ACLU-PA Position: Supports
Pennsylvania remains the only state in the nation that fails to provide state-level funding for public defenders. Instead, individual counties must bear 100% of the financial burden to maintain their essential—and constitutionally required—public defense services.
SB 371 would create an Indigent Defense Advisory Committee and a grant fund to support indigent defense. The committee will be responsible for:
Managing and awarding funds through the Indigent Defense Grant Program;
- Proposing minimum standards for the delivery of effective indigent defense and for attorneys providing indigent defense services;
- Developing appropriate statewide continuing legal education courses;
- Developing programs for capital case defense skills training;
- Adopting standards for counties to collect and report data;
- Developing data requests in conjunction with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) and the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission (JCJC); and
- Preparing a biennial report on any grants that were awarded and data that was collected.
Check the bill's status here.