Rachel Rossi (JD '09) Delivers Address for Ghana Legal Aid Commission
Pepperdine Caruso Law alumna Rachel Rossi (JD '09) delivered an address at the launch event for the Public Defenders Division of the Ghana Legal Aid Commission. Rossi is the director of the United States Department of Justice Office for Access to Justice. The public defenders will represent indigent criminal offenders in court, including juveniles, those in remand prisons, and persons with disabilities. The launch of the division was made in collaboration with the United States embassy in Ghana.
From Asaase Radio:
Rachel Rossi, the Director, Office for Access to Justice, United States Department of Justice, in her remarks, acknowledged that public defenders in the United States just like any other country in the world have challenges.
However, she noted that there are lessons she can share about how the United States is addressing public defence challenges. The first lesson she said “is the importance of using government and leadership platforms to highlight and visibly support the vital role of public defenders in defending human rights, supporting the rule of law and ensuring the integrity of justice systems”.
The second lesson according to Ms Rossi, “is to elevate the voices of public defenders as part of the effort to develop longer term and system wide reforms to make our societies more just and fairer, and to create opportunities for information-sharing and collaboration to life up best practices”.
The third and final lesson, the Director, Office for Access to Justice, United States Department of Justice, said is to employ a whole of government and a people-centered approach to advancing access to justice.
“We’ve learned that access to justice cannot be accomplished by the courts or the justice system alone.
"Other sectors of society, including leaders in health, food security, housing and more, hold the expertise required to meet the underlying needs and resource gaps that can contribute to access to justice needs in the in the criminal legal system.
"By aligning goals, budgets, and resources, there can be important dividends and impactful holistic results,” Ms Rachel Rossi stated.
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