R2C National Campaign: May 2016 Newsletter


Tucker v. Idaho

The Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, brief in this Idaho case concerning the right to counsel. According to the plaintiffs in Tucker, the state continuously fails to provide adequate resources to support effective defense services for defendants unable to pay. The class action lawsuit therefore alleges that the systemic failings in Idaho's public defense system lead to the constructive denial of counsel for indigent criminal defendants in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.

In its amicus brief, the DOJ highlights the importance of prospective civil claims for criminal defendants who cannot afford an attorney in order to prevent violations of their constitutional right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. The brief articulates the position that, "the availability of pre-conviction civil actions for systemic denials of counsel, whether actual or constructive, is critical to protecting the fundamental right that Gideon recognized."

You can read the DOJ amicus brief in Tucker here, and you can read the amicus brief of NACDL and the Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers here.

Consortium Members Updates

National Association of Counties (NACo):

Annual Conference, July 22-25, 2016, Long Beach, CA

July 25th 8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Stepping Up: Key Considerations for Reducing Mental Illness in Jails.

This session will highlight the role public defense providers play in this initiative.

National Association of Court Managers (NACM):

Annual Conference, July 10-14, 2016, Pittsburgh, PA

July 11 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Plenary: The Challenge of Equal Justice: The Sixth Amendment Guarantee of the Right to Counsel in Criminal Matters

July 11 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Plenary Follow-up: The Role of Court Managers in Ensuring the Right to Counsel

National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA): 

Pretrial Meeting, June 8-9, 2016, Baltimore, MD

At their upcoming regional pretrial meetings, the June 8 session on public defense on will be moderated by Leah Garabedian, Sr. Program Manager at Justice Management Institute (JMI). It will be held at the University of Baltimore School of Law in Baltimore, Md. This workshop will focus on importance of appointing counsel at the pretrial stage and highlight a jurisdiction for State Administering Agencies looking to utilize a systemic approach when developing a comprehensive criminal justice strategic plan. Learn more here.

In The News

Wait list grows as public defenders refuse cases in New Orleans, by Mori Rothman, PBS NewsHour (May 1, 2016)

Colorado Springs Will Stop Jailing People Too Poor To Pay Court Fines, by Joseph Shaprio, NPR (May 5, 2016)

Louisiana's Public Defender Crisis Is Leaving Thousands Stuck in Jail With No Legal Help, by Lauren Zanolli, VICE News (May 13, 2016)

Tenn. task force looks at how best to provide legal representation to the state’s poor, by Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News Sentinel (May 20, 2016)

Man in Mississippi jail 11 years without trial, by Jerry Mitchell, The Clarion-Ledger (May 22, 2016)

Editorial: Better pay, better defense, Daily Press (May 22, 2016)

Save the Date

The next R2C quarterly webinar will be on Thursday, June 16 at 2pm ET.


New R2C Consortium Members

Please join us and become a consortium member and/or help us spread the word about R2C!


Call for Blogs and Shareable Content

If you are interested in blogging for R2C or have other published pieces that the Campaign should know about, please contact Ivan Dominguez (idominguez@nacdl.org) or Ezra Dunkle-Polier (edunkle-polier@nacdl.org).