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By Malia Brink
Indigent Defense columns.
New York — Report Details Failures of Indigent Defense System and Proposes New Statewide Defender System
In 2004, Judith Kaye, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, announced the formation of a commission to examine indigent defense services in the State of New York. The Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services was charged with performing a top-to-bottom examination of the state’s criminal indigent defense system and developing a blueprint for reform.
The commission released its final report on June 28, 2006. The report noted that indigent defense in New York is in crisis, citing overwhelming caseloads and dramatic under-funding as the primary causes. The result, according to the report, is that defendants rarely meet with their lawyers and cases are not properly investigated and defended. Moreover, many defendants on lesser cases are going entirely without representation.
To remedy the situation, the report calls for the formation of a statewide defend
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