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Indigent Defense

Public Education Events

Upcoming Events

To be announced soon...

Past Events and Materials

2023 Public Defense Summit
Achieving Political Independence and Manageable Caseloads in a Modern Public Defense System
Virtual Event
April 13-14, 2023
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2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright guaranteeing the right to counsel for criminal defendants. But even six decades later, public defenders and other indigent defense providers continue to struggle against outside challenges to provide their clients with the best possible representation. The 2023 ABA Public Defense Summit focused on ensuring manageable workloads, protecting public defender independence, and other such challenges.

2022 Public Defense Summit
Management and Oversight of Assigned Counsel and Contract Systems
Virtual Event
April 21-22, 2022
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In almost every jurisdiction in the country, some portion of public defense work is undertaken by private practice attorneys operating as either court appointed or contract counsel. The 2022 ABA public defense summit will focus on the needs and oversight of such attorneys, whether they are representing all individuals charged with crimes in their jurisdiction or just a small portion thereof.

ABA Public Defense Summit
Virtual Event
January 21-22, 2021

OVERALL DESCRIPTION:  This year’s ABA Public Defense Summit focused on misdemeanor courts, and the role public defenders should play in effectively representing misdemeanor defendants and ensuring that the procedures in these courts protect those who are not entitled to counsel.

DAY ONE DESCRIPTION: Most people have their first experiences with the criminal justice system in Misdemeanor Court. Misdemeanor convictions, while often considered minor, can result not only in incarceration, but also extreme collateral consequences and crippling fines and fees. Despite the significant impact misdemeanor convictions have on accused individuals and their loved ones, the 6th Amendment right to counsel in misdemeanor court is limited to those who face potential incarceration. Day One of the Public Defense Summit  focused on issues of the monetary cost of misdemeanor courts, as well as when there is a right to counsel. The Sessions covered Fines and Fees, No Counsel Courts, and Bail Reform.

DAY TWO DESCRIPTION: Day Two of the Summit focused on efforts to reform aspects of Misdemeanor Courts. Topics included Ethical Obligations in Misdemeanor Courts, Counsel at First Appearance, and Criminalization of Homelessness and Mental Health Issues.