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File #: 210233    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: IN COUNCIL - FINAL PASSAGE
File created: 3/18/2021 In control: CITY COUNCIL
On agenda: Final action:
Title: Recognizing and honoring the Defender Association of Philadelphia for their tireless pursuit of justice for our indigent population and designating the day of March 18, 2021 as "Public Defense Day" in the City of Philadelphia.
Sponsors: Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Parker, Councilmember Green, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Gym, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson, Councilmember Henon, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Brooks, Councilmember Domb, Councilmember Thomas
Attachments: 1. Signature21023300
Title
Recognizing and honoring the Defender Association of Philadelphia for their tireless pursuit of justice for our indigent population and designating the day of March 18, 2021 as "Public Defense Day" in the City of Philadelphia.

Body
WHEREAS, On March 18, 1963, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright. Clarence Gideon was convicted and incarcerated after he was refused an attorney. He was innocent, and was released years later after the Supreme Court granted him counsel; and

WHEREAS, Gideon v. Wainwright established the 6th Amendment right to counsel for adults, even those who could otherwise not afford to hire an attorney. In that decision, the Supreme Court said, "in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him." This landmark decision also laid the foundation for the same protections to later be afforded to juveniles, in the case of In re Gault; and

WHEREAS, Public defenders are often tasked with the difficult job of fighting against injustices and abuses of power, while guarding the constitutional, human, and civil rights of ordinary citizens; and

WHEREAS, The Defender Association of Philadelphia was founded in 1934 to protect the rights of indigent defendants and since 1963 has filled the constitutionally required role of public defender for the City of Philadelphia; and

WHEREAS, The Defender Association of Philadelphia represents approximately seventy percent of all persons arrested in the City. The Association, however, has no power to appoint itself as legal counsel. The Court of Common Pleas and the Municipal Court of Philadelphia determine standards of indigence and make all counsel appointments for the Association. Clients are represented by fulltime Assistant Defenders who are members of the Pennsylvania Bar and who are not permitted to maintain a private practi...

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