legal services for the indigent:
Criminal Legal Services & Civil Legal Services
legal services for the indigent: History of League Activity
The League believes that indigent criminal defendants and indigent civil litigants are entitled to legal services at no cost to them in order to provide them with access to the third arm of government – the judiciary. The League has worked to improve the quality of and funding for such services. It has also advocated for an Independent Public Defense Commission to protect constitutionally and statutorily required legal services from control by those with conflicting interests and to provide a single, accountable entity to which any and all concerned groups could turn when quality representation is not met. The commission would act as a conduit for transmitting state funds to localities that meet its standards.
In 2010, the state enacted the Legislature passed a public defense reform bill as part of the Public Protection budget. The bill did not create the Independent Public Defense Commission sought by the League; However, it did create an Office of Indigent Legal Services and an Indigent Legal Services Board in the Executive Branch to monitor, study, and make efforts to improve the quality of services provided under County Law article 18-B, relating to public defenders, legal aid offices, assigned counsel, conflict offices, and representation in Family Court.
The full budget bill can be accessed from the NYS Assembly website: assembly.state.ny.us/leg/. Search for 2010 bill number A09706C, then look for Part E.
Governor Paterson’s press release announcing the bill is available at:
legal services for the indigent: Summary of Current Action
The League is unaware of current plans within the Legislature to move forward on the court restructuring issue.
The League will continue to educate the public about this issue in two ways:
- Providing Speakers: First, it will provide speakers to local Leagues and outside organizations. Contact the state League office to arrange a speaker.
- Court Watching Programs: Second, the League organizes court watching / monitoring projects in the various counties throughout the state. Getting an inside view of how the courts function serves as an eye opener to recognize the needs and the shortcomings of the current system. For help in arranging a program in your area, contact the state League office.
The League will continue to advocate for change, as opportunities arise, both individually and with its coalition partners such as the Fund for Modern Courts.
legal services for the indigent: League Position
judicial court system: Non-League Written Materials
- Writing Reform
The Brennan Center, NYU School of Law, 2010 Revised Edition. This excellent report on developing campaign finance legislation contains a chapter on public finance of elections.
- Small Donor Matching Funds: The NYC Election Experience
The Brennan Center, NYU School of Law, 2010. This report details how the New York City matching system of campaign finance has invigorated grassroots participation in local elections.
- Electoral Competition and Low Contribution Limits,
The Brennan Center, NYU School of Law, 2009. This report shows how low campaign finance limits can increase competitiveness of elections.
- How Close is Fundraising in Contested Elections in States with Low Contribution Limits? Buchanan Center Political Economy, George Mason University, 2009
- The Effect of Public Financing on the Competitiveness of Elections
Buchanan Center Political Economy, George Mason University, 2009. A scholarly look at the extent to which public financing of elections increases competition.
- Do Low Contribution Limits Insulate Incumbents from Competition?
Buchanan Center Political Economy, George Mason University, 2009.
- Brennan Center's Analysis of Maine Senate Elections
The Brennan Center, NYU School of Law, 2009.
transparency: Archived Materials
Contact the League Office to request archived materials.