The Unmet Promise of Gideon and The Right to Counsel

Lecture Date



To commemorate Constitution Day and the 60th anniversary of the landmark ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright, this event takes a hard look at the case that affirmed the right to counsel for people accused of crimes who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. Gideon not only represented a generational step for our country towards meeting its promise of equal justice, it is also the foundation of our modern public defender systems. With public defender systems in most communities in America underfunded and under-resourced, however, the promise of Gideon remains unfulfilled. NLADA President and CEO April Frazier Camara will outline the state of public defense in America and discuss the significant challenges impacting many in the system. She will also focus on the consequences of these challenges and highlight how public defenders can play a key role in advancing equity and justice. Hofstra Professors Elizabeth Nevins Saunders and Fred Klein will provide responses and their own perspectives on the state of Gideon, and all three speakers will take questions from the audience.

Speaker Information


April Frazier Camara President and CEO, National Legal Aid & Defender Association


Professor Fred Klein Director, Clinical Prosecution Practicum

Professor Elizabeth Nevins Saunders Director, Criminal Justice Clinic

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