Federal Defenders of New York v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

Brief for Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Plaintiff-Appellant.

Brief filed: 08/21/2019


Federal Defenders of New York v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

2nd Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 19-1778

Prior Decision

Case No. 1:19-cv-00660-MKB-SMG (E.D.N.Y. May 20, 2019)


For two weeks, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) and Warden Herman Quay denied inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (“MDC”) access to counsel and confined them to their cells with no light, little to no heat in the dead of winter, and no access to essential medical treatments. The District Court held that only the inmates themselves could bring suit to remedy the situation. This case presents a question of prudence not standing. The Federal Defenders should have the ability to enforce the right to counsel. The effective assistance of counsel is central to the functioning of our adversarial system. Assistance of counsel is impossible without attorney-client access. The Federal Defenders have strong incentives to protect the right to counsel. The Federal Defenders are an ideal candidate for enforcing the right to counsel.


Harry Sandick, D. Brandon Trice, Nicholas Hartman, Jeff Kinkle, and Wolete Moko, Patterson Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP, New York, NY; Richard D. Willstatter, NACDL, White Plains, NY.

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