Over 7000 Strong
NAPD was still in the thought stage a year ago. Still to come was a meeting in Dayton, the formation of a Steering Committee, creation of other committees, the design of a website, the beginning of a Facebook page, and public defenders talking to each other about this new thing out there.
Today, we have over 7000 members. Over 50 organizations have joined. NAPD is now on the map. So what else has NAPD accomplished in this period?
People are getting educated. Over 1200 persons have watched over 30 webinars since our creation. That’s a lot of learning on such topics as cross examination of sexual assault victims, checklists, voir dire, investigations, Crawford, racial profiling, competency, prosecutorial misconduct, among other things. And in case you missed those, they’re all stored on MyGideon, and you can watch them over and over if you so please.
We’re doing something about Workloads. I complained for over 3 decades about public defender workloads, and so have a lot of you. NAPD is doing something about it. In Lexington last month, over 65 public defense leaders joined to learn about how to think about this crisis in indigent defense and actually do something about it. And while we were at it, over 100 public defense leaders learned more about supervision and coaching.
Have bar card will travel. Did you know we have a Strike Force? Fred Friedman, long-time public defender chief from Duluth, Minnesota, has started a Strike Force. He’s looking for more people willing to do something when one of us is threatened. We need people from around the country. If interested, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get the word to Fred.
Blogs and Wikis and Forums, Oh My. NAPD is a virtual organization. That doesn’t mean we don’t get anything done. Instead, it means we do most of our stuff online, where most of you are. We have blogs written by some of the most creative people among us. Those blogs are posted on the website, publicdefenders.us/, as well as on our Facebook page. Alex Bassos, Chair of our MyGideon Committee as well as Training Director in Portland, Oregon, is creating a public defender library that not only contains past webinars and other training materials, but also wiki-like pages from forensic sciences to workloads.
Making a difference. NAPD has been weighing in where it means the most. When the defender office in Fresno, California was being threatened with huge caseloads and budget cuts, NAPD wrote in support of additional funding and lower caseloads. NAPD has endorsed a bill in Congress to establish a National Center for the Right to Counsel. NAPD has opposed proposed ABA Standards that would have reduced the responsibility of prosecutors in a variety of ways.
NAPD wrote BJA when they issued a report with inaccurate data about many of our organizations. NAPD has expressed support for the creation of a White House Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice for the Indigent Accused. NAPD has signed on to an amicus brief supporting a strong warning about immigration consequences during the conducting of a guilty plea. We are committed to doing more in the coming year.
Keep it up. This is just our first year. We want to have 10,000 members by the end of 2015. Pass it on. Enroll your office. Pass the word to your friends. The more members we have, the stronger we will be.