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The American Council of Chief Defenders is a national community of public defense leaders dedicated to securing a fair justice system and ensuring high quality legal representation for people facing loss of life, freedom or family.

Learn About Our Work

The mission of the ACCD is: to provide tools, strategies, mutual support, training and information to chief defenders; to speak as a national voice for public defense; to promote best practices in the leadership, management, and administration of justice; and to support development and reform of public defense systems.

Training, Education, and Conferences

We provide training and education for and by the leaders of indigent defense systems. We hold our multi-day ACCD Conference annually at varying locations throughout the country, providing time for our members to meet together to conduct business, receive and provide training, and meet with national indigent defense policymakers. At NLADA’s Annual Conference, held in the fall of each year, we provide training for present & future leaders in indigent defense on specific current topics.

Collaboration, Mentorship, and Networking

Through the ACCD, you can support your chief defender colleagues from around the country and get support from them.  Members have access to each other through the ACCD listserv, where you can ask questions, get answers, discuss issues of advocacy and policy, and exchange documents -- all secure in the knowledge that the people you are talking to are leaders of indigent defense systems just like you.

National Voice for Advancing Criminal Justice System Policy

Together, we represent the voice of America's indigent defense leadership.  Through our advocacy, position papers, and resolutions, we provide support to indigent defense leaders and systems, advise criminal justice system policymakers, and educate the public about indigent defense services.  Learn more about indigent defense issues by reading our ACCD Publications & Advocacy page.

ACCD Leadership & Governance

We are led by our Executive Committee and served by Staff in carrying out our organizational work.  If you have questions about the work of the ACCD, send us an email.  We adhere to our Governance document in carrying out our work.

Our on-going work is carried out primarily through committees made up of our members who volunteer to devote their time to the work of the ACCD, tackling a variety of topics to impact criminal justice and public defense issues.  If you are interested in joining one of the four standing committees or forming a new one, send us an email.

Join the ACCD and Support

Membership in the ACCD is open to all chiefs and deputy chiefs (i.e., first two in command hierarchy, regardless of title) of all types of indigent defense systems in the United States and its territories, including the heads of county or judicial district offices within state systems.  Prosecutors and bench officers are not eligible for membership. Click here to find out how to become an ACCD member today.