall Douglas County attorney over Scurlock case

Massachusetts:

Public defenders rally for black lives outside Worcester County courthouse

Missouri:

Public defense lawyers protest in the name of George Floyd (St. Louis)

Public defenders march against police brutality, justice system in downtown St. Louis

Tennessee:

Public defenders hold candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd (Knoxville)

Rhode Island:

Photos: RI office of public defender honors George Floyd

Alabama:

Photos: Public defenders rally for racial justice

Public defenders host rally against racism in justice system (Montgomery)

Public defenders rally against ‘systemic racism’ in criminal justice (Montgomery)

Pennsylvania:

PA Auditor General calls for criminal justice reforms to improve lives, reduce costs

‘The silence is what’s killing us.’ Public defenders protest against institutional racism in criminal justice system (Pittsburgh)

Victim assistance group, public defender’s office receive grants

Illinois:

In-person social visits at Cook County jail resume amid ‘continuing trend of low COVID-19 cases’

Wisconsin:

An advocate for Black lives on the bench

Ohio:

Ohio public defenders call for systemic change in criminal justice system to address racism

Montgomery County public defender’s office marched against inequality

New Mexico:

Public defender march in nationwide protest to confront systemic racism

Public defenders call on BCSO to use body cameras

Georgia:

Rally to support public defenders set for Monday in Atlanta

Michigan:

Detroit public defenders march for justice system changes

Virginia:

Tracey Lenox to head county’s new public defenders’ office

Veteran defense attorney named Prince William County’s new chief public defender

Of Interest:

The first year out

The people who undermine progressive prosecutors

Bail reformers aren’t waiting for bail reform

Why some bail funds had to stop accepting cash

Prisoner ‘three strikes rule’ case fails to sway Justices

A guide to the less-lethal weapons that law enforcement uses against protestors

Activists create public online spreadsheet of police violence videos

A lawyer is tweeting videos of police using force at protests. There are more than 400

Prosecutorial discretion: The prosecutor’s role in curbing infections in prisons

6/5/2020

Survey:

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! 

In Memoriam: 

Arlen Meckler, Former public defender and civil rights lawyer, Wilmington, DE

Report:

NAPD Ethics Op 19-1: Public Defense Conflicts of Interest

Pay to Play? Campaign Finance and the Incentive Gap in the Sixth Amendment’s Right to Counsel

National:

Jails are coronavirus hotbeds how many people should be released to slow the spread?

Public defender, former prosecutor: 5 steps to confront coronavirus in America’s prison

Louisiana:

Louisiana public defenders request $28M amid court closures

Lawyers certified to handle death penalty cases sought for accused Baton Rouge cop killer

Ian Howard’s defense in turmoil after termination of lead counsel

Lafayette judge orders capital defense director to appear for contempt hearing

Georgia:

Georgia courts clogged by pandemic brace for state budget squeeze

Pay cuts for judges, state attorneys floated in budget hearings

Longtime public defender David Dunn leaving post at end of June (Catoosa County)

Texas:

Harris County public defenders raise concerns about processing of mass arrestees by HPD during protests

Campaign funds for judges warp criminal justice, study finds

Lawyers who donate to judicial campaigns get more indigent defense appointments, study finds

Criminal justice issues mulled by coordinating committee (Hays County)

California:

SF public defender calls for changes to police arrest techniques after viral video arrest

Public defender calls for new use-of-force policies after SFPD knee video circulated

Alameda County’s public defender weighs in on protests and curfews

Protest during COVID-19/Alameda County public defender

Curfew-inspired court closures draws fire from South Bay public defenders, D.A. (Santa Clara)

Public defender rally against Santa Clara court closures amid protests

A public defender fights to save his two incarcerated brothers from COVID-19

Letter: Public defender backs local law enforcement (Butte County)

Thousands of cases delayed as county courts remain closed due to unrest (Los Angeles)

California sues Trump team over student loan forgiveness

Florida:

Miami-Dade prosecutors, public defenders, courts continue 4th phase of COVID-19 early jail review and release plan

Washington:

Coronavirus has closed courthouses, stopped trials. How does Washington’s justice system come back?

Ohio:

Hundreds arrested during protests show up at Justice Center (Cincinnati)

Pennsylvania:

Snyder County names chief public defender

Oregon:

Judge doesn’t find ‘deliberate indifference’ by Oregon Corrections Department in coronavirus response

Arkansas:

Arkansas told corrections officers to keep working even if they’re infected with COVID-19

Colorado:

COVID-19 is delaying reforms to Colorado’s mental health system

Boulder County officials weighing public safety, backlog as court prepares to resume

Vacancy for attorney opens on public defender commission

New York:

Pandemic hinders bar exam retakers who aid the indigent

Illinois:

Report: 1 in 6 Chicago COVID-19 cases can be tied to Cook County jail

Kansas:

Senate rejects court nominee because he was public defender assigned to child-porn case

Virginia:

This Virginia county is finally getting a public defender’s office. It’s a step in the right direction. (Prince William County)

The criminal justice reform agenda Virginia Democrats deferred to 2021

Florida:

Ex-public defender confirmed to federal bench in Florida

Michigan:

New chief investigator for Berrien public defender’s office settles in

Of Interest:

Opinion: Prisoners may hold the key to releasing us from coronavirus lockdown

Police act like laws don’t apply to them because of ‘qualified immunity.’ They’re right

Opinion: The no-knock warrant for Breonna Taylor was illegal

Torture can be considered in sentencing Guantanamo prisoners, judge rules

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.

 

May

5/29/2020

Survey:

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! 

Reports:

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

National:

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.

Pennsylvania:

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

Missouri:

Continued rise in felony caseload cripples Missouri public defender system

Wisconsin:

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

Florida:

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

Kentucky:

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

Maryland:

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

Texas:

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)

Louisiana:

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

Wyoming:

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

Hawaii:

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

California:

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

Nevada:

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

Nebraska:

Worthman officially resigns as public defender

Oklahoma:

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

Connecticut:

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

Indiana:

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

Illinois:

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:

Kansas governor nominates public defender for appeals court

Virginia:

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.

5/20/2020

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

Report:

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

National:

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

Louisiana:

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

Oregon:

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

Wyoming:

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

Arizona:

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

Illinois:

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

Massachusetts:

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

Colorado:

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

California:

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

Pennsylvania:

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

Florida:

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

Texas:

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

Ohio:

Wood County seeks to fill public defender commission vacancy

Virginia:

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

Iowa:

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

Maryland:

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

Connecticut:

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

Washington:

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

Tennessee:

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

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

Kentucky:

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

Nevada:

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

Utah:

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

Indiana:

Howard County gets new chief public defender

Michigan:

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

5/8/2020

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

National:

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

Missouri:

Judges dismissed from suit over public defender waitlists

Maine:

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

Massachusetts:

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

Arkansas:

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

California:

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

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

Florida:

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

25 inmates test positive in PBC west jail

Virginia:

Some Arlington inmates freed amid continued coronavirus concerns

Ohio:

Group effort keeps jail numbers low (Knox County)

Maryland:

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

Michigan:

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

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

Nebraska:

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

Vermont:

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

Texas:

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)

Illinois:

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

Hawaii:

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

Pennsylvania:

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

Louisiana:

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

Washington:

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.

5/1/20

National:

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

Louisiana:

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

Florida:

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:

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

Massachusetts:

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

Pandemic in our prisons

Pennsylvania:

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

Alabama:

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

Washington:

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)

Indiana:

Public defender hiring request tabled again (Lawrence County)

Virginia:

Prince William public defenders' office survives state budget freeze

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

Michigan:

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

Weiner-Vatter is named new chief assistant public defender

California:

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

Minnesota:

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

Illinois:

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

Vermont:

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

Ohio:

Commissioners get budgets for public defense (Washington County)

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

Hawaii:

Virus prompts Hawaii court's order of faster prisoner release

Mississippi:

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

Arizona:

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

Alabama:

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

Kentucky:

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

April

4/24/2020

In Memoriam:

Barbara Babcock-Stanford University

Report:

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

National:

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?

Louisiana:

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

Massachusetts:

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

Nevada:

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

Iowa:

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

Ohio:

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

Florida:

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

California:

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)

Texas:

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:

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

Connecticut:

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

Idaho

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

Pennsylvania:

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:

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

Virginia:

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

Minnesota:

Hennepin County chief public defender is reprimanded over social media posts

Wisconsin:

Racine County sheriff: Office will not enforce safer at home

Connecticut:

Valley Indy Radio: Derby public defender Johnathan Gable

Mississippi:

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

4/15/2020

ABA COVID RAPID RESPONSE WEBINARS: 
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

National:

‘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:

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

Maryland:

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:

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

Louisiana:

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)

Pennsylvania:

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

Federal inmates left behind amid releases from Allegheny County jail

California:

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

Minnesota:

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

Hawaii:

Jail populations decline statewide, in part due to coronavirus

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

Hawaii updates

Maine

Defense attorneys struggle to protect clients in the pandemic

Kansas:

Opinion: Consider early release to limit virus spread

Inmates rampage through offices, set fire at Kansas prison

Texas:

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

Arizona:

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

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Governor commutes 450 sentences to reduce prison overcrowding

Mississippi:

Analysis: More jail review sought over coronavirus concerns

Illinois:

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

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

Florida:

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

Indiana:

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)

Tennessee:

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

Virginia:

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

4/9/2020

ABA COVID RAPID RESPONSE WEBINARS:

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.

National:

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:

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.

Texas:

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:

Wyoming Supreme Court defends Campbell County public defender

Pennsylvania:

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

Massachusetts:

Column: Supreme Judicial Court missed chance to save lives

Utah:

Sanpete taxpayers foot $200K bill for lawyers for inmates

California:

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)

Florida

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:

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:

Oregon inmates sue department of corrections over COVID response

Tennessee:

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

Illinois:

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:

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

Hawaii:

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

Alabama:

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

Indiana: 

Budget sought for public defender office (Gibson County)

Elkhart judge requests more money for public defender

Oklahoma:

Attorney inspired to serve inmates by father’s incarceration

Nebraska:

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

4/3/2020

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

Report:

National Registry of Exonerations – Annual Report

National:

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

Massachusetts:

SJC rules against district court judge in indigent defense case

SJC refines protocol to deal with public defender shortages

Wyoming:

Wyoming Supreme Court sides with public defender

Wyoming Supreme Court rules in favor of public defender

Georgia:

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:

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

California:

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:

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

Louisiana:

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

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

Texas:

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

Mississippi:

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

Illinois:

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

Alaska:

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

Delaware:

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

Kentucky:

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

Pennsylvania:

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

Virginia:

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:

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

Connecticut:

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

March

3/26/2020

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

National:

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

Pennsylvania:

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:

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

Indiana:

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

Ohio:

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

Washington:

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

California:

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)

Oklahoma:

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

Nebraska:

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

Illinois:

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

Illinois County public defender calls for emergency release of detainees

Colorado:

Colorado’s justice system is still catching up to coronavirus

Colorado Springs public defender tests positive for COVID-19

Kentucky:

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

Maryland:

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:

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

Connecticut:

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

Alabama:

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

Oregon:

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

Hawaii:

Prosecutors, public defenders adapt to COVID-19 constraints

Michigan:

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

3/19/20

Friends,

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 malia.brink@americanbar.org. And news can be forwarded, so please feel free to share it as broadly as you think is useful.

Malia

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

National:

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

Pennsylvania:

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:

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

Kansas public defender turnover slows, but still high

Vermont:

Opinion: Make Vermont’s public defenders truly public

Kentucky:

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

Louisiana:

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

Maryland:

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

Louisiana:

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

Minnesota:

Public defender wants jail inmates released due to COVID-19

Minnesota contemplates releasing nonviolent offenders as coronavirus spreads

Ohio:

Inmates in Ohio being released due to concern of coronavirus spread

Connecticut:

To contain coronavirus, release people in prison

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

California:

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:

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

Oregon:

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

Tennessee:

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

Illinois:

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

3/12/2020

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

National:

Public defenders have an obligation to speak out

Podcast Hech Yea: PD Movement Building with Scott Hechinger

Pennsylvania:

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:

Oregon public defenders snubbed by state lawmakers

Kansas:

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

Mississippi:

Changes proposed to county’s public defenders

Editorial: There is no savings in delayed justice

Alaska:

Senate confirmation hearing for public defender gets loose

Louisiana:

In Louisiana, prisons shift toward rehabilitation

California:

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

Maryland:

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)

Colorado:

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

Connecticut:

Bill would provide attorneys to young adults in DCF care

Washington:

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

Indiana:

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

Michigan:

Michigan courts delay jury trials during coronavirus concerns

Berrien County mourns loss of chief public defender

Nebraska:

Interim public defender resigns (Box Butte County)

Illinois:

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

3/6/2020

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

National:

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

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

Pennsylvania:

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

Missouri:

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)

Ohio:

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

Colorado:

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

Maryland:

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

Michigan:

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

Wyoming:

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

After 35 years, attorney ends tenure as public defender

California:

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

Mississippi:

Changes proposed for county’s public defenders

Illinois:

Cook County employees seek $14M in inmate harassment lawsuit

Virginia:

Public defenders ask for better pay (Loudon)

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

Louisiana:

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

Georgia:

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?

February

2/27/2020

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!

National:

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

Missouri:

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

Pennsylvania:

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

Indiana:

Plan wins approval guaranteeing equal access to public defender across Indiana

Minnesota:

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

Alabama:

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

Texas:

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:

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

Maryland:

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

Oregon:

Pleas of insanity: The mysterious case of Anthony Montwheeler

California:

Police union, public defender take shots at Boudin on sentencing

City unveils ‘Jeff Adachi Way’ honoring late public defender

Nevada:

Defendants are spending less time in Clark County jail

Tennessee:

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

Illinois:

$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

Ohio:

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

Virginia:

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

2/20/2020

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

National:

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:

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

Georgia:

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

Missouri:

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

Oklahoma:

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

Indiana:

Senate bill would unify standards for appointing public defenders

Texas:

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)

Pennsylvania:

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

Maryland:

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

Florida:

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

Michigan:

County officials approve public defender grant funding

Massachusetts:

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

Alabama:

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

Illinois:

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

Mercer County public defender named associate judge

California:

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

Mississippi:

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:

Hawaii bill would decriminalize small amounts of ‘dangerous drugs’

Kansas:

Prison crowding main topic at legislative coffee

Wisconsin:

Local woman leads public defender board

Utah:

Longtime public defender appointed as juvenile court judge

Ohio:

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

Nebraska:

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

2/14/2020

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

National:

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:

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

Alabama:

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

Indiana:

Driving, public defender and cancer bills advance in legislature

Georgia:

Albany Commission approves suspending municipal court proceedings for 10 weeks

Pennsylvania:

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

Ohio:

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

California:

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

Virginia:

Public defender office in Prince William receives key approval in legislature

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

Michigan:

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)

Wisconsin:

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

Dunkin will chair state public defender board

Idaho:

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

Florida:

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

Maryland:

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

Idaho:

Elmore County taking over public defenders office

Texas:

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

Wisconsin:

Kenosha County public defender appointed circuit court judge

Of Interest:

How witness identifications send innocent people to prison

2/6/2020

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

National:

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

Missouri:

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

Louisiana:

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

Michigan:

Wayne County invests in public defenders for poor Detroiters

Kalamazoo defender offering expungement clinic to remove nonviolent crimes from record

Tennessee:

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)

Indiana:

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

Ohio:

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

Virginia:

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

Texas:

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

Georgia:

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

Florida:

Broward medical examiner’s office toxicologist fired over error

Mississippi:

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)

Idaho:

Defendant runs into snag during hearing (Bingham County)

Illinois:

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

Pennsylvania:

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

California:

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

January

1/30/2020

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

Report:

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

National:

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

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

Missouri:

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

Georgia:

Kemp pursues new criminal justice policy, unnerving critics

Lawmakers question state budget cuts to criminal justice, public safety

Wisconsin:

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

California:

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

Arizona:

Public defender quits after spat with judge (Mohave County)

Idaho:

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

Texas:

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?

Michigan:

Paul Jarobe selected MIDC coordinator for Grand Traverse, Antrim counties

Pennsylvania:

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)

Ohio:

Criminal justice support group coming to Dayton

Attorney to serve on public defense commission (Stark County)

Florida:

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

Nebraska:

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.

Oregon:

Law enforcement officials argue rural homeless services worsen problem

Alabama:

Alabama moving 600 inmates from dangerous, deteriorating Holman prison

Mississippi:

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

Illinois:

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

Massachusetts:

Massachusetts Bail Fund wins social justice award

Of Interest:

What would a world without prisons be like?

Trade your prison sentence for a smartwatch?

1/23/2020

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:

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:

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’

California:

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

Missouri:

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

Wisconsin:

Senate passes amended public defender pay parity bill

Pennsylvania:

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

Louisiana:

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

Michigan:

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:

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

Alaska:

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

Washington:

Asotin County officials discuss attorney shortage for prosecution, defense

Tennessee:

Task force says more resources needed for judicial system

Virginia:

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

Maryland:

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

Indiana:

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

Illinois:

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

1/16/2020

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

National:

The road to real criminal justice reform goes through public defenders

Missouri:

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

Arizona:

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

Idaho:

Bill to create new criminal justice data system introduced

Pennsylvania:

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:

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’

Texas:

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

Illinois:

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

Ohio:

County to increase indigent defense payment (Henry County)

Michigan:

Wexford-Missaukee public defenders office, caseload growing

Mississippi:

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

Maryland:

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

Tennessee:

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

1/10/2020

California:

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

Minnesota:

‘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

Missouri:

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:

Maine public defense under scrutiny: Five things to know

Nevada:

Lawsuit delves into public defense issues

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

Washington:

Attorneys frustrated with Clark County’s stance on indigent defense

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

Ohio:

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

Michigan:

MIDC year in review 2019

Berrien losing another chief public defender

Georgia:

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

Hawaii:

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

Florida:

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

Illinois:

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

Fake Illinois lawyer pleads guilty, gets probation

Virginia:

Governor announces criminal justice reform agenda for Virginia General Assembly session

Mississippi:

Hinds Co. appoints new public defender

Nebraska:

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’

1/3/20

Minnesota:

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

Missouri:

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:

Wyoming legislature advances bill to create agency for juvenile court cases

Massachusetts:

In indigent defense case, precedent for strong SJC action

Ohio:

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

Oregon:

Editorial: In defense of local defense attorneys

Nevada:

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

Virginia:

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

Louisiana:

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

Michigan:

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

California:

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

Florida:

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

Kentucky:

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

Indiana:

Marion Co. defender Karozos named state public defender

State names new public defender

Bruce Andis named lead Lawrence County public defender

Pennsylvania:

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

Illinois:

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