Defense Lawyers: DOJ Should Issue Justice System Impact Statements


Two national defense attorney groups are asking the Department of Justice to analyze better how proposed criminal laws and crime-fighting strategies might add additional costs to the rest of the justice system, reports Legal Times. Federal and local officials look at the funding needed to implement new laws and strategies but ignore how other parts of the system can be affected, said Bonnie Hoffman, co-chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Indigent Defense Committee.

“They do not consider how much will be spent on police, prosecutors, probation officers, jails and prisons,” Hoffman said. “And they never consider the impact on the nation’s over-extended and under-funded indigent defense system.” The NACDL joined the American Council of Chief Defenders section of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in passing a resolution this month that calls on DOJ to issue “justice system impact statements” on future policy changes. The resolution also asks DOJ for impact statements for the grants it distributes to local police and prosecutors.

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