There is no one size fits all approach to public defense. Communities will have differing needs driven by factors such as geography, population, and caseload. However, there are core components necessary to ensure the defense function is able to fulfill its responsibilities to its clients and the community.
NACDL Works to Improve Public Defense Delivery Systems
- NACDL Resolution: For an Independent Federal Public Defender Agency (2016)
- NACDL Resolution: Restoration of Funding for Federal Indigent Defense (2013)
NACDL Resolutions Regarding Public Defense System Infrastructure
Support for Hybrid Public Defense Delivery Systems (Oct. 2017).
Whenever the population and caseload needs support it, a public defense delivery system should include full-time institutional defenders as well as meaningful participation of private attorneys.
Selection and Qualifications for Public Defense Leadership (Feb. 2018)
Principles regarding the selection, retention, and removal of public defense system leadership include:
- Public defense leadership, management, and operations should be independent and insulated from control by actors whose interests may be directly or indirectly adverse to the public defense function;
- Public defense leadership, management, and operations should have a demonstrated commitment to and experience in:
- Delivering high quality effective, and zealous advocacy on behalf of public defense clients
- Confronting, addressing, and working to eliminate racial disparity and bias in the criminal justice system;
- Promoting and supporting high standards in individual advocacy on behalf of clients and/or for the operation of public defense systems; and
- Advocating for the public defense function within the relevant governance structure to secure necessary funding, staffing, resources, and organizational independence.
- Those directly involved in the selection, retention, and removal of public defense leadership, management, and operations should be committed to the public defense function and should represent the diversity of the community served by the public defense provider.
Other Resources on Public Defense Infrastructure
- Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, ABA
- Basic Data Every Defender Program Needs to Track, NLADA
- A Fair Fight: Achieving Indigent Defense Resource Parity, Brennan Center for Justice
- American Council of Chief Defenders
- National Association for Public Defense
- National Legal Aid & Defender Association
- Sixth Amendment Center
Defender Standards of Practice
- ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Defense Function
- Massachusetts Assigned Counsel Manual
- Texas Performance Guidelines for Non-Capital Representation
- Virginia Standards of Practice for Indigent Defense Counsel
- Washington Supreme Court Standards for Indigent Defense
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
NACDL 2024 Annual Pass - All CLE Institute Programs
NACDL's 2024 Annual Pass gives you full access to the recordings of every CLE Institue live training seminar held in 2024! That means every CLE speech, presentation and training - along with all accompanying written materials - is yours for over 50% off! With this exclusive pass, you gain unlimited access to a treasure-trove of recent NACDL Trial Skills training that will help you win more cases!
A Defender's Guide to Federal Evidence - 2nd Edition
This brand-new 2nd Edition 2024 Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The updated 2024 Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The 2nd Edition Guide contains multiple new and updated user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems.
Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection - 40+ Hours of Content!
NACDL's "Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection" is the definitive aggregation of our 4 highest-rated and most current Sex Cases CLE trainings (2019, 2021, 2022 & 2023 ed.) and contains our most comprehensive and up-to-date assembly of sex cases trainings that NACDL has ever put together! Containing 49 separate trial skills trainings, thousands of pages of written materials and over 40+ hours of practical and pragmatic content, this collection guides you through the most intimidating sexual assault criminal trial topics.