April 12, 2018

ABA summit on indigent defense brings together key stakeholders on criminal justice issues

CHICAGO, April 12, 2018 — The American Bar Association will host the 13th Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement on April 20 in Chicago, and the list of speakers includes defense attorneys, public interest activists and state supreme court justices.

What:               2018 Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement 

              Friday, April 20, 2018

            ABA Headquarters
                        321 N. Clark Street
                        Chicago, Ill. 60654

The six programs at the one-day summit run the gamut from conflicts that could arise for lawyers who represent indigent defendants to the challenges posed to judges who seek to be change agents and still fulfill their role as unbiased adjudicators. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, who served as the state’s chief justice for three years, and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley are slated to participate on the 2:30 p.m. panel, “Judicial Role: What role should judges play in public defense reform?”

Rick Kammen, a criminal defense lawyer based in Indianapolis, will provide the luncheon keynote address. Kammen has represented more than 300 homicide defendants, including involvement in approximately 40 death penalty cases. Until October 2017, he served as “Learned Counsel” in United States v. Abdul Rahim Al-Nashiri — the case involving an alleged central figure in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 in Aden, Yemen that is now before the Military Commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kammen and other civilian counsel withdrew from the case after the commission declined to address possible intrusions into the attorney-client relationship.

Also, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who campaigned on ending mass incarceration, will participate in the panel at 3:45 p.m. titled, “Progressive Prosecution: Can prosecutors help drive criminal justice reform?”  Since taking office, Krasner has implemented reforms, including not seeking bail in misdemeanor and nonviolence felony cases.

The summit program can be found online. The conference is sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants along with the nonprofit group Justice Works and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

All sessions are open to the media but pre-registration is necessary. To register, please contact Bill Choyke at 202-662-1864 or bill.choyke@americanbar.org.

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