NY’s Highest Court to Hear Argument in Case that Charges State with Failing its Constitutional Duty on Public Defense
New York’s highest court will today hear arguments in a New York Civil Liberties Union case that charges New York State with failing its constitutional duty to provide effective counsel to poor New Yorkers accused of crimes. The class action lawsuit, filed in 2007 by the NYCLU and the law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, charges that a lack of adequate funding, oversight and statewide standards is denying New Yorkers their right to competent and timely legal representation, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the state constitution and the laws of New York. The lawsuit, Hurrell-Harring et al. v. State of New York, was filed on behalf of 20 criminal defendants in Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties who have encountered a dysfunctional public defense system. The plaintiffs seek reform on behalf of all defendants who are or will be charged with felonies, misdemeanors or lesser offenses and who cannot afford a lawyer. WHAT: Oral Argument in Hurrell-Harring v. State of New York before the State Court of Appeals WHERE: State of New York Court of Appeals, 20 Eagle St., Albany or watch online live at http://www.courts.state.ny.us/CTAPPS/index.htm WHEN: Tuesday, March 23 at 2 p.m.