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: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

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

  • Meanwhile, back in Arkansas

    Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin got some glowing coverage in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for arranging an award from the national association of secretaries of state for the Little Rock Nine and their brave desegregation of Central High School 60 years ago.
    • Feb 22, 2018
  • Billy Graham and Little Rock, a crusade to remember at a difficult time

    A Billy Graham video remembers a momentous crusade he held in Little Rock, integrated despite the wishes of hardened segregationists. Bill Clinton said it was a watershed for the state.
    • Feb 21, 2018
  • Over the hump open line

    An open line for a fairly busy day. Crooks and liars and the ever popular Babe Bracket discussed on the daily video news roundup.
    • Feb 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

 

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