Breaking News

County Officials Worry Indigent Defense Eligibility, DA Salary Increases Could Cause Financial Stress, Watertown Daily News, April 21, 2016
Publicly Funded Defense Eligibility Increases in Cayuga County, Becomes Uniform Across State, The Citizen, April 18, 2016
Steuben Mulls Public Defense Costs, The Leader, April 14, 2016
Right to an Attorney? Not Always in Some States, Stateline, April 11, 2016
Money for Future Indigent Defense in St. Lawrence County Not in State Budget, But Bill in the Works, North Country Now, April 10, 2016
Counties Seek State Reimbursement for Public Defense Costs, The Post Star, April 8, 2016


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.

State Budget Lacks Public Defense Reform Component. NYSDA’s Public Defense Backup Center, from which much of Our Work emanates, and NYSDA’s Veterans Defense Program, were both included in the final 2016-2017 state budget at last year’s levels, but statewide public defense funding reform was not. Read more about the budget in the Jan.- April 2016 issue of the Backup Center REPORT. Executive Director Jonathan E. Gradess’s February budget testimony can be read here.

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 (PDF).


ILS Issues Assigned Counsel Eligibility Procedures. New standards for determining the eligibility of individuals seeking mandated legal representation were released by the NYS Indigent Legal Services Office (ILS) and are available here with extensive documentation about their creation on the ILS website. The first standard states succinctly that people who lack resources to pay for a qualified lawyer, release on bond, the expenses of a competent defense, and reasonable living expenses shall be eligible for public defense representation. A list of factors that make applicants “presumptively eligible” for public defense includes incarceration and eligibility for needs-based public assistance. Resources of a third party, including a spouse, or parent of a minor, do not make an applicant ineligible. NYSDA congratulates ILS on the new Criteria and Procedures, and was pleased to assist in their creation.




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