The Champion

January/February 2003 , Page 52 

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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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