In 2002, the American Bar Association (ABA) adopted ten principles for policymakers, public defense administrators, and other stakeholders to assess their jurisdictions’ compliance with best practices for providing effective indigent defense. Recognizing significant changes in the delivery of public defense services since adopting the original principles, the ABA issued revised principles in August of 2023. Amongst the updated ABA principles is the requirement to provide indigent defense at no cost for those who cannot afford it. The 2023 ABA principles also include a prohibition against the assessment of application fees or financial contributions from those who qualify for public defense services.
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