Features - Public Defense SystemsBy Ken Strutin, Published on October 20, 2006
- Pine Tree Legal Services
Their website offers links to civil legal services, legal aid, pro bono, backup centers, pro se site, and law school programs throughout the country, and some from around the world. Pine Tree is a statewide legal services program for the citizens of Maine.
- Federal Public Defender Directory (ODSTB)
This is a national directory of federal public defender offices maintained by the Office of Defender Services Training Branch.
- Public Defenders (Findlaw)
This is a collection of links to federal and state public defender offices, and national resource centers organized by state.
- Legal Services/Pro Bono/Indigent Defense (NCSC)
The National Center for State Courts has gathered together web links to state and federal indigent defense, capital defense and legal services offices nationwide.
- Directory of Legal Aid & Defender Offices in the United States and Territories (NLADA) (order form)
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association annually publishes, print only, a national directory of public defender and civil legal services offices.
In many states, public defenders, legal aid and assigned counsel rely on the support services provided by backup centers. These offices respond to the research and training needs of public defense attorneys, monitor case law and legislative developments, answer questions from the client community and members of the public, and serve as a clearinghouse for public defense advocacy and policy research.
- Arizona Public Defender Association
- Florida Public Defender Association
- Illinois Public Defender Association
- Louisiana Public Defenders' Association
- Michigan Criminal Defense Resource Center
- Mississippi Public Defenders Association
- New York State Defenders Association
- South Carolina Public Defender Association
- Washington Defender Association
There are many statewide and local criminal defense associations, as well as sections of general bar associations, that have dedicated resources to public defense work. The lists below provide web links to many of these groups.
- State and Local Affiliates: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
- Defender Resources: Criminal Defense Organizations (NLADA)
Public defense systems vary from place to place. Some have established statewide systems and operate under commissions, while others are patchwork arrangements. And a few states are reevaluating their defender systems. Information about commissions and related developments can be found in the Spangenberg studies below. Underneath is a selection of state websites.
- Statewide Indigent Defense Systems Overview (Spangenberg 2005)
- Indigent Defense Systems of the 50 States (ABA 2004)
The major bar associations, private research groups and government agencies have published reports on different aspects of public defense. They include systemwide surveys, funding studies, caseload analyses and highlights of significant problems and unmet mandates.
- Contracting for Indigent Defense Services (BJA 2000)
- Defense Counsel in Criminal Cases (BJS 2000)
- Gideon's Broken Promise: America's Continuing Quest for Equal Justice (ABA 2004)
- Improving State and Local Criminal Justice Systems (BJA 1998)
- Indigent Defense (BJS 1996)
- Indigent Defense Services in Large Counties 1999 (BJS 2000)
- Keeping Defender Workloads Manageable (BJA 2001).
- Redefining Leadership for Equal Justice: Final Report of the National Symposium on Indigent Defense 2000 (BJA 2000)
- State-Funded Indigent Defense Services 1999 (BJS 2001)
Gideon 40th Anniversary Sites
- Five Problems Facing Public Defense on the 40th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright (NLADA)
- Gideon at 40: Fulfilling the Promise (NACDL)
- Gideon Reviewed: State of the Nation 40 Years Later (NLADA)
- Gideon v Wainwright 40th Anniversary (ABA)
- Chp. 10 "Model Court Interpreter Act" in Court Interpretation: Model Guides for Policy and Practice in the State Courts (National Center for State Courts 1995)
- Court Interpreters Act, 28 USC § 1827
- Alabama: Alabama v. Shelton: The Right to Counsel in Misdemeanor Cases Resulting in Suspended or Probated Sentence (NCSC 2003)
- Arizona: Indigent Defense in Arizona (NACDL 2001)
- Georgia: Report of the Chief Justice's Blue Ribbon Commission on Indigent Defense (2002)
- Nevada: Indigent Defense Services in the State of Nevada (Spangenberg Group 2000)
- New York: Crisis in Legal Representation of the Poor (1st Dept 2001)
- Tennessee: Tennessee Weighted Caseload Study Update: District Public Defenders (2005)
- Texas: Muting Gideon's Trumpet: The Crisis in Indigent Criminal Defense in Texas (State Bar of Texas 2000)
- Vermont: Vermont Indigent Defense Task Force Report (2001)
- Virginia: Comprehensive Review of Indigent Defense in Virginia (ABA 2003)
- Washington: Report of the Washington State Bar Association Blue Ribbon Panel on Criminal Defense (2004)
These are compilations of national and state standards for the criminal justice system, and public defense in particular.
- ABA Criminal Justice Section Collection of Standards
- ABA Principle Resolutions on Indigent Defense
- ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendant Collection of Standards
- Compendium of Standards for Indigent Defense Systems (BJA 2000)
- NACDL Collection of Standards
- NLADA Collection of Standards
- ABA Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System
- Ten Tenets of Fair and Effective Problem Solving Courts (NLADA 2001)
- Executive Session on Public Defense (Harvard)
- Implementation and Impact of Indigent Defense Standards (NIJ 2003)
- Spangenberg Group Publications List
The ability to afford counsel depends on many factors, and the assessment of those factors determines whether an accused will receive assigned representation. Below are several guidelines, albeit starting points, used in making this determination.
- Determining Indigency (NCSC)
- Determining Eligibility for Appointed Counsel in New York State (NYSDA 1994)
These resources are excellent starting points for locating national and local materials on public defense systems and the implementation of the right to counsel. The Resource Centers listed above are another good place to find information about a particular state's system.
- American Bar Association
- American Civil Liberties Union
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- National Legal Aid and Defender Association
- Spangenberg Group
Bibliographies and Libraries