News Release ~ 09/11/2013

Constitution Day 2013 Hill Briefing -- Federal Indigent Defense Crisis

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO A CONSTITUTION DAY 2013 BRIEFING: “CHIPPING AWAY AT THE SIXTH AMENDMENT:  FEDERAL INDIGENT DEFENSE IN CRISIS”

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2013, AT 2:00 PM
2226 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
INDEPENDENCE AVENUE SW & SOUTH CAPITOL STREET

Nearly fifty years after its establishment by Congress, the federal indigent defense system faces an existential crisis.  Federal defender organizations lost approximately 10% of their budget in 2013, leading to significant layoffs, 15-20 day furloughs, scant funds for vital case expenses, case delays, and other administrative burdens on the courts.  Underpaid court-appointed attorneys recently suffered a 12% rate cut and lengthy payment deferrals.  If no action is taken, federal defenders could suffer a further 10% budget cut in FY 2014, devastating this once model program.  The twin cuts to both federal defender offices and appointed attorneys jeopardize our hybrid system of well-qualified public and private attorneys, placing the Sixth Amendment and the integrity of our federal criminal justice system at risk.

Please join the following individuals and organizations for a Constitution Day discussion of the past, present and future of the federal indigent defense system.

Remarks by: 

  • Rep. John Conyers 
  • Rep. Bobby Scott 

Panelists: 

  • Norman L. Reimer (moderator) – Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Cait T. Clarke – Chief Officer, Office of Defender Services, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
  • Norman Lefstein, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; former consultant, ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID); Reporter for Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009), sponsored by the Constitution Project and NLADA
  • David Patton – Executive Director, Federal Defenders of New York
  • Chip Frensley – National CJA Panel Representative

Please RSVP to eohman@nacdl.org if you plan to attend. 

Refreshments will be provided.

SPONSORED BY: ABA Criminal Justice Section, NACDL, Brennan Center for Justice, Federal Bar Association, ACLU, NLADA, Constitution Project, American Council of Chief Defenders  

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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