Learn More About the Defender Initiative
The Initiative’s seventh annual Conference on Public Defense will be held March 3, 2017.
About the Director
Robert C. Boruchowitz is a Professor from Practice at the Seattle University School of Law, after joining the faculty in January 2007 as a Visiting Clinical Professor. He has taught a Right to Counsel Clinic, a Right to Counsel seminar, Criminal Procedure, the Youth Advocacy Clinic, and a seminar he developed on Law and the Holocaust and the Abuse of Executive Power.
Read more about Professor Boruchowitz on his faculty profile.
The Defender Initiative
The Defender Initiative is part of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, whose mission is to advance justice and equality through a unified vision that combines research, advocacy, and education. The project, led by its Director, Robert C. Boruchowitz, will advance efforts to improve public defense representation for thousands of people in Washington and provide models for application in other states.
The Defender Initiative began in 2008 and is an unusual law school-based project aimed at providing better representation for people accused of crimes and facing loss of their liberty in juvenile and other court proceedings and, in the process, increasing fairness in and respect for the courts. The Initiative also advocates for diversion and reclassification of some misdemeanor offenses, including possession of marijuana and suspended driver license cases. This can save money, improve the misdemeanor courts, and reduce racial disparity in the criminal justice system.
Through a combination of public education, research and writing, and strategic litigation, The Defender Initiative focuses on providing counsel in courts that do not currently provide lawyers and on reducing excessive defender workloads that threaten the effectiveness of the right to counsel, fostering a commitment to excellence in representation, and ensuring that defender lawyers with adequate resources are available and prepared to help accused persons at every stage of prosecution.
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