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Profile: stephen.hanlon

Mr. Hanlon has a long history of handling public interest and civil rights cases. In 1989, he founded the Community Services Team (CST) at Holland & Knight and for the next 23 years he served as the Partner in Charge of the CST, which during Mr. Hanlon’s tenure was the largest full-time private practice pro bono department in the nation. In 1997, Holland and Knight received the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award. The American Lawyer described Holland and Knight as a "pro bono champion." In 2006, Mr. Hanlon received the Chesterfield Smith Award from Holland & Knight, the firm's highest individual recognition given to a firm partner. Since his retirement from Holland & Knight at the end of 2012, Mr. Hanlon has confined his practice to assisting and representing public defenders with excessive caseloads. He now serves as General Counsel to the National Association for Public Defense in Washington, D.C. Mr. Hanlon was lead counsel for the Missouri Public Defender in State ex rel. Mo. Public Defender Commission, 370 S.W.3d 592 (Mo.banc 2012), which was the first state supreme court case to uphold the right of a public defender organization to refuse additional cases when confronted with excessive caseloads. The Waters case has been described as a “watershed moment” in indigent defense. Davies, Andrew Lucas Blaize Davies, “How Do We ‘Do Data’ in Public Defense?,” 78 Albany Law Review 1179. Mr. Hanlon was the Project Director for the American Bar Association in the critically acclaimed study of the workload of the Missouri Public Defender undertaken by RubinBrown on behalf of the American Bar Association, known as “The Missouri Project,” available at www.indigentdefense.org, He currently serves as the Project Director for similar studies in several states.

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NAPD News

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.  

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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.