Washington, DC (March 1, 2010) – The Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York issued a request for proposals in February, with a short March 15, 2010, deadline, that contemplates a sudden and severe change abolishing the role of appointed assigned counsel in the City’s indigent defense delivery system. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), through its indigent defense project, is concerned that without adequate study, consultation and public hearings, such a significant disruption in the manner by which indigent defense counsel is provided in the City of New York may contribute to, rather than ameliorate, a system already at the breaking point.
At its quarterly meeting last week, NACDL’s Board of Directors passed a resolution opposing any swift change to the city’s current, balanced indigent defense system and urged studies, consultations, and hearings on any such proposed changes. The board resolution points out that in connection with any proposed change to the current system, it is critical to examine matters such as excessive caseloads, compensation, protection against conflicts of interest, training for lawyers and proper oversight.
“Any significant change to the indigent defense system in the City of New York, particularly one as radical as that now being contemplated by Mayor Bloomberg’s office, should come only after careful study, consultation and hearings,” explained William P. Wolf, a Cook County Assistant Public Defender in Chicago and co-chair of NACDL’s Indigent Defense Committee. “This is about much more than a budget line item in a challenging economic environment. What’s at stake are the well-established constitutional rights of the rapidly growing ranks of poor persons and the unambiguous constitutional responsibility of New York to ensure that indigent persons accused of a crime enjoy their Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel. It is critical to acknowledge that increasing defender caseloads will lead to overworked lawyers and increased risk of conviction for the innocent, a cost that society cannot afford.”
Added NACDL President Cynthia Hujar Orr, “Across the nation, we are witnessing a deeply troubling squeeze of constitutional dimensions on already overburdened indigent defense delivery systems. In all their forms, programs everywhere are in a state of crisis with overwhelming demand and unacceptable cuts in resources. Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to abolish the role of appointed counsel in the City of New York, in what has historically been a dual system that relied on both the private bar and public defender offices, without the benefit of any serious investigation and public discussion, risks degrading further an already overburdened system.”
NACDL, the nation’s largest criminal bar association, urges the City of New York not to change course without a meaningful study of the proposed changes, including substantive consultations and hearings exploring the range of critical issues implicated by the proposal.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
NACDL Communications Department
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.