The New York State Defenders Association, a not-for-profit, membership organization, has been providing support to New York's public defense community since 1967. Its mission is to improve the quality and scope of publicly supported legal representation to low income people.
The Public Defense Backup CenterSince 1981, under contract with the State of New York, NYSDA has operated the Public Defense Backup Center in Albany. This legal support center offers public defense lawyers statewide direct defender assistance and specialized trainings. It also provides education and information to lawyers and county and other government officials, as well as to the public.
The Backup Center works to strengthen the public defense system and to improve the quality of publicly-financed representation. The legal support services provided by the Backup Center to appointed counsel also reduce their research costs, particularly when the attorneys are inexperienced or isolated from colleagues and law library facilities.
Under its contract with the State, NYSDA is required to consult with defense attorneys, the NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services, and others in the justice community on proposed legislation.
The Backup Center also provides technical assistance to counties and public defense programs in the form of services such as the Public Defense Case Management System, updates and explanations regarding state regulations and laws governing public defense, and more.
More details can be found at Our Work and other menu items. Each year, information about NYSDA's work is collected in an Annual Report to the Membership. To contact us or send a request for information or assistance to the Backup Center, click here.