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Department Of Justice To Focus On Indigent Defense

For the first time in ten years, the Department of Justice is hosting a conference on indigent defense, NPR justice correspondent Ari Shapiro reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder said there is a crisis in the system that provides lawyers for poor defendants.

"The prosecutor and the defense can and must share the same objective," Holder said. "Not victory, but justice."

According to Shapiro, indigent defense has not been a Department of Justice priority in the last decade. That has changed, Holder said, adding that he has instructed the entire Department to focus on indigent defense with a sense of urgency and commitment.