ABA Ten Principles Of a Public Defense Delivery System

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Approved by American Bar Association House of Delegates, February 2002. The American Bar Association recommends that jurisdictions use these Principles to assess promptly the needs of public defense delivery systems and clearly communicate those needs to policy makers.

==The public defense function, including the selection, funding, and payment of defense counsel, is independent==

The publicdefense function should be independent from political influence and subject to judicial supervision only in the same manner and to the same extent as retained counsel. To safeguard independence and to promote efficiency and quality of services, a nonpartisan board should oversee defender, assigned counsel, or contract systems. Removing oversight from the judiciary ensures judicial independence from undue political pressures and is an important means of furthering the independence of public defense. The selection of the chief defender and staff should be made on the basis of merit, and recruitment of attorneys should involve special efforts aimed at achieving diversity in attorney staff.