WHEREAS, during recent years we have been experiencing an increased attack on the sixth amendment right to counsel for all our citizens, including the slashing of defender budgets, defunding of backup centers and a move to "bid out" indigent defense services without adequate regard to the effect such actions have on the quality of indigent defense; and
WHEREAS, New York's mayor Rudolph Giuliani has embarked on a clear mission to destroy the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys of the City of New York (Union), the union representing Legal Aid lawyers and historically an organization committed to providing quality indigent defense to indigent clients represented by its members; and
WHEREAS, Giuliani, as well, has mounted an attack on the Legal Aid Society itself, and the indigent clients it represents, by slashing Legal Aid's budget and "bidding out" a significant portion of the representation of indigent criminal defendants to alternative defense agencies; and
WHEREAS, despite the best intentions of some of the alternative agencies and the skill, dedication and talent of their staff, Giuliani's actions are and will have a seriously detrimental effect on the quality of defense service provided to indigent defendants in New York; and
WHEREAS, indigent defendants will best be served by being provided representation by a central, adequately funded, fiscally responsible defense provider, with managable caseloads, and the Legal Aid Society and its unions have evidenced a historical and present commitment to be that provider;
THEREFORE, NACDL supports the Legal Aid Society and its unions in reversing Mayor Giuliani's attacks and reaffirm our long-held position that indigent defendants are entitled to the highest quality legal defense that our society can provide.