Breaking News

Board of Parole Proposed Amendments to Regulations on Standard Conditions and Revocation Guidelines, NYS Board of Parole, January 30, 2019

Prisons Across the U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases of Incarcerated People's Voice Prints, The Intercept, January 30, 2019

The Courthouse Trap: How ICE Operations Impacted New York's Courts in 2019, Immigrant Defense Project, January 2019

Mentally Ill Prisoners Are Held Past Release Dates, Lawsuit Claims, New York Times, January 23, 2019

Coming Soon to a Police Station Near You: The DNA 'Magic Box'", New York Times, January 21, 2019


NYSDA is Hiring!

Death of Ken Strutin. With deep sorrow, NYSDA has announced the death of Ken Strutin, our Director of Legal Information Services. We recognize the continuing void that Ken’s death leaves here and in the lives of his family, friends, and colleagues outside our Association. Ken's contribution to our work has been incalculable, his assistance to and education of lawyers across the state immeasurable, and his concern for and efforts to help people in prison fighting for their legal rights inestimable.

NYSDA’s Budget Testimony Calls for Funding and Reform. NYSDA’s budget testimony presented on January 29 notes that both the Executive Budget and bills introduced in the Legislature address needed reforms in the areas of discovery, bail, and speedy trial. Keeping in mind that "details matter," NYSDA looks forward to working with the Legislature and the Executive to achieve just and lasting reforms. As to funding, NYSDA seeks restoration by the Legislature of amounts that would restore the Backup Center's budget to the level maintained for the past several years, and calls for additional funding to institute additional programing. Specifically, NYSDA wants to institute additional Social Worker/Sentencing Mitigation Training & Recruitment Assistance and Raise the Age Training. NYSDA also supports legislative funding to cover omitted or reduced amounts in the Executive budget for several public defense programs including Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York and the Indigent Legal Services Office (ILS). The testimony highlights the ILS request for a $3 million appropriation to fund an RFP for Parent Representation Caseload Relief and Quality Improvement; this is desperately needed to support public defense in Family Court while awaiting recommendations for reform by the Chief Judge’s Commission on Parental Legal Representation. NYSDA also asked the Legislature to increase the statutory rates for assigned counsel in a manner that provides for cost of living increases without further legislative action.

Funding Sought to Maintain and Expand VDP. Because state funding for NYSDA’s Veterans Defense Program (VDP) does not come from the Public Protection budget, VDP offered separate budget testimony, at the Human Services hearing on January 24. As the testimony notes, “VDP has assisted hundreds of justice-involved veterans and trained hundreds of public defense attorneys representing veterans in New York State’s criminal and family court systems at county-level trainings and intensive point-person regional trainings. NYSDA seeks renewal of VDP funding plus a strategic budget expansion for additional staffing for upstate New York and a Legal Practice Manual on Defending Veterans in Criminal Courts.


CLE: Providing Relevant, Affordable, and Convenient Training. The first week in January brought NYSDA's first Continuing Legal Education event of the year: "Best Practices in Early Entry Representation," co-sponsored with the Schoharie County Assigned Counsel Plan. Watch for announcements of other regional CLE programs, including the 33rd Annual New York Metropolitan Trainer, to be held at NYU Law School on March 9. Check the NY Statewide Public Defense Training Calendar for upcoming CLE programs, from both NYSDA and others.

Jay Coleman's Current Struggles, and Contributions, Chronicled. A New Year's article by Paul Grodhahl in the Albany Times Union describes the current battle with cancer that Jay Coleman, Chair of NYSDA's Client Advisory Board, faces. It describes some of Jay's work as the founding mentor of the prisoner pre-entry mentoring program, and the current outpouring of support for him and his family, including a GoFundMe appeal. Before his illness, Jay received a number of awards recognizing his achievements, including Citizens Against Recidivism Inc.'s Eddie Ellis Life Time Achievement Award in 2010 and a Client Contribution Award from TimeBanks USA and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association Client Policy Group in 2015.

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