ABA Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System

Am. Bar. Ass’n (2023).

The American Bar Association released an updated version of their ten core principles for effective public defense delivery systems. These principles outline best practices for public defense systems and incorporate decades of case law, defense standards, and nationwide rules and practices. The Ten Principles include: 1) the independence of public defense providers with nonpartisan oversight; 2) state investment in public defense, including parity of resources with prosecuting agencies; 3) workload standards; 4) ongoing data collection; 5) elimination of public defense fees; 6) early access to counsel at the first point of a client’s interaction with the system; 7) supervision and training of attorneys; 8) vertical representation, with the opportunity to include specialty counsel when necessary; 9) client-centered representation; and 10) the inclusion of public defenders as equal participants in legal and policy reform discussions. These Ten Principles offer guidance for youth defense advocates pushing for the creation or improvement of youth defense delivery systems in their local jurisdictions.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Policy Tool, Resource Library
Tags: Standards, Youth Defense Systems