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The Champion

August 2005 , Page 34 

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News Briefs : A Celebration Of Recent Successes

By Malia Brink

Read more Public Defense columns.

 

Montana Reform Signed Into Law

The Montana Public Defender Act, adopted this June, creates a statewide public defender system, with a Chief Public Defender, and an indigent defense commission, that will oversee the provision of defense services to the poor.

“A national movement is underway to protect the legal rights of poor people, and Montana is leading the charge,” said Vincent Warren, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU who worked with the local ACLU to promote the law’s passage. “A year ago, poor people accused of crimes in Montana regularly had the doors to justice slammed in their faces. Thankfully, for them today is a new day.”

The Montana law is the first in the nation crafted with the intent of addressing the “Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System” adopted by the American Bar Association in 2002.

The Ten Principles were created in response to the growing national crisis in the delivery of indigent defense services. They provide for

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