2013 Program Guide: Indigent Defense

The American Constitution Society for Law & Policy is pleased to present our spring 2013 Indigent Defense Program Guide and Speakers List. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, ACS encourages student and lawyer chapters to plan events this spring that explore issues related to access to justice for all Americans. Our indigent defense system is at a point of crisis, with public defenders finding themselves underpaid and with massive caseloads. The poorest Americans have found themselves paying the price in the form of guilty pleas that could have been avoided if those charged with defending their interests had the time and resources necessary to zealously represent their clients.

Ideally, Gideon’s 50th anniversary will mark the beginning of comprehensive reform to our failed indigent defense system. There are a number of proposals on the table that would ease the crisis by finding innovative ways to fund public defenders or reduce their caseloads. At the same time, advocates are pushing to extend the right to counsel in civil cases. Events that explore issues relating to the right to counsel provide an excellent opportunity to engage with practitioners, advocates, scholars, and officials.

Attached below are the Program Guide and Speakers List:

·  Program Guide, which provides an overview of the subject matter.

·  Speakers List, which provides names and affiliations for a wide range of experts on the topic to facilitate program planning.