On Gideon Anniversary, NAPD Releases Foundational Principles

This document sets forth Foundational Principles adopted by NAPD, which we recommend to our members and other persons and organizations interested in advancing the cause of equal justice for accused persons.  The principles are organized in three sections: (1) the structure and organization of public defense services; (2) the quality of public defense services; and the (3) treatment of accused persons in criminal and juvenile justice systems. 

NAPD Opposes Sessions' Nomination

By his own words, actions and failures to act over the course of many decades, continuing uninterrupted down to the present day, Senator Sessions has demonstrated that his views on both criminal justice and mass incarceration are not only extreme, but also far outside the strong bi-partisan consensus that has emerged in support of significant reform of both our broken criminal justice system and our nation's failed policy of mass incarceration. 

NAPD Statement - November 27, 2016

Our reaction to the political changes of today is clear: to maintain and strengthen our efforts to protect our clients, through litigation and reform, from restricted civil liberties, mass-incarceration, debtor's prisons, racial profiling, harsh immigration policies, the school-to-prison pipeline, harmful collateral consequences and the many other injustices faced by vulnerable communities in our society. 

Bosse v. Oklahoma: Eighth Amendment Ban on Victims' Relatives' Opinions about what Sentence a Capital Defendant Should Receive has not been "Implicitly Overruled"

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Oct. 11 that lower courts are not free to assume that the high Court has “implicitly overruled” its holding in Booth that the Eighth Amendment bars admission of victims' family members' characterizations and opinions about the crime, the defendant, and the appropriate sentence.

An Interview with Andre' De Gruy

Below is an interview with Andre' De Gruy, the new head of the Mississippi Public Defender System. It discusses his vision, background, challenges, goals and leadership philosophy. NAPD has conducted similar interviews with Amy Campanelli (Cook County Public Defender, Chicago), Dave Johnson (Virginia Indigent Defense Commission Director, Richmond), Paul DeWolfe (Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore) and Kimberly Simmons (Idaho Public Defender Commission Director, Boise) and they are archived on the website. 

An Interview with Paul DeWolfe

The following is an interview with Paul Dewolfe, head of the statewide Maryland Office of Public Defense. It is the latest in a continuing series of NAPD interviews with public defense leaders. Paul's interview is below, and other interviewed leaders include Amy Campanelli (Cook County Office of the Public Defender), Kimberly Simmons (Idaho Public Defense Commission), and David Johnson (Virginia Indigent Defense Commission).

NAPD Statement on the Importance of Judicial Independence

NAPD calls upon its members and the legal profession to confront a threat to judicial independence wherever and whenever it manifests itself. Whenever genuine threats to judicial independence arise, whether in the form of an online petition to remove a judge for an unpopular decision or in the form of an intimidating threat from the podium on a campaign trail, the legal community, including public defenders, must call attention to the threat, educate the public and confront the threat individually and collectively.

An NAPD Interview with VIDC Executive Director David Johnson

This article is an NAPD interview with NAPD member David Johnson, the Executive Director of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission in Richmond, VA. Prior to his VIDC appointment in December of 2005, he served as Public Defender for the City of Richmond for nearly 20 years. 

An NAPD Interview with Idaho PDC Executive Director Kimberly Simmons

This article is an NAPD interview with NAPD member Kimberly Simmons, the Executive Director of the Idaho Public Defense Commission in Boise, ID. 

NAPD Releases 2015 Annual Report

NAPD's 2015 Annual Report “All Day, Every Day, Public Defense” features the day-in, day-out advocacy that public defenders provide in jails, courts and communities across the country. NAPD is an association of 12,500 practitioner-members focused on public defense reform and achievement. The release coincides with the first annual Public Defense Day, a day organized by NAPD members to celebrate and highlight the work of defenders around the country.



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.