A report released a year ago by the Boston-based Sixth Amendment Center tagged Indiana's public defender system as failing and suggested the state was not meeting its constitutional responsibility to provide counsel to indigent defendants.
“The Indiana Model for providing Sixth Amendment right to counsel services is inherently flawed,” the report concluded. “It both institutionalizes and legitimizes the choice of counties to not fulfill the minimum parameters of effective representation.”
But efforts are under way to address the problems. The Indiana Public Defender Commission tapped Judge John Tinder, who retired from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015, to serve as chairman of a task force established to make recommendations for the public defender system. U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney was initially chosen for the role. He died unexpectedly last month.
Tinder, a former public defender and state and federal prosecutor, is well suited for the important task.