Recent Actions

November 17, 2015: NAPD Joins Orange County Public Defenders to Ask for Federal Investigation of District Attorneys' and Sheriffs' Office in Snitch Scandal

"We the undersigned share a firm belief in our criminal justice system and its overall ability to produce fair and reliable results. Compelling evidence of pervasive police and prosecutorial misconduct in Orange County, however, has caused us grave concern. We write to urge the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation into the actions of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (“OCSD”) and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (“OCDA”) in connection with the use of jailhouse informants and the concealment of informant‐related evidence."

You can read the letter HERE

 

June 30, 2015: NAPD Sends Letter of Support for National Commission and National Center for Right to Counsel Initiatives to Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte

"Thank you for your efforts in launching a Criminal Justice Initiative to evaluate proposals to reform our nation's criminal justice system and for holding the June 25 Listening Session on Criminal Justice Reform. We listened to the entirety of that session with great interest… Both the National Commission and the National Center advocated by Congressman Deutch are going to be essential to deal with the coming exacerbation of the crisis in public defense. The kinds of reform needed to deal with this enormous new pressure on an already overburdened system will require the best and most experienced minds we have. We strongly urge your Committee to seriously consider and support both HR 2330 and HR 2063."

Letter to Chairman Goodlatte

Exhibit A - NAPD Workload Statement

 

June 29, 2015: NAPD Begins 3-day Executive Leadership Institute at Valparaiso

On June 29-July 1, 2015, NAPD will host its Executive Leadership Institute at the Valparaiso Law School in Valparaiso, IN. This training will serve 50 new and veteran leaders in state, county, contract and assigned counsel systems. Recognizing that often the public defender offices facing the most extreme leadership challenges are the least capable of dedicating resources to acquire the support they need in order to manage immediate crises and engage in strategic plan development/implementation, NAPD is dedicated to making its training available for historically underserved leaders and systems.

NAPD 2015 Leadership Institute Brochure

 

May 26, 2015: NAPD Opposes DA-Conceived Capital Oversight Committee in Louisiana

HB 605 is an unnecessary, ill-conceived and unfair piece of legislation. It will not lead to effective representation, ignores standards and experience, and exacerbates systemic injustices.

NAPD Statement Opposing LA HB 605

 

May 19, 2015: NAPD Sends Post-Hearing Statement on Misdemeanor Representation; Recommends Increased DOJ Oversight and De-Classification

We write to thank Chairman Grassley and Senator Leahy for holding the hearing on Protecting the Constitutional Right to Counsel for Indigents Charged with Misdemeanors (May 13, 2015) and wanted to take advantage of the invitation to file a post-hearing statement with the Committee. NAPD followed the hearing closely, conferred with some of the witnesses afterwards, and then surveyed our leaders and members around the country to present data to the Committee with respect to (1) the complete absence of counsel whatever in many misdemeanor courts; and (2) public defender workloads in the misdemeanor and municipal courts in which they do appear.

Letter to Chairman Grassley and Senator Leahy

Exhibit A - NAPD Reports from Members
Exhibit B - NAPD Statement on Predatory Practices in Criminal Courts
Exhibit C - NAPD Workload Statement
Exhibit D - Louisville Law Review Article

 

May 13, 2015: NAPD Releases Statement on Predatory Fines and Fees; Joins Pretrial Justice Institute for Support; Offers Free Advocacy Webinar

Today, NAPD issues its Policy Statement on the Predatory Collection of Costs, Fines and Fees in America’s Criminal Courts, calling for an end to assessing excessive fines and fees to fund government operations. The judiciary must embrace their responsibility to protect the poor from being jailed when they have an inability to pay the overwhelming and continuously expanding fines and fees and oppressive monetary bonds routinely set in criminal cases. This Policy Statement follows NAPD’s letter to the Missouri Supreme Court and its op-ed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Fines and Fees Press Release

Fines and Fees Press Release with Pretrial Justice Institute

Policy Statement on the Predatory Collection of Costs, Fines and Fees in America's Criminal Courts

Article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Letter to Missouri Supreme Court

 

March 24, 2015: NAPD Approves Workloads Policy Statement

NAPD believes the time has come for every public defense provider to develop, adopt, and institutionalize meaningful workload standards in its jurisdiction. Believing that a lawyer’s well-spent time is the single most important factor in a client receiving effective and meaningful representation, NAPD’s Workload Position Paper strongly recommends that meaningful evidence-based standards for public defense workloads can best be derived and institutionalized through ongoing, contemporaneous timekeeping by public defense providers. This is the first national statement on workloads that requires permanent timekeeping as a condition of meaningful workload evaluation and litigation, and it significantly advances the campaign to end excessive workloads.

Workloads Policy Statement

 

March 20, 2015: NAPD Supports Maryland Public Defender’s Office Effort to Control Excessive Caseloads

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is taking a proactive stance on the issue of caseloads and workloads of its trial attorneys in the current legislative session. A bill has been drafted by the office and introduced by legislative sponsors which if adopted would limit caseloads to the Maryland specific standards developed in the 2005 workload study conducted by the National Center for State Courts. NAPD supports this legislation.

Maryland HB 1119 Letter of Support

 

March 19, 2015: NAPD Files Amicus in Support of the Independence of the Hinds County Public Defender’s Office

NAPD has filed an amicus brief to support the independence of the Hinds County Public Defender’s Office. Fairness in the criminal process and accuracy of court judgments in the Hinds County justice system are currently compromised by Circuit Judge Jeff Weill’s inappropriate decisions to remove all public defenders representing indigent clients in court before him, and appointing private assigned counsel in their stead. NAPD supports the Hinds County Public Defender’s Office motion requesting that Supreme Court in Mississippi issue a writ prohibiting the Hinds County Circuit Court from assigning these defendants to private counsel. Previously, NAPD wrote letters promoting the ABA Ten Principles to Hinds County Criminal Justice Stakeholders and an op-ed to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Press Release

Case Docket

Amicus Brief

 

March 18, 2015: NAPD Releases First Annual Report

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainwright decision, which guaranteed the right to counsel as fundamental and essential to the delivery of justice. In 2013, contemplating the state of public defense five decades after the Gideon ruling, a new legal community – NAPD – embarked on a mission to involve all public defense professionals in a campaign devoted exclusively to public defense. Beginning with 30 members at a meeting in Dayton, OH, NAPD recruited nearly 10,000 lawyers, investigators, IT staff, social workers, paralegals, administrators, and advocates in its first year of operations. Now, NAPD releases its 2014 Annual Report, which details a summary of the experiences and accomplishments of its first year, largely told through the voices of the membership.

NAPD 2014 Annual Report

 

January 21, 2015: NAPD Joins Constitution Project and Leap Institute to Advocate for Fair Trial in Holmes Case

In light of an onslaught of negative media in Denver as the trial of James Homes began jury selection, NAPD reminded Denver residents that the right to counsel is an essential element of fairness in the justice system – to ensure accurate verdicts and appropriate sentences.

Reviled clients and our Constitution by Tim Young and Sarah E. Tuberville

The State of Colorado vs. James Holmes: Why the death penalty? by Xavier Amador

 

December 19, 2014: NAPD Releases First Ethics Opinion

On December 8, the Counselors released NAPD’s first Formal Ethics Opinion. The opinion addresses the confidentiality of client information when defense team representation includes social workers and other non-lawyer professionals whose licensure is affected by statutory or professional mandatory reporting obligations. NAPD’s review of the applicable rules of professional conduct and other pertinent authorities concluded that social workers and other healthcare professionals, as well as other non-lawyer professionals who are members of the client’s defense team, may not report child or elder abuse without the express contemporaneous permission of the lawyer for whom they are working on behalf of the client.

Ethics Opinion