Supreme Court Update

Supreme Court issues opinions on refunding court costs and restitution after conviction is set aside, and appealing restitution

The War on Drugs: A War on Common Sense, Racial and Social Justice, and Coexistence

To understand why the problems have persisted and at times worsened, we need to examine the backstory of “The War on Drugs”, which is also the war on the impoverished, on culture and on race.

Court fines and fees: Another barrier to North Carolina's ballot box

How much money do you have to pay before you cast your ballot on Election Day? For most North Carolinians, the answer might seem obvious: none. As the cornerstone of our democracy, voting is supposed to be fair, accessible – and free. But for an increasing number of North Carolinians, the right to vote can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Dear Mom

Thank you for not becoming bitter even though you're angry, dismayed, heartbroken. It has been hard. It took a toll. You bore it, and bear it still. Public defender work is also hard; but it's familiar because you showed me what it would be like.

Never Give Up On People

So I would like to think that is one message I took away from my mom. Don't give up on people.

Mothers and Public Defenders

My mother has shown support not only in words, but in the way she is there for me when I need a sounding board. I can only hope that my contributions honor her and her example.

Public Defender Podcast

This is absolutely worth a listen. There's so much in here. The empathy for tragedy; the matter-of-factness of the day-by-day crushing workload...


The United States and all fifty states prohibit excessive bail; forty-eight states have a constitutional or statutory presumption in favor of releasing all but a specified few people before trial. Despite the existence of the Excessive Bail, Due Process, and Equal Protection clauses, the current system of pretrial detention and release unfairly and disproportionately affects African-American and Hispanic people:

When Parents Are Incarcerated

Many of my clients lived with a grandparent, an aunt, or a family friend.  Instinctively, I knew that the reason for this living arrangement was probably a source of intense grief or overwhelming stress. Somewhere along the road, in my efforts to protect them from more stress, I stopped asking “where is your mom and dad?”  What I know now is that it was a well-intentioned mistake on my part. 

Why Do We Need More Standards?

Foundational Standards.  Ho Hum, right?  I'm writing this to ask you to take a look. The Steering Committee of NAPD passed the Foundational Principles on March 16, 2017. This ended a process of 18 months that began with an idea by Tim Young, Ohio Public Defender and then Chair of NAPD. 



April 16, 2017: 60 Minutes' Anderson Cooper features the Orleans Public Defenders and NAPD General Counsel in a substantive segment about public defenders' excessive workloads, pervasive injustice, and the obligation of defenders to resist the "conveyer belt" of mass-incarceration. You can watch the compelling segment HERE 

On March 18, 2017 - the 54th anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainright decision - NAPD published its Foundational Principleswhich are recommended to NAPD members and other persons and organizations interested in advancing the cause of equal justice for accused persons.  


On March 2, 2017, NAPD released its Statement on Reducing Demand For Public Defense: Alternatives to Traditional Prosecution Can Reduce Defender Workload, Save Money, and Reduce RecidivismThere are more than 2 million people in jail and prison in the United States. This is a four-fold increase since 1980. This increase and the racial disproportionality among incarcerated people has led to alliances across the political spectrum to address the impact on people and on budgets.  As the new Coalition for Public Safety has put it, “Our country has an ‘overcriminalization’ problem and an ‘overincarceration’ problem — and it’s getting worse." NAPD authored this statement because there is a great opportunity to make transformative changes that can improve justice and save money.  A variety of organizations representing a wide spectrum of political views have joined together to end the systematic problem of overcriminalization and narrow the net of incarceration by reforming criminal codes.