Breaking News

How Reliable Are DWI Blood Test Results? Well, It Depends . . ., NY Crim. Def. Blog, July 2, 2018

Indiana Court: Cops May Not Pull Someone Over for Appearing to Speed, The Newspaper, June 29, 2018

NYC Legal Aid Society Says City Should Provide More Funding for Pay Raises, NYLJ, June 29, 2018

Jurors and Support Dogs, Juries, June 28, 2018

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Increase Protections for Immigrant Children in New York State, OCFS News Articles, June 27, 2018


NYSDA's 51st Annual Meeting & Conference


Families Matter: More than 200 practitioners gathered at the third statewide family defender conference, Families Matter, on April 20 and 21 in Albany to hear and learn from the Honorable Karen Peters, former state Supreme Court Justice, Marty Guggenheim, NYU Professor of Clinical Law, and many family defenders, among others. The topics addressed and approaches taken by the presenters reflected significant collaboration between upstate and downstate practitioners, to the benefit of all attending. Participants praised the “excellent presentations,” and “inspirational speakers.” The successful event was cosponsored by NYSDA, NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS), Albany Law School, and the NYS Unified Court System Child Welfare Court Improvement Project.

New Veterans Defense Program 2017 Annual Report: In 2017, the VDP provided legal assistance to 228 justice-involved veterans, trained 577 public defense attorneys representing veterans in the state’s criminal court system, and provided mentoring to 203 veterans and their families. In many of the cases, veteran clients received treatment and probation, and avoided incarceration. Specifically, in 2017 and 2016, the VDP helped justice-involved veterans avoid a maximum total of 518 years of incarceration with a cost saving to the State of up to $31 million. 


Justice Equality in State Budget: The State provided local public defense programs with $50 million in funds for quality improvements—the first allocation in a 6-year phased in plan estimated to total $250 million. The funding resulted from a 2017 reform which ensured all counties receive state support equal to what the five counties received under the Hurrell-Harring v State of New York settlement. NYSDA's budget testimony, available here, discussed the expansion, stating, “By expanding to all counties the settlement conditions of the H-H lawsuit …, the State took a huge step in 2017 toward justice equality. NYSDA stands both eager and qualified to help counties, public defense programs and lawyers, and … ILS to comply with the training, data collection, and other requirements of last year’s legislation.”

Criminal Justice Reform: Unfortunately, the approved budget did not include any criminal justice reform provisions. Governor Andrew Cuomo had proposed legislation in his 2018-2019 Executive Budget following up on his 2018 State of the State address and press release to address cash bail, discovery and speedy trial. Post budget, many criminal justice and public defender groups are continuing to push for pretrial justice reform.

NYSDA 50th Anniversary Donations: In tribute to NYSDA’s former Executive Director, the Board of Directors created the Jonathan E. Gradess Peace & Justice Fund. You can honor Jonathan’s accomplishments and support NYSDA during our 50th Anniversary year by becoming a Justice Donor. Please support our innovative work at

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1/1/2018 » 12/31/2018
For NYSDA Training Programs, see the Statewide PD Training Calendar




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