Legislative Platform 2023-24

A legislative platform for PACDL serves as a vital tool to advocate for the interests and rights of criminal defense attorneys and the broader criminal justice system. Its purpose is to articulate the association's stance on key legislative issues, propose policy changes, and influence lawmakers in order to ensure a fair and just criminal justice system. 

Purposes of the Legislative Platform:

Advocate for Justice: The legislative platform's primary purpose is to advocate for a fair, equitable, and balanced criminal justice system. It emphasizes the importance of due process, protection of individual rights, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Reform and Improvement: The platform highlights the need for legislative reforms to address systemic issues within the criminal justice system, such as over-policing, racial disparities, mandatory minimum sentencing, and inadequate access to legal representation.

Protect Legal Professionals: The platform stresses the importance of legislative measures that safeguard the rights and interests of criminal defense attorneys, ensuring they can provide effective representation to their clients without undue interference or intimidation.

Promote Accountability: PACDL's platform advocates for transparency, accountability, and oversight in law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system. 

Support for Defendants: Of particular relevance is its focus on legislation that promotes alternatives to incarceration, mental health and drug addiction treatment, and diversion programs for non-violent offenders. It further advocates for reforms that help rehabilitate individuals rather than perpetuating a cycle of incarceration.

Current Platform

In 2018, PACDL adopted its inaugural legislative platform and continues to expand its platform. The most recent copy of the platform can be reviewed at this link

PACDL soliciits platform proposals beginnng in December every year.  
If you want to submit a proposal, please suibmit a few pararaphs to PACDL outlining a suggested proposal and the supporting rationale. Click this link to access the submission form.

PACDL has a platform process that begins with soliciting its membership for proposals.  Those suggestions are then submitted to the Platform Committee for its review.  Beginning in January, the Committee considers those suggestions and drafts amendments, if appropriate, to the platform. The Platform will is brought before the Board of Directors at its February meeting and then presented at the Annual Meeting of Members in Harrisburg.

The members of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL) direct the association’s legislative efforts. Accordingly, PACDL solicits and relies on its membership to develop proposals that are designed to: eliminate inequities based on policy or public law; express opposition or support for a policy, program or proposed legislation; or recommend changes to a state or federal policy, program or public law that would enhance the practice of criminal defense.  Your platform represents the policy blueprint for PACDL's advocacy efforts.