By RYAN WICKER
Overhauling New York’s criminal defense system for the poor should be a top priority for state lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo during the current legislative session, New York State Bar Association President David P. Miranda said today.
“Criminal justice reform in New York must begin with ensuring that everyone accused of a crime, regardless of income, has an attorney, as required by the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “Despite improvement in some geographic areas, our indigent criminal defense system still relies on overworked and underfunded defense attorneys.”
“The State Bar Association strongly supports legislation to require full state funding for–and oversight of–indigent criminal defense services,” said Miranda. He praised Senator John DeFrancisco (R-Onondaga County) and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy (D-Albany County) for introducing similar bills to achieve those goals.
Earlier in the week, DeFrancisco said enactment of the bill (S.6341-A), which would provide fiscal relief to county governments, is one of his priorities for the 2016 session. At a joint press conference earlier this year, DeFrancisco and Fahy were joined by other lawmakers, Miranda and officials of the state Association of Counties, who all support state financing of indigent criminal services.
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