This year’s conference includes a special focus on Racial Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion Programming. Workshops that will address this overarching theme include [RJ] after the session title.
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Thursday, November 1 • 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Innovative Public Defense in America

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I served for a time as the deputy director for the ABA Center for Innovation. What I saw—including artificial intelligence and the law, blockchain technology, and data analytics—blew me away. But I compared it constantly to the sorry state of innovation in public defense. My former office did not have enough phones for every attorney. We used outdated versions of Word Perfect to draft briefs. And we used MS-DOS to look up criminal histories. TIDC has embarked on an exploration of the most innovative indigent defense techniques in the United States. From low-tech solutions like the humble checklist and advanced mentoring programs, to SMS technology, Q&A markup, and expert systems, we explore where public defense is today and where it might be going. Most of all, this is a clarion call. The call for innovation is not driven by a search for what's cool, but a search for better tools—ways to make public defense more effective and efficient.


Geoff Burkhart

Executive Director, Texas Indigent Defense Commission
Mr. Burkhart comes to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission from the American Bar Association (ABA), where he served as the first deputy director and counsel to the ABA Center for Innovation. He also helped lead the ABA’s indigent defense reform efforts as project director and counsel... Read More →

Scott Ehlers

Special Counsel, Texas Indigent Defense Commission

Morgan Shell

Policy Analyst, Texas Indigent Defense Commission
Morgan Shell joined TIDC as a policy analyst in 2017. She is responsible for providing consultative services and technical assistance to jurisdictions through the review of county systems to promote local compliance with the Texas Fair Defense Act. She earned her J.D. from Texas Tech... Read More →

Thursday November 1, 2018 2:15pm - 3:45pm CDT
Post Oak Westin Galleria, 3rd Level