Breaking News

Don't Attack Lawyers Who Defend Criminals, USA Today, Oct. 12, 2016

Solitary Confinement Ends for 21 and Under in New York City Jail System, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 11, 2016

Why ‘Public Defender’ Has Become an Oxymoron, Philadelphia Citizen, Oct. 10, 2016

Another Voice: State Should Be Paying for the Costs of Public Defense, Buffalo News, Oct. 8, 2016

Getting a Free Onondaga Co. Criminal Lawyer Is Now Much Easier for Thousands,, Oct. 5, 2016

Judge Sets Limits on Suffolk’s Jailing of Traffic Law Violators, Newsday, Sept. 28, 2016



Governor Cuomo Urged to Sign Legislation for Public Defense Reform and Mandate Relief. Two legislators recently co-authored a Times Union op-ed supporting their bipartisan legislation requiring the State to reimburse counties for public defense services costs; the bill has yet to go to the Governor. The legislators, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and Senator John A. DeFrancisco, received NYSDA's 2016 Service of Justice Award for the reform measure, along with Stephen Button, County Attorney and former Public Defender in St. Lawrence County, who has worked hard for the bill's passage. His county legislature recently passed a resolution calling on the Governor to sign the bill, and counties, editorial boards, and organizations across the state continue to support it. NYSDA has advocated for the legislation since its inception, including in testimony during State budget hearings and a news release lauding its passage.

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.

Along with the awards above, also presented at this year's Annual 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.


Families Matter: Parent Defense in New York. The Families Matter: Parent Defense in New York conference will be held on October 14-15, 2016 at the Albany Hilton. For more information, see the conference brochure and registration form. Hotel reservations for October 14 can be made for by calling 866-691-1183; the conference code is 1DEFEN (room availability and special rate are guaranteed until September 14). This is the second statewide conference for public defense attorneys representing parents in Family Court. NYSDA, as part of its Family Defense work, is again co-sponsoring this training program to enhance the defense of people threatened with losing their parental right to raise their children. Cosponsors include the Indigent Legal Services Office and NYS Unified Court System Child Welfare Court Improvement Project. The event is being held at the Albany Hilton.

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).

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