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Tennessee Bar Association voices support for indigent representation reform

NASHVILLE, TN — The Tennessee Supreme Court announced Oct. 3 that it would support efforts to reform the state's indigent representation methods.

“The TBA applauds the Supreme Court's strong leadership on indigent representation reform. We look forward to partnering with the court and others interested in making real improvement on the status quo," stated TBA President Lucian Pera in response to the announcement.

For too long Tennessee has been at the very bottom of the heap nationally in the way we fund representation of indigent defendants, as well as juveniles caught in the system. The court's recommendations regarding rates and caps is a step in the right direction. Frankly, it is a small step, and it is not enough; but it is a start.

In appointing the Task Force on Indigent Representation, and now forcefully endorsing its recommendations, the court is leading the way to serious indigent representation reform. Beyond simply raising rates and caps, the court is putting the pieces in place to really improve the system for all Tennesseans.

Tennessee's lawyers care deeply about improving the representation of people in need. Under the Constitution, all Tennesseans have a constitutional right to a lawyer in criminal cases. The TBA looks forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Court to move Tennessee in the right direction."

Published October 4, 2017

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