Session: 2023-2024

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.


Senator Lisa Baker



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