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
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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 Justic
- 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
Pattern Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide
In a criminal trial, cross-examination of the prosecution’s forensic expert may make the difference between victory or defeat.
2020 Sample Motions Collection Update
NACDL’s 2020 Sample Motions Collection is the follow-up to our wildly popular 2019 Sample Motions Collection and contains the newest and most recent additions to our ever-expanding Sample Motions library.
State v. Stone - A Case Study on Child Sexual Molestation & Sexual Battery
The criminal defense attorney tasked with defending such a case has to be prepared to not only show reasonable doubt, but to answer this question: If it did not happen, how is it that the child believes it did happen?
POZNER ON CROSS: Advanced Cross of Experts & Officers in DUI Cases
It’s not your strong opening argument. It’s not how many of your impassioned objections the judge sustains. It’s not even how you tie your theory of the case together with a dazzling closing statement bow. What wins your trial is your cross.
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