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By Donna Lee Elm
Defenders Maintain Zealous Advocacy Despite Funding Crisis
The harrowing funding cuts wrought by sequestration not only threatened the practice in Federal and Community Defender Offices, but also crushed morale in what has traditionally been a bastion of “true believer” defenders. Yet phoenixes have risen up from the ashes of sequestration, continuing extraordinary efforts to defend the indigent accused. Two stories exemplify these notable efforts.
Peggy Cross-Goldberg, an attorney in the Manhattan office of the Federal Defenders of New York, took what had appeared to be a routine “felon in possession of a firearm” case and turned it on its head. She developed devastating evidence of police deception: an “anonymous tipster” was in fact a confidential informant; the inculpatory flight that was sworn to in the probable cause affidavit never occurred; and the “bulge” reported in the defendant’s waistband was a late addition to the fiction. In a hard-fought suppression hearing
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