S.1377 - EQUAL Defense Act of 2019116th Congress (2019-2020) |
|Sponsor:||Sen. Harris, Kamala D. [D-CA] (Introduced 05/08/2019)|
|Committees:||Senate - Judiciary|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 05/08/2019 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. (All Actions)|
This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
- Passed Senate
- Passed House
- To President
- Became Law
Summary: S.1377 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)
Introduced in Senate (05/08/2019)
Ensuring Quality Access to Legal Defense Act of 2019 or the EQUAL Defense Act of 2019
This bill establishes and modifies certain programs that support the delivery of public defense services (i.e., legal services for criminal defendants who cannot afford counsel).
Specifically, the bill directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to award grants to state and local governments, tribal organizations, and public defender offices for public defense. A grant recipient must use the grant to establish a data collection process, develop workload limits, and satisfy specified compensation requirements (e.g., pay parity between public defenders and prosecutors).
The bill also directs DOJ to award grants to nonprofits and government organizations to train public defenders, court-appointed attorneys, and contract attorneys.
Additionally, a state that receives Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program funds must annually submit to DOJ information related to the legal representation of defendants in criminal cases.
It also reauthorizes through FY2022 the student loan repayment program for prosecutors and public defenders and otherwise revises the program, including by increasing the maximum benefit amount.