The mission of the NAPD Strike Force is to support offices, office leaders, or office staff/contractors in diverse situations of a limited or ongoing challenge, or when zealous advocacy causes a risk of sanction due to a lack of independence from the judiciary, the prosecution or funding sources. Upon request, Strike Force members offer mentorship, facilitate the exchange of resources, and lend the support of the National Association for Public Defense to local jurisdictions in order to ensure the delivery of effective right to counsel services.
The First Principle of the American Bar Association Ten Core Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System is: Independence. "The public defense function, including the selection, funding and payment of defense counsel, is independent." Without independence, public defenders' ability to provide high quality, ethical, and conflict-free advocacy is threatened, thus undermining the constitutional mandate for states to provide attorneys to defendants who qualify as indigent.
The Strike Force has been active in numerous jurisdictions across the country. In particular, the Strike Force has worked to promote independence in:
- Minnehaha County (Sioux Falls), SD;
- Mclean County, Illinois;
- Hamilton County (Cincinnati), OH;
- Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), PA;
- Hinds County (Jackson), MS;
- Chippewa County, MI;
- the Montana Office of the State Public Defender;
- Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL;
- Solano County, CA;
- Houston County, GA;
- El Paso County, TX
- Humboldt County, CA;
- North Dakota Public Defender Office;
- Montgomery County, PA;
- Kings County, GA;
- San Francisco County, CA; and
- Columbia County, PA.