Third Annual Meeting Highlights and Final Report
The Right to Counsel National Campaign (R2C) held its third annual meeting on Thursday, November 2, 2017, at the Office of Justice Programs in Washington, D.C. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein stated in his keynote remarks, "Protecting the right to counsel is a fundamental component of preserving the rule of law and ensuring equal access to justice," and went on to reflect that, "Being a criminal defender can be a thankless job [...] It means struggling to mount the best defense possible in the face of great adversity. But, as our nation’s founders knew, this role is essential to safeguarding justice."
The public defender role is essential to safeguarding justice, and everyone has a role to play in making the change the criminal justice system needs to ensure public defenders are able to fulfill their duty effectively. The rest of the meeting was structured around highlighting the unique role each stakeholder in addition to public defenders can play in securing the right to counsel.
A full report on the meeting is here. And check out a video of the meeting's highlights below.
55th Anniversary of Gideon: #GideonAt55
On March 18, R2C is honoring the 55th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court decision in which the Court held that the accused have the right to counsel even if they cannot afford one. If you have an event planned, are writing blog posts or articles related to Gideon, or are commemorating the anniversary in other ways, please share your activities with R2C.
Join the #Right2Counsel conversation and share the below #GideonAt55 graphic across your networks! And make sure to follow and like R2C on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what consortium members are doing to commemorate #GideonAt55.
The Right to Counsel National Campaign
The Right to Counsel National Campaign (R2C) is a public awareness initiative that uses value-based communication tactics to inform policymakers, criminal justice stakeholders, and the public about the importance of carrying out the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel, the ways in which this right is not being implemented, the roles everyone from law enforcement officers to prosecutors to judges and court managers can play in ensuring that the constitutional right to counsel is upheld, and how to reform the public defense system with low-cost or no-cost policy solutions. R2C also seeks to elevate the defender voice in criminal justice reform conversations and provides new opportunities for citizens to become engaged advocates, ensuring effective public defense delivery systems in all courts across the country.
R2C's vision is a fair and equitable criminal justice system, which requires representation by skilled defense counsel with adequate resources at every stage of the criminal justice process.
The campaign is spearheaded by a consortium of national, state, and local criminal justice stakeholders, community advocates, and policymakers who are committed to ensuring the fulfillment of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and the effective delivery of public defense services.
New Report Reveals Need to Educate Americans on Right to Counsel
The right to an attorney in a criminal case hails from the United States Constitution; however, according to a new report, “Americans’ Views on Public Defenders and the Right to Counsel,” this is not a wide known fact. Released on March 16, 2017 by the Right to Counsel National Campaign at American University’s School of Public Affairs, the report outlines the results of a year-long opinion study focused on how well Americans understand public defense and their right to counsel.
“This report reveals a clear need for public education about the constitutional right to counsel, the realities of the state of public defense on the ground, and the public and government support necessary to ensure that this fundamental right is upheld,” said Kim Ball, director of AU’s Justice Programs Office, which houses the Right to Counsel National Campaign.
Visit the "Online Resources" Tab to Find the Latest Right to Counsel Resources
The Right to Counsel National Campaign Resource page provides information on public defense-related reform efforts as well as overall criminal justice reform underway. It also provides links to Department of Justice publications pertaining to public defense and National standards and guidelines that can provide state and local jurisdictions with tools when considering potential areas for improvement of public defense delivery systems. This page is continually updated to include the most up-to-date reports, webpages, letters, news outlets, videos, and much more.
The most recently updated resources are to the left, and include: three reports released by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - Judicial Responsibility for Justice in Criminal Courts, The Rhode Island Project: A Study of the Rhode Island Public Defender System and Attorney Workload Standards, and State of Crisis: Chronic Neglect and Underfunding for Louisiana's Public Defense System; and two reports from the Sixth Amendment Center, The Right to Counsel in Indiana: Evaluation of Trial Level Indigent Defense Services and Justice Shortchanged: Assigned Counsel Compensation in Wisconsin.