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August 23, 2023

Principle 1: Independence

Public Defense Providers and their lawyers should be independent of political influence and subject to judicial authority and review only in the same manner and to the same extent as retained counsel and the prosecuting agency and its lawyers. To safeguard independence and promote effective and competent representation, a nonpartisan board or commission should oversee the Public Defense Provider. The selection of the head of the Public Defense Provider, as well as lawyers and staff, should be based on relevant qualifications and should prioritize diversity and inclusion to ensure that public defense staff are as diverse as the communities they serve.Public Defender Providers should have recruitment and retention plans in place to ensure diverse staff at all levels of the organization. Neither the chief defender nor staff should be removed absent a showing of good cause.