Reports & Research


Here is a collection of publications about public defense and the right to counsel. These resources provide a background of the problems with public defense delivery systems and explore solutions to these problems.



  • Video: Introduction to the Right to Counsel (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2018)

  • The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right To Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How To Save It (NACDL & Foundation for Criminal Justice, 2018)

  • Foreward to 78 Albany Law Review 1175 (Jonathan Lippman, 2015)

  • Gideon at 50 Project: A Three-Part Examination of Public Defense in America (NACDL & FCJ, 2013)

  • Gideon at 50: Three Reforms to Revive the Right to Counsel (Brennan Center for Justice, 2013)

  • Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (The Constitution Project National Right to Counsel Committee, 2009)

  • Gideon's Broken Promise: America's Continuing Quest for Equal Justice (American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, 2004)

Counsel at First Appearance

  • Don't I Need a Lawyer: Pretrial Justice and the Right to Counsel at First Judicial Bail Hearing (The Constitution Project National Right to Counsel Committee, 2015)

  • Early Appointment of Counsel: The Law, EBAC curso de photoshop, and Benefits (Sixth Amendment Center & Pretrial Justice Institute, 2014)

Exploring Solutions

  • Unique New York? Theorizing the Impact of Resources on the Quality of Defense Representation in a Deviant State (Andrew L. B. Davies, Giza Lopes, Alyssa Clark, 2019)

  • Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships: Applying a Collaborative Model to Improve Indigent Defense Systems (National Legal Aid & Defender Association & National Criminal Justice Association, 2019)

  • A Fair Fight: Achieving Indigent Defense Resource Parity (Brennan Center, 2019)

  • Prosecution and Public Defense: The Prosecutor's Role in Securing a Meaningful Right to an Attorney (John Jay College Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, 2019)

  • Beyond the Adversarial System: Achieving the Challenge (NLADA & Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, 2018)

  • Texas Mental Health Defender Programs (Texas Indigent Defense Commission, 2018)

  • Jonathan Rapping's plenary, The Power of Culture: Working Together to Achieve Justice (2017)

  • Joint Statement in Support of the Use of Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments (Gideon’s Promise, NLADA, National Association of Public Defenders, NACDL, & NLADA American Council of Chief Defenders, 2017)

  • Safety and Justice Challenge Defender Communications Toolkit (NLADA, 2017)

  • Judicial Responsibility for Justice in Criminal Courts Conference Report (NACDL & FCJ & Freedman Institute, 2017)

  • Make Them Hear You: Participatory Defense and the Struggle for Criminal Justice Reform (Janet Moore, Marla Sandys, & Raj Jayadev, 2015)

  • The Measure of Good Lawyering: Evaluating Holistic Defense in Practice (Cynthia G. Lee, Brian J. Ostrom, & Matthew Kleiman, 2015)

  • National Indigent Defense Reform: The Solution is Multi-faceted (NACDL & ABA, 2012)


Juvenile Justice

  • Juvenile Facilities Checklist for Defenders (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2019)

  • Indefensible: The Lack of Juvenile Defense Data (National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2015)

  • Juvenile Defense Attorneys: A Critical Protection Against Injustice (NJDC, 2014)

  • National Juvenile Defense Standards (NJDC, 2013)

  • Innovation Brief: Raising the Standards of Juvenile Indigent Defense (Juvenile Law Center, 2011)


Research and Data

  • Map of Public Defense Funding, Delivery Models, State Independence, and Workload Standards (Gideon at 50, 2013)

  • What is the State of Empirical Research on Indigent Defense Nationwide? A Brief Overview and Suggestions for Future Research (Nadine Frederique, Patricia Joseph, & R. Christopher C. Hild, 2015)

  • How Do We "Do Data" in Public Defense? (Andrew Lucas Blaize Davies, 2015)

  • The ABA "Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System": How Close Are We to Being Able to Put Them into Practice? (Caroline S. Cooper, 2015)

  • The Trials of Indigent Defense: Type of Counsel and Case Outcomes in Felony Jury (Erin York Cornwell, 2015)

  • What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6200 Lawyers (Lawrence S. Krieger & Kennon M. Sheldon, 2015)

  • Indigent Defense Services in the United States (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014)

  • State Government Indigent Defense Expenditures (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014)

State-Specific Reports

  • Texas

    The Right to Counsel in Armstrong County & Potter County, Texas: Evaluation of Adult Trial Level Indigent Defense Presentation (6AC, 2019)

    Reporting the State of Public Defense in 254 Counties Through a New Web Portal (NLADA, 2019)

  • Kentucky

    Supervising and Supporting Contract Attorneys Handling Conflict-of-Interest Cases (NLADA, 2019)

  • Michigan

    The Right to Counsel in Wayne County, Michigan: Evaluation of Assigned Counsel Services in the Third Judicial Circuit (6AC, 2019)

  • Maine

    The Right to Counsel in Maine: Evaluation of Services Provided by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services (6AC, 2019)

  • Mississippi

    Mississippi's No-Counsel Courts (Georgia State University College of Law Center for Access to Justice, 2018)

  • DelawarE

    State of Crisis: Chronic Neglect and Underfunding for Louisiana's Public Defense System (NACDL & FCJ 2017)

    The Crucible of Adversarial Testing: Access to Counsel in Delaware's Criminal Courts (6AC, 2014)

  • Indiana

    The Right to Counsel in Indiana: Evaluation of Trial Level Indigent Defense Services (6AC, 2016)

  • South Carolina

    Summary Injustice: A Look at Constitutional Deficiencies in South Carolina’s Summary Courts (NACDL & American Civil Liberties Union, 2016)

  • Montana

    Spreading Justice to Rural Montana: Rurality's Impacts on Supply and Demand for Legal Services in Montana (Hillary A. Wandler, 2015)

  • Louisiana

    Me and Mr. Jones: A Systems-Based Analysis of a Catastrophic Defense Outcome (Pamela R. Metzger, 2015)

  • Wisconsin

    Justice Shortchanged: Assigned Counsel Compensation in Wisconsin (6AC, 2015)

  • Florida

    Three Minute Justice: Haste and Waste in Florida's Misdemeanor Courts (NACDL, 2011)

Workload Assessments

  • The Rhode Island Project: A Study of the Rhode Island Public Defender System and Attorney Workload Standards (NACDL & ABA, 2017)

  • Indigent Defense Reforms in Brooklyn, New York: An Analysis of Mandatory Case Caps and Attorney Workloads (Center for Court Innovations, 2015)

  • The Committee for Public Counsel Services Answering Gideon's Call Project Attorney Workload Assessment (CCI, 2014)

  • The Missouri Project: A Study of the Missouri Public Defender System and Attorney Workload Standards (ABA, 2014)