19 Mar Gideon Day, Stronger than Ever
Message from Public Defender Ricardo D. Garcia: This time of crisis underscores the crucial role of public defense. Today, even as we battle a world health pandemic, I ask that we all take a moment to acknowledge National Public Defender Day. Handed down 57 years ago on March 18, 1963, the Gideon vs. Wainwright decision created a right to counsel for people too poor to afford a lawyer. I am proud to be leading a team of warriors fighting on the front lines of today’s greatest civil rights causes. We are zealous advocates inside and outside the courthouse. The COVID-19 virus that knows no racial, cultural or socioeconomic boundaries, shines a light on the drastic need for criminal justice reform. With new urgency, we continue our call for an end to mass incarceration, bail reform and pretrial diversion. The pandemic also spotlights the selflessness of public defenders, who balance protecting themselves and their families from a public health crisis, with their lifelong devotion to protecting their clients. I am deeply grateful for them and the entire Public Defender team.