The New York County Lawyers’ Association is pleased that the Cuomo administration and the New York Civil Liberties Union have reached a settlement in the matter of Hurrell-Harring v. New York, a case concerning the issue of whether systemic deficiencies in the indigent defense system rendered the system constitutionally inadequate.
NYCLA had previously advocated for statewide standards for indigent defense providers in NYCLA v. New York, a case in which NYCLA successfully argued that the compensation rates for assigned counsel should be declared unconstitutional.
In Hurrell-Harring v. New York, NYCLA joined in filing an amicus curiae brief in the Court of Appeals in an effort to urge the courts to uphold the precedent set in NYCLA v. New York and to address the significant issues in New York’s justice system concerning the provision of legal representation to indigent defendants in criminal cases. The favorable and significant settlement of this matter addresses NYLCA’s concerns, which were included in its amicus curiae brief. Access to justice is a fundamental right in a democratic society and it is of crucial importance that the legal needs and rights of the indigent are properly acknowledged and addressed. NYCLA applauds the efforts of all parties in their decision to make essential changes in order to address the needs of indigent defendants in criminal cases.