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ISPLA Update on Indigent Defense Funding

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  • Peter Psarouthakis
    The following item may be of interest to investigative professionals providing legal defense investigations to the indigent. ISPLA has been intricately
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2012
      The following item may be of interest to investigative professionals
      providing legal defense investigations to the indigent. ISPLA has been
      intricately involved in working with several organizations concerned with
      adequate funding of indigent defense investigations, including meeting with
      various sections of the U.S. Department of Justice. The General
      Accountability Office (GAO) report of May 9, 2012 provides considerable
      reference material on this subject.

      The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every person accused
      of a crime the right to counsel. States and localities generally fund
      indigent defense services, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) also provides
      funding that can be used for these services. GAO was asked to review federal
      support for indigent defendants. This report addresses, for fiscal years
      2005 through 2010, the (1) types of support DOJ provided for indigent
      defense; (2) extent to which eligible DOJ funding was allocated or awarded
      for indigent defense, the factors affecting these decisions, and DOJ's
      actions to address them; (3) percentage of DOJ funding allocated for
      indigent defense and how it was used; (4) extent to which DOJ collects data
      on indigent defense funding; and (5) extent to which DOJ assesses the
      impacts of indigent defense grants, indigent defense programs have been
      evaluated, and DOJ has supported evaluation efforts. GAO surveyed (1) all
      4,229 grant recipients about funding allocations and (2) a sample of 253
      public defender offices about factors influencing their decisions to apply
      for funding. Though not all survey results are generalizable, they provide
      insights. GAO also analyzed grant related documents and interviewed relevant
      officials. It recommended that DOJ increase grantees' awareness that funding
      can be allocated for indigent defense and collect data on such funding. The
      DOJ concurred with the GAO's recommendations.

      Additional information is available at:

      http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590736.pdf

      ISPLA's has advocated that serious attention be given towards increasing
      funding for investigative and expert witness costs when addressing indigent
      defense issues.

      Bruce Hulme
      ISPLA Director of Government Affairs
      www.ISPLA.org

      "Doing more than just providing information to investigative and security
      professionals."




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