Breaking News

All New Yorkers Should Have the Right to Equal Justice, Albany Times Union, Feb. 16, 2017

Heastie Unveils Plan to Tackle Criminal Justice Issues in New York, Spectrum News (TWC), Feb. 14, 2017

Legal Aid Society Unveils Hotline to Assist Immigrant Communities Impacted by Recent ICE Raids, Legal Aid News, Feb. 12, 2017

Conflicting Views on a Wider Police Use of DNA, NY Times, Feb. 10, 2017

Trump’s “Law and Order” Executive Orders, Explained, Vox, Feb. 9, 2017


NYSDA Seeks Funding, Supports Justice Equality Act. Executive Director Jonathan E. Gradess testified at a state budget hearing on Jan. 31, 2017, asking the Legislature for the funding necessary for NYSDA's many services to public defense providers across the state and for re-passage of the Justice Equality Act. His written testimony is available here. Gradess stressed the need for independence of the defense function, which would be compromised by a proposal in the Executive Budget to replace the Justice Equality Act with state reimbursement of only the costs of statewide implementation of the Hurrell-Harring settlement provisions and would require the Division of the Budget to approve the implementation plans. The Justice Equality Act, unanimously passed last June, would require full state reimbursement of localities' public defense costs, and has been reintroduced in the Assembly (A.1903). Supporters of the Justice Equality movement continue to decry the veto and call for the Act's passage. Many editorials, op-eds, and articles from around the state addressed the veto, most critically.

Gradess was joined on the panel at the budget hearing by Art Cody, Deputy Director of NYSDA's Veterans Defense Program (VDP), who spoke about the unique needs of justice-involved veterans and the VDP's work to address them. Cody received the National Four Chaplains Humanitarian Award from the NYS Council of Veteran Organizations last year, and VDP Director Gary Horton received the first-ever National Alliance on Mental Illness – NYS Criminal Justice Award. For more information on NYSDA's work on behalf of veterans, see the new VDP brochure.

As Gradess Honors Accumulate, Search for Successor Continues. The most recent honor awarded to Executive Director Gradess, who is retiring later this year, is a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him at the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Foundation Annual Dinner on Jan. 26, 2017. View other honors at Accomplishments & Awards. A search for Gradess's successor is underway.


Successful Families Matter Conference. The Families Matter: Parent Defense in New York conference held on October 14-15, 2016 in Albany drew nearly 170 participants and received high evaluation marks. Materials from the conference are available by contacting Family Court Staff Attorney Lucy McCarthy at the Backup Center. 518-465-3524. While the conference is over, NYSDA continues to provide backup services to public defense lawyers working in Family Court. Find other materials at Family Defense Resources here on the webpage, and for direct defender services, contact Lucy as noted above.




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