BJA FY 17 National Initiatives Adjudications: Training and Technical Assistance to Support Protection of Constitutional Rights Under the Sixth Amendment

Funding Agency:
Department of Justice

In all criminal prosecutions, defendants have a number of rights that are enumerated under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution: • A speedy and public trial • An impartial jury • To know the nature and cause of the accusations • To confront witnesses against them • To obtain witnesses in their favor • The right to counsel

In particular, the Sixth Amendment has come to be associated principally with the right to counsel because, as the Supreme Court has recognized, the remaining rights depend on effective counsel. See Gideon v. Wainright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963). Over 50 years have passed since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, which guaranteed the right to counsel for indigent defendants in criminal cases in every state. Today, despite the decades that have gone by, the promise of Gideon and the important decisions that have followed recognizing the right to counsel in juvenile and misdemeanor cases have yet to be fully realized. The U.S Department of Justice has long recognized the importance of strong court management and processes and a quality public defense to ensuring a fair justice system. 

The purpose of this training and technical assistance program is to ensure that states and local government are provided with the capacity and tools necessary to meet the obligations established by the Sixth Amendment. BJA, through training and technical assistance (TTA), is providing state and local governments with research-based, data-driven information and resources, to secure the rights of the Sixth Amendment. The proposed approaches will also support pathways for evidence-based best practices to reach courts and defender systems at the state and local levels that support authentic adoption, implementation, and sustainment of effective approaches. To be successful, the strategies proposed must build capacity to collaborate across the criminal justice system in all jurisdictions to be served. Additionally, the applicant should partner with researchers to use the data and research to support the state and local resources sustaining those practices found to be effective. This solicitation also seeks proposed strategies to disseminate information about practices, structures, and models that can be replicated and made available through training, technical assistance, and strategic planning services to courts and defender systems at state and local levels.

  • Duke Internal Deadline: April 24, 2017
  • Sponsor Deadline: May 16, 2017

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Category (1): The goal of the Sixth Amendment Strategic Planning Initiative is to deliver strategic planning services to state and local governments, including their agents such as court leaders and administrators and defender systems, to use data and research to enhance their capacity and assist with efforts to assess, target, and sustain the most critical and effective criminal justice services around upholding the Sixth Amendment rights, including effective public defense services.

Category (2): The goal of the Right to Counsel and Enhancing Defense Training and Technical Assistance Initiative is to assist and build capacity of state and local governments, including their agents such as defender systems, to support the adoption and implementation of targeted strategies to enhance the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel as well as create a platform to disseminate materials and practices around securing Sixth Amendment Rights.

Category (3): The goal of the Sixth Amendment Fellowship is to work with BJA to engage the field in assessing areas of needs and addressing gaps in services to support the goals of the Effective Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2016.

Eligibility Requirements

Categories 1 and 2: Eligible applicants are public or private organizations, nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and for-profit organizations), for-profit organizations, and public universities and colleges (including tribal institutions of higher education). For-profit organizations (as well as other recipients) must forgo any profit or management fee. Eligible nonprofit organizations must be exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and have a 501(c)(3) designation.

Under this solicitation, only one application by any particular applicant entity will be considered. An entity may, however, be proposed as a subrecipient (“subgrantee”) in more than one application.

Category 3: Eligible applicants are limited to individuals, as well as state, tribal, or local government, organizations, or academic institutions seeking to provide federal-level experience for one of its staff members.



Amount Description

BJA expects to make up to three awards with an estimated total amount awarded of up to $3 million:

Category 1: Sixth Amendment Strategic Planning Initiative. BJA expects to make one award under Category 1, for $1 million, for a 36-month performance period, beginning on October 1, 2017.

Category 2: Right to Counsel and Enhancing Defense Training and Technical Assistance Initiative. BJA expects to make one award under Category 2, for $1.5 million, for a 36-month performance period, beginning on October 1, 2017.

Category 3: Sixth Amendment Fellow. BJA expects to make one award under Category 3, for up to $500,000, for a 24-month performance period, beginning on October 1, 2017.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

April 24, 2017

External Deadline

May 16, 2017