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Papers from the Executive Session on Public Defense

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Publication Date: August 2002

Publisher(s): Brennan Center for Justice

Author(s): Robin Steinberg; David Feige

Topic: Justice (Legal procedure)

Keywords: Criminal Justice; Community Oriented Defender Network; Sentencing Reform

Type: Report


Public defenders everywhere are beginning to reassess the most fundamental questions of what it means to provide effective representation for clients. Frustrated by the limitations traditionally imposed by government funders who seek to satisfy minimal constitutional, public defenders are asking themselves if there is more they can do for the clients and communities they represent. By changing the way public defenders see their clients, their communities, and themselves, we can fundamentally alter the relationship among the three for the benefit of all.

This bulletin is designed to do two things: provoke a discussion about the most basic values of the public defender culture in order to create a desire to reevaluate these values and provide a set of concrete suggestions by which public defender managers can move an office from the traditional model to a more holistic one.