NLADA Statement on the EQUAL Defense Act

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Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected]; twitter@NLADA


National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) president & CEO Jo-Ann Wallace issued the following quote in response to today’s introduction of the EQUAL Defense Act in the U.S. Senate:

“The EQUAL Defense Act would make a historic investment in our nation’s fundamental promise of equal justice under law. The right to counsel is enshrined in our Constitution, but this means little if the public defenders tasked with protecting due process and ensuring that every person receives a fair trial are denied the time and resources they need to provide effective representation.

A quality public defense with adequate resources not only makes it less likely that a person will be wrongfully or unnecessarily incarcerated, but it can also reduce recidivism by helping to resolve the problems that led them to justice system involvement in the first place.

The unprecedented federal support for public defense in this bill would directly and meaningfully impact the delivery of the right to counsel. It also makes a powerful statement about the role of effective public defense as an equal and indispensable component of our justice systems by creating incentives for implementing pay parity and reasonable workload limits. We strongly commend the leadership of Senator Harris in introducing this legislation and we urge Congress to pass the EQUAL Defense Act.”



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