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Letter to the Governor from the Director of the Public Defender System

Missouri's contempt for the rights of poor persons is further evident by its rank of 49 among 50 states in the amount of support provided for indigent defense. Existing caseloads coupled with abysmally low salaries for assistant public defenders create a turnover rate that exacerbates the resource issue.  

An Open Letter to Judge Conrad Hafen

Dear Conrad,

Is it ok if I call you Conrad? I noticed that you refer to the attorneys appearing before you by their first names, so I thought, since we're all officers of the court here, that it would be ok to leave off your honorifics.  

The Truth about How Public Defenders Handle Excessive Caseloads

In the recent article “The Truth about the Work and Talent of Public Defense Lawyers,” Andre Vitale argues that even though public defenders have excessive caseloads, through their determination and hard work, they manage to obtain the same outcomes for clients as private defense attorneys.  I have heard this belief expressed many times before and believed it myself while working as a public defender. I was convinced that despite my lack of resources and excessive caseload that I managed to effectively represent all of my clients. I was wrong.

NAPD News

On December 28, 2016, NAPD published its Open Letter to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro for his prosecution of Orleans Public Defender investigator Taryn Blume. A bedrock principle of our criminal justice system is that every citizen accused by the government of a crime starts with the benefit of the doubt – with a presumption that they are in fact innocent.  That right becomes meaningless if we do not uphold the equally important right of every citizen-accused defense team who fights for her cause; who digs for evidence of her innocence; who exposes the government when it hides that evidence.  The legitimacy of our criminal justice system depends upon defense lawyers and defense investigators doing their jobs, and doing them well, without fear of reprisal from a prosecutor acting more like a bully than the champion of truth and justice he is supposed to be.

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Last Chance to Register! The NAPD Executive Leadership Institute (ELI-2017) is almost full will will be held from 3:00 pm on April 2 through 11:45 am on April 5, 2017 at the Department of Public Advocacy training facility in Frankfort, KY. You can see more information and registration details HERE