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The Champion

July 2013 , Page 05 

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From the President: One Year in the Fight for Justice

By Steven D. Benjamin

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Indigent Defense

Chief among the goals I addressed last year was the proper celebration of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. I said at the time that after 50 years, “defenders still struggle with paltry resources, low pay, and crushing caseloads. The promise of Gideon, it seems, might be the promise of a warm body with a law license and not much more.” From this perspective, we might have spent the year exclusively discussing the failures of Gideon and advocating for meaningful reform. But while acknowledging the failures of Gideon, I also said, “It is because of who we are that the promise of Gideon has meaning and strength. The strength of Gideon is in what we do. We come forward to confront injustice when no one else will. We speak for those who have no voice, sacrifice for those who have no money, and defend with every ounce of our being those who have no means to answer an accusation that would take their freedom or extinguish their life.”

It would have been

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