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  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 10:48 AM | Jennifer Van Ort (Administrator)

    The Chief Defenders Association of New York – an organization representing the heads of public defender officers in counties across the state – released the following statement on calls by certain prosecutors and sheriffs to delay justice for New Yorkers by placing a moratorium on new bail, discovery, and speedy trial laws, which are set to take effect on January 1, 2020:

    “Earlier this year, New York took a giant leap forward for fairness, public safety, and fiscal responsibility by enacting new bail, discovery, and speedy trial laws. No longer will defendants be starved of critical evidence in their cases, which has fueled wrongful convictions and cost taxpayers millions in civil settlements. No longer will our bail laws allow the wealthy to go free pretrial while people in poverty are jailed for the exact same charges. As defenders, we have been appalled as countless people have been forced to plead guilty, regardless of guilt or innocence, to get out of jail.

    It’s unfortunate that, when faced with the choice of doing right by New Yorkers or working to protect their own unfair tactical advantages in court, certain District Attorneys and Sheriffs have chosen the latter. What makes this especially unacceptable is that they are using taxpayer resources to mislead and spread baseless fear in our communities rather than working to implement the new laws that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support.” 

    More Information & Full Statement (PDF)

  • Saturday, February 23, 2019 10:05 AM | Jennifer Van Ort (Administrator)

    The public defense community has suffered a great loss with the sudden death of Jeff Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender. Jeff spent his career in the service of his clients and staff. He was fearless in his litigation and advocacy, calling out the racism that permeates the criminal legal system and elevating the criminalization of poverty. So many of us were guided by Jeff in the work we do everyday. The Chief Defenders of New York sends our deepest condolences to Jeff’s family and our colleagues in his office and all the defender offices that worked so closely with him. - Tina Luongo, President, Chief Defenders Association of New York

  • Monday, August 20, 2018 10:06 AM | Jennifer Van Ort (Administrator)

    In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo's signing of the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct into law, the Chief Defenders Association of New York (CDANY) issued the following statement: “The Chief Defenders Association of New York is proud to celebrate the passage of this historic legislation. The first-in-the-nation Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct will shine a light on the injustices that people accused of crimes face every day in criminal courts across the state. For too long, New Yorkers have had no meaningful forum for redress when prosecutors’ actions cross legal and ethical lines. By signing this bill into law, the Governor recognizes the critical role of oversight and accountability in helping to create a criminal legal system that is more fair and just.” – Tina Luongo, President, Chief Defenders Association of New York

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018 10:08 AM | Jennifer Van Ort (Administrator)

    Mark S. Williams, President of the Chief Defenders Association of New York (CDANY) and Cattaraugus County Public Defender, issued the following statement responding to Governor Cuomo’s budget unveiling: 

    “The Chief Defenders Association of New York lauds Governor Andrew Cuomo for including in his Executive Budget more than $50 million to support quality improvements to our State’s public defense system. These improvements will allow counties to begin providing counsel at first appearance, support much needed caseload relief, and fund other high quality improvements. We also look forward to working with the Governor, Senate, and Assembly on proposed reforms to New York’s antiquated criminal discovery, speedy trial, and bail statutes to ensure that the final legislation promotes real and wholesale change.”

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