The Importance of Quality Indigent Defense Services


Counties spend more than $70.2 billion every year on justice and public safety, and in many jurisdictions a major part of this is the provision of public defense services – providing attorneys to defendants who cannot afford to hire one on their own. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees an individual the right to have the assistance of counsel for his defense, and the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright held that states bear the responsibility for providing such counsel. In many states, however, this function has been passed to the counties, leading to overburdened systems and increasingly high costs.

In this podcast, we sit down with David Carroll, the founder of the Sixth Amendment Center, and Dan Chadwick, executive director of the Idaho Association of Counties, to talk about why it’s so important that counties get public defense right and learn about the solution Idaho’s counties have devised to help improve representation without increasing their costs. We also speak with Patti Puritz, executive director of the National Juvenile Defender Center, about particular issues with public defense of children, and hear about Montgomery County, Texas’s innovative juvenile public defender system.

This podcast features music from Christian Bjoerklund, Digital Primitives, Broke For Free, Yacht and State Shirt.

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