Annual Report

2017 marked the 4th full year that NAPD has been in existence. There were big milestones; there were small – but meaningful - connections. NAPD picked up another 20 organizational members, swelled to nearly 16,000 members, set a record for webinars offered, added a live Workloads Conference to its annual Executive Leadership Institute, launched a Mentors Program, grew its committees and their activities, lent its support to dozens of jurisdictions in a variety of ways, and continued to foster a national community of public defenders and public defense professionals.

An investigator in Montana got help from an investigator in Florida via the NAPD-investigators list serv. A social worker in Knoxville shared her comprehensive academic review of every single social worker program with NAPD's MyGideon library. In the middle of the night, a line defender in Ketchikan, Alaska found a webinar to help his preparation for trial in the webinar archive. Leaders got shout-outs for advancing reform. A group of communicators began to plan a conference for their unique professional niche. There were robust discussions on the merits of risk assessments. Trainers talked about effectively confronting implicit bias in their offices. More than 100 people blogged for NAPD, writing about their various experiences as defenders, the impact of court rulings, mainstream media's treatment of high profile crimes, achievements, or troubling trends. Increasingly, the media and social science researchers called NAPD for the defender perspective in justice issues.
Throughout 2017, NAPD again insisted that public defenders are the experts on public defense issues, and essential participants in a fair and efficient justice system. NAPD resisted strategies used to undermine strong public defense programs and harm our clients, and by extension, communities - particularly communities of color. Finally, NAPD persisted in its efforts to obtain more defender resources, to enjoy the freedom to be zealous advocates, to advance data driven policies, to engage our clients and the client community in the justice movement, and to share the best of what others have done for improvements across the country.

Download the NAPD 2017 Annual Report: Insisting, Resisting, Persisting

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’s exclusive focus on public defense does not mean the fight is restricted to courtroom struggles. This 

report chronicles the scope of services that public defenders provide and the incredible impact that the public defense function has on individual lives and the community at large. Public defenders are at the very center of America’s increasingly public confrontation with racial prejudice, poverty, and the deeply dehumanizing experience of mass-incarceration.

Throughout 2015, public defenders articulated the dramatic differences – time and time again - between prosecutors in grand jury proceedings against poor people 

(disproportionately people of color) and those against police officers accused of killing poor people (almost always people of color). Public defenders led the movement to end the imposition of fines, fees, unconstitutional bail and debtor’s prisons. When Baltimore rioted and hundreds of people were denied both lawyers and bail, public defenders were there. When the media so aggressively vilified James Holmes to threaten his right to a fair trial, public defenders were there. They were at the South Carolina statehouse when the Confederate flag was removed after 9 black people were killed in a Charleston church. Public defenders are fighting to end the solita

ry confinement practice that led to the death of Kalief Browder, who killed himself after spending 2 years in isolation in pre-trial detention on Riker’s Island before his case was dismissed, and to raise the age so that no child is subjected to prison’s harshest environments. Without public defenders in Orange County, the District Attorney’s and sheriff’s wide-ranging ethical breaches would have continued to deny justice to thousands of poor people just as they had for the last 30 years.

In most jurisdictions, between 85-90% of all criminal defendants are represented by a public defender. In this relationship so many of America’s socio-economic ills are exposed.The public defense professionals who daily deliver the right to counsel in the courts, jails and their client’s communities are criminal justice experts, and the most committed and qualified entity to lead the movement to bring justice to a broken system.


In 2013, contemplating the state of public defense five decades after the Gideon ruling, NAPD formed in order to involve all public defense professionals in a campaign devoted exclusively to public defense. Beginning with 30 members at a meeting in Dayton, OH, the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) recruited nearly 10,000 lawyers, investigators, IT staff, social workers, paralegals, administrators, and advocates in its first year of operations, tackling the most urgent public defense issues affecting defenders, advocates and clients today.

Below is NAPD's 2014 Annual Report, which details a summary of the experiences and accomplishments of its first year, largely told through the voices of the membership. NAPD's inclusive, sharing, practitioner-led organizational model is a unique approach to overcome the challenges that public defenders and their clients face in their quest for justice. Stronger together, NAPD is overcoming the historical isolation of public defense programs and building a unified, informed community that leverages the intellectual capital of its thousands of members into tools for public defenders to lead the movement for justice reform.

Download the NAPD 2014 Annual Report: Stronger Together


July 1, 2018: General Registration opens for the “WE THE DEFENDERS” TRAINING CONFERENCE,  November 26-29, 2018, Indianapolis, IN

Due to overwhelming demand, NAPD will again offer this comprehensive Investigator and Social Worker/Sentencing Advocate training experience! The program will include one track for Investigators and a separate track for Social Worker/Sentencing Advocates.  Hear from nationally recognized experts who will share their knowledge on a wide range of topics relevant to the work you do each and every day.  Network with other criminal defense practitioners from around the country and find your tribe. Registration closes Septemebr 3.
This one of a kind conference is developed through surveys of the registrants.   You have a say in what sessions are offered and will have multiple options during the conference.
Click here to watch as the schedule develops based on your suggestions.
Click here to see the faculty list. 
Click here to register for the Investigator Conference Track.
Click here to register for the Social Worker/Sentencing Advocate Conference Track.
Click here to make a hotel reservation at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.

January 23, 2018: In response to US Attorney General Jeff Session's reversal of prior policy on the imposition of fines and fees for criminal defendants, NAPD submitted the following letter on behalf of the public defender community. You can read the letter HERE

January 17, 2018: The 2018 NAPD Investigators Conference and 2018 Social Workers & Sentencing Advocates Institute (March 26-29, 2018 in Denver, CO) are now at full capacity and closed for registration. A wait list is being developed.

November 28, 2017: NAPD has uploaded videos of the presentations from the 2017 NAPD Workloads Conference in St. Louis (held November 17-18). Members can access these valuable presentations on MyGideon by logging into their NAPD account.