October 21, 2014
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the nation's preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing, has been selected by Koch Industries, Inc. to receive a major grant in support of NACDL's efforts to address the nation's profound indigent defense crisis.
There are two components to this generous and critical initiative:
- Significant expansion of access to training through an ambitious combination of scholarship support for indigent defenders, web-based training via the Internet, and targeted on-site training for indigent defense providers who lack adequate resources to provide comprehensive continuing education for line attorneys and supervisors.
- Examination of state level indigent defense delivery systems in order to ascertain strengths that can be replicated elsewhere as well as weaknesses and the ways in which those can be rectified.
Both components will seek to achieve the goals set forth in the American Bar Association's Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, which are widely recognized as providing a comprehensive framework for the effective delivery of legal services for the indigent accused.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that those accused of a crime have the fundamental right to an attorney, regardless of one's ability to pay. Indeed, some 80-plus percent of those accused of crime in America rely upon indigent defense systems to provide representation. Those systems are chronically underfunded and overburdened and, as a result, in many instances are unable to effectively deliver adequate representation. Koch has selected NACDL as the recipient of this funding in order to advance the Association's core mission of improving and ensuring the quality of indigent defense in America.
NACDL President Theodore Simon said: "This funding will significantly enhance NACDL's ever-vigilant, ongoing efforts and capacity to elevate the caliber of representation available to those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer when they face criminal charges. No one – regardless of financial means – who faces a criminal prosecution, should be deprived of the guiding hand of experienced counsel. This grant from Koch brings us closer to the day when that goal will be a reality. It is an important step to fulfill the promise of Gideon, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Sixth Amendment right to counsel for the indigent.”
NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: "This is about a fundamental right set forth in the Constitution – the right to counsel – and the very sorry state of support for indigent defense this country. NACDL is delighted that there is such a convergence of interest and concern between NACDL's mission and that of Koch with respect to the critical importance of indigent defense and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. And we are honored that while Koch is providing this significant funding to support NACDL's efforts, Koch is deferring to NACDL's expertise in this arena for the grant's effective deployment. We hope that the support Koch is providing to NACDL to expand efforts to address America's profound indigent defense crisis serves as a model and inspiration to others who are similarly situated to step up and join NACDL as we work to ensure the survival of the fundamental right to counsel."
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries, Inc., Charles G. Koch said: "I am proud that Koch Industries is a part of this worthy project. All of my life, I have supported and championed the Bill of Rights, which is the bedrock upon which our free society was built. We are supportive of the NACDL's efforts to make the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of an individual's right to counsel a reality for all Americans, especially those who are the most disadvantaged in our society."
According to Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Koch Industries, Inc., Mark V. Holden, "We unconditionally support the Bill of Rights, which is the blueprint for our free society, and the rule of law. As a result,we support NACDL and criminal defense lawyers because the Sixth Amendment specifically identifies criminal defense lawyers as a right and necessity for individuals accused of crimes. With this initiative, we hope to strengthen the Sixth Amendment and protect the freedom and rights of all Americans, including those who are most negatively impacted by lack of access to a competent defense lawyer."
Koch Industries has been involved with and supportive of NACDL's efforts for more than a decade. In 2011, Holden received the Association's Defender of Justice Leadership Award on behalf of Koch Industries in recognition of his and the company's ongoing support of NACDL's mission.
To learn more about NACDL's scholarship program for indigent defense providers and trainers, please visit nacdl.org
Click here to view a conversation between NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer and Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Koch Industries, Inc., Mark V. Holden about this exciting new initiative.