CDANY Annual Report

July 2020 - July 2021

Table of Contents

1) Board of Directors


  • Laurette Mulry, President, Suffolk
  • Leanne Lapp, President Elect, Ontario
  • Stan German, Treasurer, New York
  • Sandra McCarthy, Secretary, Rensselaer

Board of Directors:

  • N. Scott Banks, Nassau
  • Robert Dean, New York
  • Clare Degnan, Westchester
  • Kathleen Dougherty, Onondaga
  • Norm Effman, Wyoming
  • Tina Luongo, New York, Past President
  • James McGahan, St. Lawrence
  • Justine Olderman, Bronx
  • Lisa Schreibersdorf, Kings, Past President
  • John Turi, Rensselaer
  • Kate Woods, Ontario
  • Tom Soucia, Franklin
  • Tom Angell, Dutchess County
  • Andy Correia, Wayne County
  • Mark Funk, Monroe County
  • Rick Jones, New York
  • David Squirrell, Putnam County

2) Treasurer’s Report

Overall, our income is up by over $23,000 and we are fiscally solvent. We will need to raise our income if we are going to continue to grow. The full Treasurer’s Report is attached.

3) Committees Activities:

Executive Committee:

This has been another highly active year for the Executive Committee. 
  • ยทLobbying:  The CDANY Executive Committee, in working with the Legislative Committee, was heavily involved in lobbying efforts that resulted in maintaining most of our progress in bail, discovery and other reforms made last year.  CDANY continues to be heavily involved in issuing statement and letters and direct lobbying.  Please visit our website for a full list of those efforts.  Additionally, during the COVID pause, CDANY was regularly consulted by the Governor’s Office regarding court re-opening and the continuing Executive Orders.  Members of the Executive Committee have been invited to ILS Board Meetings and are part of the Future of New York Courts Task Force.  The President’s Report which can be found in the CDANY Newsletter and the Legislative Committee Report will give more detailed information on other specific lobbying efforts.

  • Regular Friday Chief Calls:  The Executive Committee continues to organize calls for our members and guests every other Friday.  These calls have proven themselves integral in our communication with each other and in understanding the ever-shifting landscape of Executive Orders, Re-opening protocols, ILS and other funding, news from NYSDA, trainings for Chiefs, trainings for office staff and a range of diverse and informative topics.

Nominating Committee:

The nominating committee made up of the Executive Committee and past presidents Tina Luongo, David Schopp, and Lisa Schriebersdorf recommended the following:

Slate of Officers:

  • President: Leanne Lapp
  • President Elect: Stan German
  • Treasurer: Mark Funk
  • Secretary: Tina Sodhi

New Board Members:

  • Tina Sodhi
  • Carrie Bleakley
  • Leland McCormac

Re-election to Board:

  • Scott Banks
  • Clare Degnan
  • Kathleen Dougherty
  • Tina Luongo
  • Sandra McCarthy
  • James McGahan
  • Laurette Mulry
  • Lisa Schreibersdorf

The Entire Slate has been elected by electronic or email voting. Welcome to our new Executive Committee and our new Board Members.

Amicus Committee:

Bob Dean, chair, Leanne Lapp and David Schopp. 

Our Amicus Committee keeps the membership and board advised of major cases being heard in our appellate courts.  The Committee makes regular recommendations to the Board as to amicus briefs CDANY should join or file.  For a complete list of the brief we have filed or joined over the years, please visit our website.

Since the annual report last year we joined:

  • Smalls v. City of New York (Second Circuit) Whether a petitioner in a Sec. 1983 action has to show they were factually innocent to obtain relief (July 2020).
  • Thompson v. Clark (United States Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari).  Same issue as Smalls, above (January 2021).
  • Sophia v. Barr (Second Circuit).  Whether a defendant seeking to defer deportation pending the direct appeal of their conviction must show that the appeal is meritorious (October 2020).
  • People v. Nolis Ogando (New York Court of Appeals).  The validity of an appeal waiver of a suppression issue (September 2020).
  • People v. Howard Powell (New York Court of Appeals).  The admissibility of expert testimony about false confessions (January 2021).
  • People v. Bernard Shanks (New York Court of Appeals).  The validity of an appeal waiver, post-trial, about issues of judicial misconduct during the trial, and a complete deprivation of the right to counsel during the trial (July 2021).

Legislative Committee:

The legislative committee is chaired by Tina Luongo and contains members from each Department.  They meet Mondays at 8 am.  This year we added adjuncts to the committee who are specialists from some of the larger offices in legislation.  In addition to securing ILS and NYSDA funding, our lobbying efforts have helped to add funding for parental representation to ILS.  Parental representation will surely be a focus in the upcoming year.  The Legislative Committee drafted the CDANY Legislative Reform Agenda which was adopted by the Board.  The committee and its members were very active in various lobbying efforts that resulted in the legislation attached in the full Legislative Committee Report.

The board is regularly informed of the activities of the committee and the membership stays informed though the membership meetings, the website, and the newsletter.

Membership Committee:

David Schopp, chair, Laurette Mulry, Sandra McCarthy, Leanne Lapp, Andy Correia, and Kathleen Dougherty.  The membership committee has many responsibilities and is always looking for new members. 

  • In spite of a raise in membership dues, membership has grown again in our 2020-2021 cycle.  We are up 7 new offices and continue to grow each year.
  • The website has been updated and stays updated with membership materials, training materials and other relevant information for the chief.
  • The list serves remain up and running and are being used by our members.
  • CDANY Newsletter continues to look for submissions.  Please visit our website for the March 2021 inaugural edition.

Recruitment Committee:

Stan German and David Schopp, co-chairs.  Again, CDANY and Buffalo Law School held a highly successful, well-attended and well-organized job fair.  Many thanks to Buffalo Law School for organizing this fantastic event entirely remotely.

Staff Development & Training Committee:

Lisa Schriebersdorf, chair, Tim Donaher and Clare Degnan.

Though we continue to post trainings on our website, the Friday Chiefs calls and our annual meetings provide more opportunities for training.  This year alone we did trainings on Diversity and Inclusion in our offices, the legalities of re-opening our offices during COVID, writ writing to obtain prisoner release during the pandemic, Lobbying and JCOPE rules, Trauma Informed Practice and more.

Contract and Data Procedures:

Clare Degnan.

In conjunction with Staff Development and Training, we have already had two tech summits for members of our IT departments.  These summits continue to investigate issues of storage, access, and secure distribution of discovery.  Currently, they are examining the possibility of a CDANY contract with a provider for inexpensive storage for our members.

Task Forces

    • CDANY Task for on Race- Stan (chair), Lisa, Leanne, Sandy, Bob Perry, and Laurette.  This committee organized our CLE last meeting on Diversity and Inclusion in our offices and is an integral part of our legislative agenda’s focus. This ad hoc remains open.
    • Court Re-Opening Task Force-Chaired by Tim Donaher, meets regularly and continues to update membership, communicate with OCA, magistrates and other relevant partners.
    • Justice Court Task Force- Chaired by Kathleen Dougherty was absorbed by the Court Re-Opening Task Force.  This ad hoc has closed. 
    • Police Reform Collaborative Task Force- Leanne Lapp, Andy Correia, Scott Banks and Sandy McCarthy together with NYSDA developed a guidance document for our members with ideas to bring to the Police Collaboratives.  This ad hoc has closed.

    New Committees in 2020-21
    Family Court Committee:

    Mark Funk.

    The Family Court Committee was formed in November 2020.  The Committee has established priorities which include reforms similar to those occurring on the criminal side (early intervention of counsel, caseload caps and quality improvements) and addressing racial disparities in child welfare cases.  We have supported pending legislation including the Preserving Family Bonds Act, the civil-Miranda bill, and the anti-harassment bill.  The Committee intends to hold a Town Hall type meeting to educate legislators about the Family Court system.

    Appellate Practice Committee:

    Bob Dean. 

    The Appellate Practice Committee consists of selected chiefs of the larger criminal appellate offices in the State.  

    We co-ordinate with the ILS’s Appellate Defender Councill on policies affecting criminal appellate defense providers, and trainings for appellate lawyers.  We also co-ordinate with the State Bar’s Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction on matters related to legislation and policies affecting indigent criminal appeals.

    Recently, CDANY sent a letter to Judge Marks asking that assigned appellate counsel be consulted by trial-level judges upon receipt of a pro se 440 motion filed by one of their clients.  In January, we sent a different letter to Judge Marks about the refusal of Monroe County clerks to provide certificates of conviction to assigned appellate counsel.

    Our “Trial Lawyer’s Strategies for Weakening Appeal Waivers” appeared in CDANY’s March 2021 newsletter and was the basis for a State Bar CLE program.  Our recommendations as to notice of appeal policies for trial offices will appeal in the next newsletter and will be the basis for future CLEs.

    Assigned Counsel Committee:

    Carrie Bleakley, Chair; Bruce Chambers, Peter Chambers, Kathleen Dougherty, Mark Funk, Kathleen Kugler, Daniel Russo, Lance Salisbury

    As the majority of CDANY members are associated with public defender offices and institutional providers, it was recognized by CDANY leadership that ACP issues were not getting fully addressed. The Assigned Counsel Committee was established in 2021 to address topics unique to assigned counsel programs. The committee established a list of priorities, including raising the 18-b rates which are unchanged since 2004, recruiting more membership to ACP panels, advocating for panel attorneys to receive student loan forgiveness and incentives similar to public defender and district attorney offices, as well as looking for ways to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our panels.

    In light of the critical state of assigned counsel panels across the State, the committee prioritized the low hourly rates, which has become the focus of the committee’s work thus far. The low hourly rates have created a significant challenge when recruiting and keeping panel attorneys. This is especially true because, other than the hourly rates, ACPs can offer no benefits or alleviate any of the financial obligations of 18-b attorneys.

    In order to address this issue, committee members are gathering relevant data to be used in a two-pronged approach:

    • Legislative – draft new legislation to increase the hourly rates similar to the federal rates and include an automatic cost of living adjustment in order to avoid having to revisit this issue in the future, while promoting the issue with local officials and representatives; and
    • Legal – meet with Assigned Counsel Association members, who are in the process of drafting a lawsuit based on right to counsel and due process arguments, to consider either joining or supporting their litigation efforts.
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