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Reforming Virginia's Indigent Defense System
By NACDL Staff
In August 2001, NACDL called a meeting of criminal defense attorneys in
Virginia to discuss strategies for reforming Virginia’s indigent defense
system. This initially small group of attorneys grew into what is now
the Virginia Indigent Defense Coalition (VIDC) — a diverse and
broad-based collaboration among lawyers, community-based organizations,
and criminal justice system stakeholders. The VIDC’s goal is to ensure
quality public defense services for adults and juveniles throughout the
state of Virginia by improving the standards of representation, as well
as the resources and funding available for the defense function.
With generous funding from the ABA Gideon Initiative and the Open
Society Institute Gideon Project, the VIDC has hired a full-time staff
person, Betsy Edwards, to lead the coalition’s public education and
reform campaign. The VIDC Executive Committee includes representatives
from the Virginia College of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the Virginia
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