Mourning Charlie O’Brien. It is with the deepest sadness that NYSDA announces the passing of Charlie O'Brien, our long-time Managing Attorney and former Executive Director. NYSDA’s training programs, our Public Defense Case Management System, and the rest of our Backup Center services, owe much of their success to Charlie. Charlie died at home on Mar. 26, 2020, after a long illness. His latest staff bio, which remains in place, only touches on the breadth of Charlie’s work and impact at NYSDA and on the public defense system as a whole.

The obituary for Charlie is here. Charlie will be missed by all those who knew him. His colleagues at NYSDA offer condolences to Charlie’s family and friends, whose struggle with grief is made even more difficult by social distancing requirements.

Working Remotely, Keeping in Touch, Staying on Top of Developments. NYSDA hopes that defenders and all others are able to stay safe and healthy in the current onerous circumstances, with every facet of daily work and life being changed by the COVID-19 outbreak. NYSDA staff works remotely now, striving every day to provide information and encouragement to those in the field and the client community. This means keeping up with breaking news, updating our Coronavirus webpage, sending out and posting News Picks from NYSDA Staff, and responding to requests for assistance received through our contact form, email, or voicemail.

Those who call regarding family defense should specifically ask that their inquiry be forwarded to Family Court Staff Attorney Kim Bode. Kim can also be reached by email at kbode at

Please direct Public Defense Case Management System (PDCMS) inquiries to (518) 465-3524, Option 3, or

NYSDA’s Veterans Defense Program (VDP) can be reached using the contact information available at the VDP program's home page.

Through electronic communication, NYSDA continues to collaborate with a variety of partners on issues ranging from COVID-19 developments to the contents of the State budget.

State Budget Deadline Looms. The Executive, Senate, and Assembly are negotiating the budget more opaquely than ever with the closure of state buildings, bans on public gatherings, and much media focus on immediate, rather than yearlong, effects of what is happening. Through electronic communication, NYSDA continues to advocate for funding to maintain public defense improvement; funding to ensure the safety and rights of the client community over the next 12 months; and of course its own funding. The January budget testimony by Executive Director Susan C. Bryant (written, here, and oral, here, at 13:16:59) and Veterans Defense Program Deputy Director Roy M. Diehl (written, here, and oral, here, at 6:02 to 6:06:40) remain the touchstone, while new realities and concerns must be acknowledged.

Pivoting to Remote CLE Training for the Duration. One need not look at the training calendar to know that a number of long-planned in-person CLE events have been canceled. NYSDA’s training team is exploring the development of web-based CLE training, actively working on a number of presentations that may be available in April. Plans are also underway to make information and learning videos of recent past presentations available to view online, though not for CLE credit. Questions and requests may be directed to Training Manager Megan O’Toole at MOToole at NYSDA will return to live CLE when public health measures allow, while also taking this opportunity to explore the possibility of supplementing our well-received in-person events with remote learning.

NYSDA’s last in-person event, the 34th Annual Metropolitan New York Trainer on March 7th, was very well-received and provided CLE to 215 lawyers.


Calendar more

1/1/2020 » 12/31/2020
For NYSDA Training Programs, see the Statewide PD Training Calendar




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