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Future Appointed Counsel Training Program

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $349,360)

The Answering Gideon's Call: Improving Indigent Defense Delivery Systems Initiative is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision Gideon v. Wainwright of 1963, which guaranteed the right to counsel in criminal cases in every state. While persons accused of a crime have a Constitutional right to an attorney, indigent defense systems throughout the country are frequently underfunded and understaffed. Far too often, the lack of resources poses a serious impediment to providing indigent defendants with even minimally effective legal assistance.

The Answering Gideon's Call: Improving Indigent Defense Delivery Systems Initiative is designed to contribute to the indigent defense knowledge and practice by testing approaches to providing quality indigent defense services using the Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System promulgated by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2002. The goals are to enhance a state or local jurisdiction's ability to provide quality representation to indigent defendants, promote innovation, and promote strategies that incorporate the ABA Ten Principles.

Harris County, through it's Public Defender's Office (PDO), proposes to use the award to establish a year-long training, mentoring, and supervision program that will prepare new private lawyers to be the indigent defense providers of the future. The program will be developed in collaboration with the Southern Public Defender Training Center and the Council of State Governments' Justice Center. Attorney training and performance will be assessed throughout and after the program. The PDO will then assist lawyers who complete the program to become qualified to receive appointed cases and advocate for reforms to the qualifications for appointed counsel. CA/NCF

Date Created: August 20, 2012