Two different, yet connected, events of importance occurred in Albany on May 6. One, the sentencing of former State Senator Joseph Bruno, received a great deal of attention. The other, a Court of Appeals decision (Hurrell-Harring v State of New York) that will allow a legal challenge to New York’s public defense system, went almost unnoticed. Considered together, these two events illuminate a deep disparity that exists in our legal system. On one hand, the system denies poor people their constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel, while on the other, the system guarantees that right to those with money… In Hurrell-Harring v State of New York, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) argued that New York fails to adequately fund, oversee and set standards for the public defense system. As a result of these systemic deficiencies, indigent criminal defendants are deprived of counsel at critical stages of their prosecution. This, the NYCLU maintains, creates “…a severe and unacceptably high risk that the poor will be denied their constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel.”