Public Defense Lawyers Recognized for Achievements, Passion for Justice.
For her tireless work helping ensure that immigration consequences for clients are addressed in public defense cases across the state, Joanne Macri
received NYSDA's Wilfred R. O'Connor Award. Macri is currently Director of Regional Initiatives for the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services; she was lauded for her excellent and passionate work in a variety of settings, from direct client representation and assisting other attorneys to training and policy development.
Also presented at the conference was the Kevin M. Andersen Award; it recognizes public defense attorneys who exemplify the sense of justice, determination, and compassion that were the hallmarks of its late namesake from the Genesee County Public Defender Office. The 2016 award went to Scott Levy
, Director of The Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness Project.
A Year's Worth of CLE, Relevant and Well-Presented.
Hundreds of public defense lawyers received up to 12 mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) credits over two days on subjects relevant to their practices on July 25-26. They heard appellate court updates, information on working with – or challenging – pathologists providing testimony in gunshot cases; ethical and constitutional issues, as well as tactics, in plea bargaining; representing juveniles in criminal court; new tactics for overcoming prosecution non-compliance with Brady; and asserting clients' rights to addiction medication. That last topic featured materials from The Legal Action Center, available here
NYSDA Board Endorses ILS Eligibility Criteria and Procedures and State Funding of Public Defense Including Compliance with All ILS standards. The Board of Directors
passed two resolutions recently. One, passed on April 29, 2016
, endorses the criteria and standards for determining eligibility when individuals apply for public defense representation; those standards
were issued by the NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS) on April 4 after well-documented
work by ILS to determine current practices, best practices, and needed reforms. The NYSDA Board found that implementation of the new eligibility standards "will improve the fairness and efficiency of eligibility determinations across the state, benefitting potential public defense clients, the judiciary, and justice[.]"
The second NYSDA Board resolution, passed on May 2, 2016
, "supports the timely implementation of the State's responsibility" to fully fund county public defense programs including costs incurred by complying with ILS standards. All existing ILS standards, including the eligibility standards and the standards for trial level
representation, and representation of parents in Family Court
, can be found on the ILS website.
Justice-Involved Veterans Report:
Learn about NYSDA’s Veterans Defense Program
(VDP) which has assisted or trained nearly 1,000 veterans and public defenders representing veterans, by viewing the VDP Activities Report
Save the Dates! Oct. 14-15, 2016: Families Matter Conference.
Planning for the 2nd annual statewide conference for public defense attorneys providing parent representation in Family Court is well underway. As part of its Family Defense
work, NYSDA is again co-sponsoring this major program to enhance the defense of people threatened with the loss of their parental right to raise their children. Make your Oct. 14 hotel reservation at this Albany Hilton event by calling 866-691-1183 with the conference code 1DEFEN. Cosponsors include the Indigent Legal Services Office
and NYS Unified Court System Child Welfare Court Improvement Project