Wednesday, September 16, 2015

NACDL Report on Federal Indigent Defense: The Independence Imperative

Last week, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released its report on Federal Indigent Defense calling for greater independence from the judiciary.

The report raises many concerns about the system and identifies Seven Fundamentals of a Robust Federal Indigent Defense System:

1. Control over federal indigent defense services must be insulated from judicial interference.

2. The federal indigent defense system must be adequately funded.

3.  Indigent defense counsel must have the requisite expertise to provide representation    consistent with the best practices in the legal profession.

4.  Training for indigent defense counsel must be comprehensive, ongoing and readily available.

5.  Decisions regarding vouchers must be made promptly by an entity outside of judicial control.

6.  The federal indigent defense system must include greater transparency.

7.  A comprehensive, independent review of the CJA program must address the serious concerns discussed in this report.

For NPR coverage of the report, click here.