NYSDA 2016 Budget Testimony Highlights Bill for State Reimbursement of Public Defense, Other Funding Needs. In written and oral testimony at a joint legislative hearing on the FY 2016-2017 State Budget, NYSDA Executive Director Jonathan E. Gradess asked for passage of A.6202-B/S.6341, which would incrementally lead to State reimbursement of all county public defense expenditures within four years, providing mandate relief and maintaining momentum toward full public defense reform. He also testified in support of funding for NYSDA’s Backup Center and Veterans Defense Program (VDP), for the Indigent Legal Service Office (ILS), and other public defense needs.
VDP Report: NYSDA’s Veterans Defense Program released its first Activities Report in November summarizing 18 months of activities and accomplishments. Since spring 2014, VDP has assisted or trained nearly 1,000 veterans and public defenders representing veterans in criminal court and family court systems.
Improving Representation in Family Court: NYSDA works to improve the quality of mandated representation provided to parents and others in Family Court. Almost 200 public defense attorneys attended the state’s first conference on parent defense representation, “Because All Families Matter: Enhancing Parental Defense in New York,” co-sponsored by NYSDA, the Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS), and NYSUCS Child Welfare Court Improvement Project. ILS has issued new state Standards for Parental Representation in State Intervention Matters; members of NYSDA’s staff were on the Working Group that helped draft the standards.
Statewide Eligibility Standards: ILS is also working to finalize the state’s first-ever statewide standards on eligibility for public defense prospective clients. Executive Director Jonathan E. Gradess submitted NYSDA testimony on this important justice issue at ILS hearings last summer.
Breaking News and Updates
NYCLU Praises Budget for Funding Public Defense in Five Counties, Calls for Statewide Reform, NYCLU News, Feb. 4, 2016
Record Number of False Convictions Overturned in 2015, NY Times, Feb. 3, 2016
Changes in New York's Wade Hearing, NYLJ, Feb. 1, 2016
Nassau Dems Urge State to Raise Age for Prosecution as Adults, Newsday, Feb. 1, 2016
Indigent Legal Services – Representation for All and Mandate Relief as Well, Albany Times Union, Jan. 30, 2016
Did the Man I Sentenced to 18 Years Deserve It?, NY Times, Jan. 23, 2016