Our Mission & Story

Mission Statement:

ArchCity Defenders (ACD) is a 501(c)3 non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy and combating the criminalization of poverty and state violence against poor people and people of color.  ACD uses direct services, impact litigation, and policy and media advocacy as its primary tools to promote justice, protect civil and human rights, and bring about systemic change on behalf of the poor and communities of color directly impacted by the abuses of the legal system.

 

Our Story:

 

 

Our History:

ArchCity Defenders was started in 2009 with the goal to break the cycle of “revolving door justice” in the St. Louis metropolitan area. We strive to provide holistic criminal and civil legal services to the homeless and working poor in the St. Louis Region.

Early History:

ACD TIMELINE

 

Who We Serve:

Whether they come to us personally, are referred to us by one of our community partners, or are identified by our team in the courts, our clients are the often-overlooked individuals in our criminal justice system. Not eligible for the services of other organizations and still unable to afford private counsel, our clients represent the people who commonly fall through the cracks:

  • The mentally ill and disabled
  • Homeless veterans
  • Recent immigrants
  • Sufferers of substance abuse
  • Survivors of intimate partner violence
  • Families facing eviction
  • And others

ArchCity Defenders fills in this legal services gap by providing free and holistic legal representation to individuals who would otherwise not have access. While, in theory, everyone has the same legal rights, in practice attorneys are required to ensure those rights are administered equally. Gaining an attorney’s assistance is frequently not a problem for people with adequate means, but civil rights are often compromised for those without funds. At ArchCity Defenders, we aim to reverse this denial of basic civil rights by offering legal services to those who cannot otherwise afford them.

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