CDANY Annual Report
July 2021 - July 2022
Table of Contents
Board of Directors:
2) Treasurer’s Report - Stan German
As of May 31st, the balance is $73,276.41.
3) Committees Activities:
This has been another highly active year for the Executive Committee.
CDANY continues to be heavily involved in issuing statement and letters and direct lobbying. Members of the Executive Committee have been invited to ILS Board Meetings and are part of the Future of New York Courts Task Force.
CDANY changed its domain to ChiefDefendersNY.com and started using Slack as a form of communication.
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 changes in new and updated laws, ILS and other funding, news from NYSDA, trainings for Chiefs, trainings for office staff and a range of diverse and informative topics.
The nominating committee recommended the following:
Slate of Officers:
New Board Members:
Re-election to Board:
The Entire Slate has been elected by electronic or email voting. Welcome to our new Executive Committee and our new Board Members.
Bob Dean, chair
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, CDANY joined in:
In September 2021, Sophia v. Garland, a Second Circuit removal case was resolved favorably. CDANY had joined an amicus in that case. The issue was whether a conviction is “final” for immigration purposes where an appeal is still pending in State court.
In October 2021 the Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in People v. Bradford Shanks. CDANY had submitted an amicus arguing that the appeal waiver was invalid.
In October 2021 CDANY joined in an amicus in Sini v. Kelly and Portillo, an appeal to the Second Department by the Suffolk County DA. It concerned the scope of the new discovery statute.
In March 2022, we filed an amicus in support of plaintiffs in their 18-B rate litigation.
In April 2022, the United States Supreme Court ruled in our favor in Thompson v. Clark, where we joined an amicus. The issue was whether, to demonstrate a favorable determination of a criminal prosecution in a later Section 1983 action, the plaintiff needs to show that the prosecution ended because the plaintiff was found to be innocent.
We are currently drafting an amicus in the NY Court of Appeals case, People v. Dakota Baldwin. The issue is whether the Third Department errs in requiring a showing of “extraordinary circumstances” or an “abuse of discretion” in order for it to invoke its interests of justice jurisdiction to reduce a sentence.
Tina Luongo, Chair.
The Legislative Committee, was heavily involved in lobbying efforts that resulted in maintaining most of our progress in bail, discovery and other reforms made in the previous years. The Legislative Committee also went through great lengths in search a replacement for Bob Perry and was able to find a legislative coordinator.
The Legislative Committee along with adjuncts drafted a robust Legislative Priorities which was adopted by the Board. The committee and its members were very active in various lobbying efforts.
The board is regularly informed of the activities of the committee and the membership stays informed though the membership meetings.
David Schopp and Scott Banks, co-chair. The membership committee has many responsibilities and is always looking for new members.
Membership Committee offered a discounted rate of $100 for new members. It will continue its outreach efforts towards offices that have not become members.
David Schopp and Stan German. 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.
More effort needs to be made to address lack of interest in the public sector. A lot has to do with the state paying a lot more than the local public defender offices, along with the mere lack of
interest in the public sector. Private sectors are offering higher salaries and the option to work from home.
Staff Development & Training Committee:
Clare Degnan, chair.
The Friday Chiefs calls and our annual meetings provide more opportunities for training. There were trainings on Diversity and Inclusion, trainings provided by Social Workers and various trainings on technology.
In conjunction with Staff Development and Training, we continue to investigate issues of storage, access, and secure distribution of discovery.
Over the last year, the Family Court Committee became a force to be reckoned with in
Albany. The highlight of the year was planning a lobby day, where six teams of volunteers met with more than 50 elected officials to discuss pending legislation including the Family Miranda legislation, the Informed Consent Bill, the Anti-Harassment Bill and the raising of assigned counsel rates. The Committee drafted a number of memoranda in support or in opposition to pending legislation. Finally, as we move into the future, CDANY has partnered with the New York State Defender’s Association (NYSDA) and the Parents Legislative Action Network (PLAN) to come up with short-term, mid-term and long-term advocacy planning goals.
In September 2021, in response to the Fourth Department’s decision in People v. Fudge, which castigated an appellate attorney with the Hiscock Legal Aid Society for performing completely ethically, the Committee met to decide what to do. We voted to do up a memo in support of the attorney, and drafted same, to send to the Presiding Justice of the Fourth Department. The CDANY board signed off on this action and NYSACDL decided to join. However, before we could send the letter, a grievance proceeding was filed against the attorney. At that point, we decided not to send the letter, but instead actively worked with the attorney representing the Hiscock LAS attorney on the grievance matter. That attorney decided to do a motion to reargue in the Fourth Department, for which we contributed information. That motion was filed in December. In February 2022 the Fourth Department vacated its decision and the grievance was withdrawn.
In November 2021, the OCA Appellate Practice Working Group published its Second Report, which adopted some or all of the recommendations we made in a letter to that group in April 2021.
In December 2021, we met to decide on our priorities in terms of legislation, which we then forwarded to the Legislative Committee. These were: Clean Slate, 440 Reform, Appeal Waiver reform, and barring the use of Rap Music Videos by prosecutors on the People’s case. None of these bills passed.
In April 2022, in response to continued problems in Suffolk County, we revisited with the clerks there the letter we sent to Judge Marks in May 2021 regarding the assignment of counsel on pro se 440s where the client was concurrently being represented on appeal by assigned appellate counsel.
Currently, we are investigating the use of CPL 380.55(2) by the Appellate Divisions in getting appellate counsel assigned. The statute, which came into effect in January 2022 (thanks to CDANY efforts), allows assigned trial counsel to get appellate counsel assigned based solely on trial counsel’s certification that the client is still indigent. (To the trial providers we say, “you’re welcome”.) All four departments have now instituted procedures, which vary somewhat from department to department. We are now almost in a position to do trainings.
Carrie Bleakley, Chair.
We spent the entirety of the year advocating for the increase in the 18-b rates. Efforts included collaborating with key organizations including NYSDA, NYSBA, ACA-NYS, NYSAC and NYSACDL to lobby legislators, draft legislation and prepare an amicus brief in support of the litigation. We garnered a large bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly and through a last minute end of the session push we were able to obtain 36 additional sponsors in both houses. While it looked as though we were overcoming the hurdle of a state-funded increase, we were not successful in seeing this passed before the end of the session. Nevertheless, we will continue to pursue the increase and support other mechanisms to continue the momentum.
In addition, we are looking forward to working with our Membership Committee in identifying and recruiting more Assigned Counsel Administrators as members of CDANY to work collaboratively to ensure quality of representation for all indigent people in cases of mandated representation. Through these efforts we are hoping to identify needed supports for our programs and the attorneys who serve them.
It was great year for parole with Less is More. The newly established Parole Committee continues to provide updates and CLEs on the implementation of Less is More.
Budget Bill set aside in the amount of $1,370,000 for parole.