NYCLA and the four other county bars are seeking an expedited appeal and stay of the decision permitting the City unilaterally to change a system for assignment of indigent defense counsel that has been in existence for 45 years and that has depended on plans of the County Bars for appointment of conflict counsel. The decision being appealed allows the Mayor to impose a plan without the Bars’ consent and over their specific objection and to evade statutory provisions requiring conflict counsel to be assigned either by the courts or in conjunction with County Bar plans.

The County Bars are fighting to ensure that their role in helping to protect the rights of indigent defendants is not eliminated in favor of budgetary concerns.The Mayor’s effort to increase bureaucratic control and reduce costs prevents the courts or the County Bars from playing their intended independent roles to serve as a check against such action. The County Bars are seeking to expedite the appeal so that these issues, which have an impact on constitutional rights, can be decided quickly. A stay is sought to preserve a status quo that has existed for decades and to avoid chaos and disruption in the provision of adequate defense for indigent defendants in New York in the future.

New York County Lawyers’ Association
14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007