New York settles lawsuit on inadequate public defenders | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New York settles lawsuit on inadequate public defenders

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 6:15 AM

The state of New York has settled an ACLU lawsuit over an inadequate system of public defenders in a multi-million-dollar agreement.

The settlement, announced Tuesday, arises from a lawsuit filed 7 1/2 years ago by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Last month, an NYCLU report linked to the lawsuit detailed how poor defendants across the state are often shuffled through the court system with little to no legal representation. This results in defendants waiting in jail for months before reaching a plea bargain or going to trial.

During that time, they can lose their homes, their jobs and, in some cases, are behind bars when family members die.

Tuesday’s settlement ensures that public defenders and their clients are in more regular communication both inside and outside the court. It also promotes the use of expert witnesses and investigators by public defenders.

In addition, the settlement increases the eligibility for public defense. Previously, some counties set minimum-income thresholds that were so drastically low that even a single mother in Washington County earning just over $10,000 a year, for example, was denied public legal counsel.


This news came the day I happened to mention discussions underway in Arkansas about the potential for a civil rights lawsuit in Arkansas over the inadequate public defender system and legislative discussion of a budget proposal for the Public Defenders Commission that, while providing a substantial increase in staff, still likely falls short of meeting needs.


Tags: , , ,


Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Moving deck chairs

    Governor Hutchinson has promised to soon reveal his ideas for "transforming government" — a reorganization aimed at reducing the number of departments that report to the governor.
    • Sep 20, 2018
  • Ascent closing three centers for children

    Ascent Children's Health Services is closing facilities in Arkadelphia, North Little Rock and West Memphis that provide Medicaid-covered early intervention day treatment and outpatient behavioral health services to about 400 children. Other providers will be sought, though Clark County at the moment has no early intervention program.
    • Sep 19, 2018
  • Trump: 'I don't have an attorney general'

    Donald Trump went off on Jeff Sessions in an interview today. Sounds like the attorney general is on a short rope.
    • Sep 19, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • In the Ozarks: A look at an African-American monastic community

    KUAF's Jacqueline Froelich takes a look at a monastic community in remote Marion County, the Purple People.
    • Feb 27, 2018
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation