PURPOSES OF GACDL
- To provide an appropriate state organization representing those lawyers who are actively engaged in the defense of criminal cases;
- To resist proposed legislation or rules which would curtail such rights and to promote sound alternatives;
- To promote educational activities to improve the skills and knowledge of lawyers engaged in the defense of criminal cases;
- To improve the judicial system and to urge the selection and appointment to the bench of well-qualified and experienced lawyers;
- To improve the correctional system and to seek more effective rehabilitation opportunities for those convicted of crimes;
- To promote constant improvement in the administration of criminal justice
GACDL'S POSITION ON INDIGENT DEFENSE
GACDL supports funding levels that are adequate to provide constitutionally required zealous representation for the accused.
GACDL supports ABA standards for attorney caseload sizes. GACDL strongly opposes any proposal to furlough public defenders.
Death penalty cases being unique to the practice of law, sufficient funding and sufficiently trained and experienced attorneys are essential; the funding as it currently stands is wholly inadequate.
All habeas petitioners serving sentences for serious violent felonies should have the advice of counsel.
GACDL opposes raising the threshold amounts for determinations of indigency. The newly proposed figures only consider one’s ability to afford the bare essentials of food and shelter, while failing to consider the financial ability to retain a lawyer. GACDL opposes changing the definition of “indigent” because it fails to adequately consider financial hardships such as court ordered child Support, medical bills and other legal obligations.
Removal of Counsel:
Removal of counsel in any criminal matters, absent cause, is a threat to the independence of the defense function and interferes with the ongoing attorney-client relationship. Continuity of counsel is paramount in death penalty cases.
GACDL supports ABA standards on attorney caseload sizes and strongly condemns the excessive caseloads carried by public defenders throughout the state.