Concerts for Indigent Defense is musicians and their communities standing together in support of the Constitutional right of all Americans to be represented by a lawyer when accused of a crime – even if one is too poor to hire one. Concerts for Indigent Defense are not fundraisers; they are awareness-raisers, about a cherished Constitutional right that is badly neglected every day across America.
New Orleans will kick off this annual effort on Saturday, March 18, 2017, to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the fundamental constitutional right to counsel. This year’s featured Concert for Indigent Defense will be simulcast across the country on www.ConcertsforIndigentDefense.org at 5p.m. central time.
Musicians, national legal organizations, and a range of supporters have already pledged their support for the nationwide effort, which will be presented in 2018 as a follow-up to Concerts for Indigent Defense: New Orleans.
Why New Orleans?
New Orleans has historically had the highest incarceration rate of any city in America; New Orleans has more poverty than almost any other city in America; and New Orleans’ failure to respect this Constitutional right is as egregious as anywhere else in America. When one also considers New Orleans’ music community, culture and history, it was natural for Concerts for Indigent Defense to start here….
Concerts for Indigent Defense unites all us in respect for the Constitution. It welcomes us all to come together, to call for – and actually create – respect for this constitutional right. Because if the criminal process starts with disrespect for the Constitution, what can we say about criminal justice in America?
We welcome everyone who’d like to be a part of this effort, this year and beyond. Just drop me a line at Stephen@ConcertsforIndigentDefense.org.