Yesterday, Mary Pollard began work as just the third Executive Director of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS), which began its work two decades ago in 2000. IDS is the statewide agency responsible for overseeing and enhancing legal representation for indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel under North Carolina law. Over the weekend, before she became deluged with her new responsibilities, Mary graciously agreed to do a quick interview with me. Read on to get to know a little more about her.
Last week I had the pleasure of hosting around 40 attorneys for the second part of a new course, Higher Level Felony Defense. The first part, held in early 2018, focused primarily on preparing a case for trial. We also included a deep dive into jury selection. This second part focused on common issues in serious felony cases as well on sentencing advocacy. As a new program, I’m sure it will evolve, but I thought the first iteration was promising and wanted to talk briefly about the program and our goals.
For today’s post, I conducted a short interview with Tom Maher, the executive director of the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS), the statewide agency in North Carolina that oversees the provision of legal representation for indigent defendants in criminal and other cases. We talk about the recent raise in the rates for private assigned counsel doing high-level felony work, the status of public defense funding in North Carolina, and the importance of a robust system of indigent defense generally. Readers may be aware that I served as a private assigned counsel for many years before coming to work at the School of Government, and it’s a topic near and dear to me. Indigent defense is equally important for court actors and citizens of the state, and I hope you find the interview informative. It runs around 13 minutes, with minor edits for the sake of time and clarity. Click here to watch.
The Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) is responsible for providing legal representation for indigent defendants and respondents in North Carolina. It is a small agency with a big job, spanning representation in criminal prosecutions, parental rights proceedings, involuntary commitment cases, and other cases affecting important rights. This blog post introduces Whitney Fairbanks, the new assistant director and general counsel of IDS. That position is often the point of contact for lawyers, court officials, and others involved with indigent defense. The following is from an interview I conducted of Whitney last week.
In 2015, the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) asked the School of Government to conduct an online survey of how superior and district court judges view IDS’s administration of indigent defense in North Carolina. Last week, the School issued its report of the survey results, Trial Judges’ Perceptions of North Carolina’s Office of Indigent Defense Services: A Report on Survey Results (March 2016) (referred to below as the Report). The verdict? Judges have a positive view of IDS’s performance, overall and in several key areas, but the results include a few warning signs for indigent defense.
I thought I’d take a few minutes and jot down some questions and answers about the new fine-only punishment scheme for Class 3 misdemeanors for many defendants (enacted as part of the 2013 Appropriations Act). Several hours later—after thinking about the different permutations, reading several cases, talking with patient colleagues, and pondering further—I came up … Read more
According to this recent article in the ABA Journal, criminal defense lawyers “[i]ncreasingly . . . are asking their clients to wear glasses during jury trials,” believing that juries will be more likely to acquit bespectacled defendants, who they may view as less threatening. One prosecutor characterized the strategy as an “unspoken nerd defense.” The … Read more
The Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) is studying data related to the disposition of seventeen types of misdemeanor charges during the 2009 fiscal year to determine whether decriminalization of these offenses might be an appropriate way to reduce the cost to the State of providing appointed counsel. Section 15.17 of S.L. 2009-451 directed IDS … Read more