WASHINGTON, DC, January 5, 2011 - The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is pleased to announce that Kentucky’s chief public defender, Ed Monahan, has been named to lead the American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD), a section of NLADA and the preeminent national voice for indigent accused. Monahan was elected chair of ACCD on January 1, 2011. He was appointed KY Public Advocate by the Governor on September 1, 2008 for a four year term.
“Ed’s commitment and leadership as Kentucky’s chief public defender raises the bar for all leaders in the public defense community,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, president and CEO of NLADA. “His stewardship of the ACCD will ensure that it will continue to play a vital role in supporting quality public defense services and working to ensure fairness throughout our nation’s criminal justice systems.”
Monahan was elected to head the NLADA section that comprises a national community of public defense leaders dedicated to securing a fair justice system and ensuring high quality legal representation for people facing loss of life, freedom or family. The ACCD is charged with the preservation of the constitutional right to counsel for people accused of a criminal offense who cannot afford to hire an attorney and speaks as a national voice for public defense; promotes best practices in the leadership, management, and the administration of justice; and supports development and reform of public defense systems.
“I’m pleased that Ed was chosen to serve in this national defender leadership role,” said Jerry J. Cox, Chair of the Public Advocacy Commission and Second Vice-President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "It is fortunate to have someone of Ed Monahan's caliber leading this important national group of public defender leaders. His national leadership will bring Kentucky defenders the best nationally. It will keep the Kentucky public defender program improving according to the national standard of practice.”
Monahan said, “As ACCD chair in 2011, I look forward to working with chief defenders from across the country to collaborate with the American Bar Association, especially the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Indigent Defense efforts to promote meaningful counsel for indigent defendants facing a loss of liberty. In Kentucky and nationally, defenders face significant resource challenges. We have to balance the scales. So chief defenders will campaign in 2011 to protect America’s right to counsel by advocating that governments meet the constitutional mandate to provide a defense attorney to those who cannot afford one. In 2011 ACCD will also advance our advocacy on pretrial release, immigration and mental health issues. ”
Monahan has been a member of the Executive Committee of ACCD since 2008 and chaired its Leadership and Development Committee from 2008 - 2010. He began as a Kentucky public defender in 1976. Governor Beshear appointed Monahan Kentucky public advocate in 2008. Ed is president of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, past chair of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section, a member of the KBA Ethics Committee (2000-2007; 2008-present). He is a member of the NLADA Defender Policy Group and chairs its Communications Committee. Among his publications, Monahan with James J. Clark, Ph.D. authored “Coping with Excessive Workloads,” Ethical Problems Facing the Criminal Defense Lawyer: Practical Answers to Tough Questions, Rodney J. Upoff, Editor (1995).
Monahan is a native of Ludlow, Kentucky, a 1976 graduate of Washington D.C.’s Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and a 1973 graduate of Northern Kentucky’s Thomas More College.
American Council of Chief Defenders, a section of NLADA, is composed of the nation’s chief public defenders and is dedicated to promoting fair justice systems by advocating sound public policies and ensuring quality legal representation to people who are facing a loss of liberty or accused of a crime and cannot afford an attorney.
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is this country’s oldest and largest nonprofit association of individual legal professionals and legal organizations devoted to ensuring the delivery of legal services to the poor. For nearly 100 years, NLADA has secured access to justice for people who cannot afford counsel through the creation and improvement of legal institutions, advocacy, training and the development of nationally applicable standards. NLADA serves as the collective voice for both civil legal services and public defense services throughout the nation.