The Champion

May 2007 , Page 47 

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Celebrating Heroes in the Struggle to Reform Indigent Defense (Inside NACDL)

By Norman L. Reimer

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In 2004, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, released its report on the state of indigent defense. The exhaustive study reached “the inescapable conclusion that 40 years after the Gideon decision, the promise of equal justice for the poor remains unfulfilled in this country.”1 

The struggle to provide fully qualified attorneys with manageable caseloads and adequate support resources continues as a largely state-by-state, sometimes county-by-county battle, waged day in and day out, year in and year out, by a small cadre of dedicated professionals. This hearty band of stalwarts, rarely armed with little more than the force of reason and the torch of justice, seeks access to the precious funding necessary to sustain a credible public defense infrastructure. They compete against every conceivable interest group that stakes its own weighty claims on the public

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