The Champion

January/February 2003 , Page 39 

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NACDL's National Efforts to Help the Indigent

By Kate Jones

NACDL has made it a priority to help improve ailing indigent defense systems across the country. Its efforts have combined coalition-building, support for legislative initiatives, and systemic litigation. Led in these activities by an energetic Indigent Defense Committee, NACDL continues to devote significant resources to state and local reform campaigns.

The Indigent Defense Litigation Subcommittee and staff identify jurisdictions where the indigent defense system is underfunded, work with local attorneys and community leaders to determine an appropriate reform strategy, find experts to conduct research and issues reports, recruit large law firms to pursue systemic litigation, and work with other national organizations in helping shape the new system to reflect best practices from around the country.

For example, in cooperation with the National and Greater Pittsburgh offices of the ACLU, NACDL has fought for improvements in the Venango County, Pennsylvan

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