Veterans Defense Program New Report: NYSDA’s Veterans Defense Program released its first Activities Report in November summarizing 18 months of activities and accomplishments. Since the Spring of 2014, the VDP has assisted or trained nearly 1,000 veterans and public defenders representing veterans in criminal court and family court systems, including legal assistance for over 100 veteran cases; comprehensive training for 600 lawyers defending veterans; and expert referrals and information for over 150 veterans.
First Parent Defense Conference Held: Almost 200 public defense attorneys attended the state’s first conference on parent defense representation in Albany on November 13th and 14th, Because All Families Matter: Enhancing Parental Defense in New York, featuring Marty Guggenheim, NYU School of Law Family Defense Clinic Co-Director. Sponsored by NYSDA, Office of Indigent Legal Services and NYSUCS Child Welfare Court Improvement Project, the event received great reviews, such as “wonderful and helpful,” “powerful,” and “excellent and much needed for the family defense community.” .
New Defender Standards: Check out the new state Standards for Parental Representation in State Intervention Matters. “These impressive standards, as well as ILS’s earlier standards, will ultimately transform all representation within indigent defense throughout the state. I see the tide changing and it is because of ILS’s dedicated work, as well as NYSDA and the Chief Defenders Association of New York. Working together, this unwieldy system can and will be righted,” said Cattaraugus County Public Defender Mark Williams.
Statewide Eligibility Standards: After a series of public hearings, the Office of Indigent Legal Services is working on finalizing 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.