2014: MyGideon in Review
From the 2014 NAPD Annual Report. This section was written by Alex Bassos, Director of Training and Outreach for the Metropolitan Public Defender (Portland, OR) and NAPD Steering Committee member and MyGideon Committee Co-Chair. It is submitted to the NAPD website by Herbert Duzant, NAPD member/NAPD MyGideon Committee member.
MyGideon (NAPD’s public defense library) is a game changer, a community builder and the heart of NAPD. MyGideon is a thousand things at once: webinars, forums, information, manuals, checklists, portals and much more. But in the end, it is a clear demonstration of how much more powerful the public defense community is together than when siloed and separated.
Over the past year, NAPD built the foundation of this incredibly powerful tool. Members built mini-manuals on topics as far-reaching as fingerprints, immigration and workloads, and have loaded in ten thousand members. NAPD created intricate and intuitive organizational structures for finding information. The site was leveraged into a living set of materials for the Workload Leadership Institute – and continued to develop during and in response to that conference. Members have uploaded and the MyGideon Committee has organized thousands of resources and documents, making them available to attorneys and other advocates who might otherwise have access to no resources at all. NAPD has given every member editorial access so that they may make their local resources available to the broader community.
MyGideon is a way to pull public defense information together in one secure place so that it benefits the maximum number of public defense professionals. Whether it is webinars, training materials, conversations conducted through the online forums, checklists or examples of case documents, the NAPD community is not lacking for information.
Where the community is lacking is in the organization of information. There is so much available content that it seems to many that organizing it is impossible, but NAPD is up to the task. NAPD’s development and ongoing curation of MyGideon will bring intuitive organization to the thousands of resources that have been offered by NAPD’s growing membership. Here are some representative examples of MyGideon work in progress: Organizing all public defender research, both completed and ongoing, with RFPs, deliverables, publications and identifying information; Organizing all the large capital motion sets within a checklist of possible defense motions; Organizing NAPD webinars and articles into the subjects to which they apply; Organizing Teresa Norris's case summaries of IAC cases, currently published as a newsletter, into a format that would make them all available and searchable; Organizing Maryland's bank of tens of thousands of forensic resources so that they are all easily available to Maryland attorneys and the best national ones are available to any NAPD member; Making sure that an attorney from any particular state has access to national documents and documents from their own state, but not overwhelmed by state-level documents from other states; Building out a checklist for investigation, with examples of everything from FOIA requests to chaos maps; Increasing capacity so that there is a constant stream of law students and volunteers helping build the site; Organizing data sets of state-specific procedure so that the data can be manipulated within the site; and, Pulling together dozens of capital mitigation manuals, checklists and materials into a single “meta-manual.”
Over the course of the next year, NAPD expects that the rough edges and vast caverns within MyGideon will be filled in so that it will look and feel like a massive manual for criminal defense seamlessly tailored to the practice of the state the attorney lives. It's a massive, previously impossible vision that is only possible through the connectedness created by NAPD.