Jon Rapping, the former training director for Georgia’s beleaguered statewide public defender program, believes well-trained public defenders are as important as manageable caseloads for improving indigent defense. But faced with the Legislature’s reluctance to spend money on the representation of poor people charged with crimes, he said he’s not waiting for Georgia’s politicians to make training a priority.

Instead he’s created the Southern Public Defender Training Center — the nation’s first regional defender training program — which he’s juggling with a new teaching position at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and a pro bono capital case in New Orleans.