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#701341 --- 12/03/07 10:01 PM Re: Schuyler Legal System Gets Failing Grade [Re: VM Smith]
AbuDhabi Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 6474
Loc: Doha, Qatar
Originally Posted By: VM Smith
The reward possibilities are endless,

...a carton of Luckies...

but whatever, all those low MPG pickups would actually be being used for a patriotic purpose, instead of driving around with an empty bed, or containing the occasional jacked deer.

They need those trucks to shift the double-wides around when the river rises.
"I have no known mental disorder ." -CCT

#1162198 --- 03/21/10 11:37 AM Re: Schuyler Legal System Gets Failing Grade [Re: newsman38]
newsman38 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 4947
Loc: Fourth Estate
Key New York Suit Calls Public Defender Programs Inadequate

A class-action suit to be argued next week in New York’s highest court has become a test of a national strategy by civil liberties groups to challenge what they say are failed public defender programs in many states.

Next Tuesday, the Court of Appeals is to consider whether the suit can proceed. A half-dozen friend-of-the-court briefs portray the scheduled argument as a critical step in defining the meaning of a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in 1963. The decision, Gideon v. Wainwright, declared that the Constitution required states to provide lawyers for indigent defendants.

The New York class-action suit was filed in the name of a Rochester woman, Kimberly Hurell-Harring, and 19 other people who were facing criminal charges in five counties: Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington. The question before the Court of Appeals is whether the class action presents an issue that the courts can consider.

The civil liberties case has placed New York officials in the awkward position of defending a $400 million locally financed system that a 2006 commission said did not provide effective representation to “a large portion of those entitled to it.”

Law enforcement officials are divided over the case, with arguments on each side filed by groups of former and current New York prosecutors. Some prosecutors say the case overstates the problems with public defender programs. In some areas, the system is “working well and protecting every right,” said Kathleen B. Hogan, the president of the State District Attorneys Association.

But Corey Stoughton of the Civil Liberties Union, the lead lawyer in the case, said defense programs were chronically starved of money for decades because officials in every branch of government never made the adequate representation of indigents a political priority.

Because of the poor quality of representation, innocent people are convicted and defendants routinely face pressure to plead guilty, Ms. Stoughton said.

“The case-by-case method fails,” she said. “The political method fails. For decades, the State of New York has been on notice that the public defense system is in crisis and fails to meet basic constitutional responsibilities.”

Published: March 15, 2010
New York Times

#1178962 --- 05/07/10 10:42 AM Re: Schuyler Legal System Gets Failing Grade [Re: newsman38]
newsman38 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 4947
Loc: Fourth Estate
In 4-3 vote New York State's highest court says indigent defense lawsuit can go forward

New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled 4-3 yesterday in Hurrell-Harring v State of New York, that a lawsuit against the state, which is seeking a declaration that the state's system of legal defense for poor people is broken, can go forward. The Court of Appeals' decision overturned a lower court that had voted 3-2 to dismiss the case.

While Judge Lippman acknowledged that the state's arguments had some merit, in the end he believed that the plaintiffs had made a strong case for their lawsuit going forward. Said Lipmann, "While it is defendants' position, and was evidently that of the Appellate Division majority, that the complaint contains only performance-based claims for ineffective assistance, our examination of the pleading leads us to a different conclusion. "

Then Lippman summarized the plaintiffs' complaints about ineffective counsel:

"According to the complaint, ten of the 20 plaintiffs — two from Washington, two from Onondaga, two from Ontario and four from Schuyler County — were altogether without representation at the arraignments held in their underlying criminal proceedings. Eight of these unrepresented plaintiffs were jailed after bail had been set in amounts they could not afford. It is alleged that the experience of these plaintiffs is illustrative of what is a fairly common practice in the aforementioned counties of arraigning defendants without counsel and leaving them, particularly when accused of relatively low level offenses, unrepresented in subsequent proceedings where pleas are taken and other critically important legal transactions take place. One of these plaintiffs remained unrepresented for some five months and it is alleged that the absence of clear and uniform guidelines reasonably related to need has commonly resulted in denials of representation to indigent defendants based on the subjective judgments of individual jurists."

"In addition to the foregoing allegations of outright non-representation, the complaint contains allegations to the effect that although lawyers were eventually nominally appointed for plaintiffs, they were unavailable to their clients — that they conferred with them little, if at all, were often completely unresponsive to their urgent inquiries and requests from jail, sometimes for months on end, waived important rights without consulting them, and ultimately appeared to do little more on their behalf than act as conduits for plea offers, some of which purportedly were highly unfavorable. It is repeatedly alleged that counsel missed court appearances, and that when they did appear they were not prepared to proceed, often because they were entirely new to the case, the matters having previously been handled by other similarly unprepared counse. There are also allegations that the counsel appointed for at least one of the plaintiffs was seriously conflicted and thus unqualified to undertake the representation."

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May 7, 8:04
Daniel Weaver

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