Media Advisory – Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Public Hearing on Legislation to Enhance Legal Representation for Criminal Defense

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 979 on Tuesday, April 1st beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Hearing Room #1 of the North Office Building of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.  The North Office Building is adjacent to the Capitol Building’s East Wing.  SB 979 would establish the Pennsylvania Center for Effective Indigent Defense Legal Representation which would provide training for attorneys, help attorney’s enhance capitol case defense skills, and appropriate additional funding for criminal defense.

In 1963 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright, that free counsel for criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney is mandated by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  After fifty years, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not appropriate funds to assist counties in complying with the Gideon constitutional mandate.

**Members of the media are encouraged to attend

List of witnesses:

Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf, Chairman (opening statement)

Phyllis H. Subin, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Coalition for Justice

Al Flora, Jr., Law Offices of Albert Flora, Jr.

Lisette McCormick, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Racial, Gender and Ethnic Fairness

Forest N. Myers, President, Pennsylvania Bar Association

William P. Fedullo, Chancellor, Philadelphia Bar Association

Daniel E. Fitzsimmons, Board of Governors, Allegheny County Bar Association

Helen Stolinas, Chief Public Defender, Bradford County, and Board President, Pennsylvania Public Defender Association

David Crowley, Chief Public Defender, Centre County, and Board

Member, Pennsylvania Public Defender Association

Keir Bradford-Grey, Chief Public Defender, Montgomery County

Mark B. Sheppard, Vice-President, Eastern District, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Marc Bookman, Director, Atlantic Center for Capital Representation

Marissa B. Bluestine, Legal Director, Pennsylvania Innocence Project

Elton Anglada, President, Juvenile Defenders Association of Pennsylvania

Craig W. Stedman, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association


Aaron Zappia
(215) 657-7700