The event features live music by the band J. Smith, food, drinks, and dancing. The food includes wood-fired pizzas from a local food truck service. Proceeds from the event will be used to replenish UACDL’s Gideon Scholarship Fund which provides training to criminal defense lawyers throughout the State of Utah. Typically, contract attorneys who represent indigent criminal defendants are paid paltry sums to defend their clients and are given no funding for Continuing Legal Education. UACDL seeks to provide funds to deserving criminal defense lawyers to increase their skills and to keep up on the latest developments in the law.
In addition, UACDL hopes to expand its legislative and policymaking efforts to protect fundamental constitutional rights and to reform the criminal justice system. UACDL relies on volunteers to lobby the Utah Legislature and to monitor criminal justice policymaking bodies. These efforts have yielded major advancements at the 2015 Legislature with the adoption of a major reform package that relies on research-based strategies instead of punitive measures to respond to crime. In addition, UACDL is actively participating in a study that will hopefully transform Utah’s indigent defense system. Additional financial resources would accelerate UACDL’s reform efforts.