News Release

National Criminal Bar Supports Judicial Pay Increase

Washington, DC­ (April 19, 2007) – When a first-year associate on Wall Street, who has never represented a client or seen the inside of a courtroom, will earn more this year than the most experienced New York state jurist, the repercussions of the state legislature’s hostility toward the bench threatens to undermine public confidence in the judicial system itself, the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said last week. Despite one of the highest costs of living in the USA, New York’s judges have not received a single pay raise or cost of living adjustment since 1999. The governor’s proposed budget included $111 million to alleviate the crisis, but the pay increase was dropped during backroom negotiations. The reason, it seems, was that lawmakers want a pay raise too.

On Friday, NACDL President Martin S. Pinales sent letters to Gov. Eliot Spitzer, congratulating him for his push for a retroactive pay raise for New York judges, and to Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Speaker Sheldon Silver expressing “outrage” that the long overdue judicial pay raise was again slashed from the state budget. Pinales also sent a letter of support to Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye.

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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 justice system.