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Profile: john.stuart

John Stuart has worked as a public defender in Minnesota since 1978. For the last 24 years, as State Public Defender, he has supervised a developing statewide system that provides adult and juvenile court defense services to all 87 counties, employing 500 lawyers—full and part-time--and 200 support staff in 32 offices. John served 7 years as Co-Chair of the American Council of Chief Defenders, and for 5 years on the faculty of the National Defender Leadership Institute. He has trained public defenders in 15 states and in Eastern Europe. In Minnesota, he is a member of the Drug Court Initiative, the Juvenile Justice Coalition, the Racial Fairness Subcommittee of the Supreme Court Equal Justice Committee, and the Sentencing Guidelines Commission. He has taught as an adjunct at the University of Minnesota Law School and the William Mitchell College of Law. He is co-author of Felony Sentencing in Minnesota (Butterworth, 1985), and several articles on sentencing policy and juvenile justice.

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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.