Blog

A Vision for SVP Defenders

My life as a SVP attorney began 10 years ago in Missouri with only 4 people in my office to talk to.  Early on I found out that being a SVP/SDP attorney is an incredibly isolating journey.  We work long hours with esoteric psychological research, for the most vulnerable, confused and rightfully angry clients.

My life as a SVP attorney began 10 years ago in Missouri with only 4 people in my office to talk to.  Early on I found out that being a SVP/SDP attorney is an incredibly isolating journey.  We work long hours with esoteric psychological research, for the most vulnerable, confused and rightfully angry clients.  We stand up in court and ask jurors to release convicted sex offenders into the community.  We stand up in court trying to prevent a commitment that results in a life sentence, without our client having committed a new crime.   We work with experts with strong opinions on both sides.  We stand up in court every year to try to get our committed clients released.  And so often we hear “I couldn't do that” from our own colleagues.  All of those and more are why we need to band together, nationwide, to support each other, trade litigation and strategy ideas, research and expert information.  NAPD has created a subgroup just for us –SVP/SDP specialists – to do that. 

This subgroup is going to be open to members of the NAPD, with most statewide offices already having memberships.  But never fear, a single membership is only $30, and it grants secure access to so many resources.  Our mission is to provide a community for like-minded persons to ask questions, share resources, and to put together litigation materials for sharing.  It will include a national community of attorneys, investigators and other advocates who share our experience.  We'll have a listserv for real time idea discussion.  We'll have a list of experts and CVs so we can expand our expert contacts. We'll have a list of research folders for references.  We'll also have a litigation bank of motions we've filed on all the different topics we pursue, from diagnosis questions to risk assessments.  We have an eye towards national training options with websites and even a yearly gathering of our own to train and meet in person.  Most of all, we'll have a place to come to where we can talk to people who know what we're talking about when we say things like “Static 99R” and “when does a diagnosis remit?”.

While the road is long one, it doesn't have to be lonely. I know there is community of people who hear what I hear every day.  Who fight what I fight, and who have better ideas than me.  People who have learned that the definition of win can simply be standing up and fighting for a client, sometimes in the face of society's uneducated fears, and always against prosecutors with political interests.  Join me in coming together for a more informed and supportive fight against this injustice.

If you'd like to be on the listserv list to see all discussions, please contact me at amy.clay@mspd.mo.gov or Ernie Lewis at ernie.lewis@gmail.com.  To access all the other resources including the webinars and the motion database, join NAPD!!

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NAPD News

December 15, 2018: Registration is now open for NAPD's Spring Events:
  • Executive Leadership Insitute (Frankfort, KY)
  • Train the Trainer (Frankfort, KY)
  • "We the Defenders" Investigators Conference (Biloxi, MS)
  • "We the Defenders" Social Workers/Sentencing AdvocatesConference (Biloxi, MS)
  • Team Mitigation Institute (Atlanta, GA)
Click on Events Tab for more info and to register.
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October 30, 2018: NAPD releases a video about its achievements over the 5 years since forming in November in 2013. This films was coordinated by NAPD Steering Committee Member and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and debuted at the Racial Justice Training and 5 Year Celebration in Baltimore, Maryland. You can watch the video HERE

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

You can watch a video about the event HERE 

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. 
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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
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