From the ABA’s announcement:

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2024 – The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID), in partnership with the National Association for Public Defense, today announced the creation of the Task Force for Public Defense Independence. The mission of the task force is to protect and strengthen independence and enhance the public’s understanding of the critical role public defense independence plays in ensuring a fair and just criminal legal system.

Co-chaired by Keisha Hudson, chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and Malia Brink, senior policy attorney at the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, the task force is comprised of a diverse group of defenders, legal scholars and others with expertise in the criminal legal system from across the country. The task force will be assisted by an advisory board of prominent scholars and practitioners with experience addressing political or judicial encroachments on the defense function.

“Public defenders must be able to challenge the government without fear of reprisal or reproach,” said Lori James-Townes, executive director of the National Association for Public Defense. “This task force will outline the critical steps necessary to ensure this freedom.”