News & Press: At the Capitol

ACLU Lawsuit Againt the State and Fresno County

Friday, January 10, 2020   (1 Comments)
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Several years ago, the ACLU filed lawsuits against Fresno County challenging the quality of indigent criminal defense in Fresno County and the rest of the State of California.

Those cases have resolved.

Here is a paragraph from the ACLU press release: "Under the settlement, Gov. Gavin Newsom has included $4 million dollars in his annual proposed budget for 2020-21 and $3.5 million annually thereafter to expand the mission of the Office of the State Public Defender (OSPD),which currently handles only death penalty appeals.This represents an increase of approximately 28 percent over the agency’s current budget with the goal of promoting more effective representation statewide.The proposed expansion would include broad new authorization for OSPD to provide support, including training and technical assistance for California counties’ provision of trial-level indigent criminal defense in non-capital cases.The proposal also includes $10 million for the Board of State and Community Corrections, in consultation with OSPD, to administer a program to provide grant funding to local public defense systems. This funding will also support the completion of an evaluation to determine the effectiveness of these grants."

Here are some links related that case, its settlement, and the changes to the State Public Defender Office to help county public defender offices:

ACLU Press Release

Fresno County Press Release re Settlement

Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget, increasing funding and responsibilities of State Public Defender in response to ACLU lawsuit, p. 144

Settlement Agreement between State of California and ACLU

Settlement Agreement between Fresno County and ACLU

Comments...

Douglas Feinberg says...
Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2020
As part of the settlement, Fresno County is required to hire many more attorneys. As of about a week ago, we needed approximately 15 new criminal defense attorneys. For more information, check out https://www.co.fresno.ca.us/departments/public-defender/public-defender-employment. Doug Feinberg Research Attorney Fresno County Public Defender Office

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