Contact Us

 

COUNTIES COLLABORATE ON CONFLICT DEFENDER SERVICES

By Colleen Pillus, Dutchess County and Mark Longtoe, Ulster County

In December, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County   Executive Marc Molinaro jointly announced a shared services agreement  between the two counties to address the soaring State-mandated costs of  providing legal defense counsel to indigent clients. The county executives  have forged a cooperative agreement to garner a level of cost containment over a State mandated expense that has now reached a combined total of  nearly $3.9 million annually in Ulster and Dutchess counties, while maintaining high quality representation.

To date, when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing an eligible indigent client due to a legal conflict, a private attorney is  assigned. The attorney then bills the county according to rates established by New York State in a process referred to as “assigned counsel.”

The skyrocketing cost, coupled with decreased program aid from New York State, has placed a significant additional burden on counties to cover the cost of this mandated service. In 2011, this system of providing representation cost Ulster County taxpayers $1,345,653 while Dutchess  County taxpayers spent $2,540,000.

“Governments at every level must learn to work past political differences and municipal boundaries to focus on delivering results for the people. I am confident that the citizens of Ulster and Dutchess will benefit from this innovative collaboration,” said Ulster County Executive Hein.

County Executive Hein continued, “Not only does this pilot program  represent a $175,000 savings for Ulster County’s taxpayers, it represents a $300,000 total savings for our region’s taxpayers, all while those in need continue to receive high quality legal representation. This is truly a  win/win collaboration, and we both look forward to working with our respective legislatures to make it a reality.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “This agreement is the  first of its kind in New York State for county Public Defender’s Offices and  represents exactly the type of cooperative partnerships we need to embrace if we are to be successful in our efforts to deliver smaller, smarter government to our taxpayers. I am grateful to Public Defender Tom Angell for seeking out new and better ways to meet our residents’ needs, while reducing costs. We were very pleased to bring this plan to Ulster County and appreciate the support and cooperation of County Executive Hein to  make this partnership a reality.”

Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover added, “I want to thank  both County Executive Hein and County Executive Molinaro for this  innovative, cooperative approach to a fiscal problem that is plaguing  counties throughout the State. I am excited to take part in this shared  service arrangement, and look forward to working with Dutchess County’s  Public Defender Thomas Angell.”

Dutchess County Public Defender Thomas Angell noted, “This new  arrangement will permit each of our Public Defender Offices to create cost efficiencies while at the same time increasing the quality of legal services  provided. I look forward to this new partnership with Ulster County Public Defender’s Office. Our clients will better served by having access to full time defenders as well as the investigators, social workers and outside resources that our respective Public Defender Offices can provide.”

The one year agreement unveiled today will be a pilot program in County Court, City of Kingston Court and Town of Ulster Court in Ulster County;  and County Court and City of Poughkeepsie Court in Dutchess County.

Posted in NYSAC News Winter 2013 | Comments Off

NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 Table of Contents

Posted in NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 | Comments Off

NEW YORK CITY
WANTED: DOCTORS

HUDSON VALLEY
County Executive Neuhaus to offer 2015 budget plan

United Water asks to join Rockland use task force

Food Bank for Westchester and Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless Merge

CAPITAL
Lower city speed limit sought

Warren County meetings now broadcast on YouTube & TV8

$99 million project to upgrade Troy hospitals

MOHAWK VALLEY
Sky’s the limit for drone uses

SOUTHERN TIER
Land Bank Looks for Millions to Fight Blight

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Onondaga County Legislature to cut $1 million from Mahoney budget, lowering taxes even more

WESTERN NEW YORK
Robert H. Jackson Center Announces Official Dedication of Robert H. Jackson Air Field

Erie County prioritizing efforts to prevent child, elder abuse

Niagara County Legislators blast U.S. forest service over photo permit rules

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Countites in the News, September 30, 2014

STATEWIDE
NY, Fed Agencies Again Find Defects On Oil Trains

JumpStart grants awarded to three New York state companies

State wants OK to import medical pot

HUDSON VALLEY
Dutchess and Putnam now listed as high intensity drug trafficking areas

Farmers’ Market Premieres At Taste NY In Dutchess

Westchester Seniors Invited To Golden Harvest Dance

CAPITAL
Emergency radio work will cost a lot, county leaders learn

Combating rising domestic violence in Saratoga County

NORTH COUNTRY
Adirondack Council Releases Annual State Of Park Report

MOHAWK VALLEY
Tax cap’s fit on budget to be discussed

Picente pens letter opposing Seneca County casino; announces coalition

Officials: Stream project will ease flood fears

SOUTHERN TIER
Tioga County Receives Risk Award

Legislature accepts grant to help with emergency plan

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Onondaga County releases first cost estimates for running an amphitheater

WESTERN NEW YORK
No Tax Rate Hike in 2015 for Erie County

Health, Human Services Budget Decreased

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, September 29, 2014

STATEWIDE
Lobbyist ethics training is up and running

Many IDA tax-break deals fall short of promised jobs

LONG ISLAND
Editorial: Glimmer of stability in Suffolk budget

HUDSON VALLEY
Counties: Broadband access vital

Orange lawmakers to vote on Valley View transfer again

Ulster, Dutchess county jail officials defend inmate medical care provider

CAPITAL
Current heroin surge has historic precedent

County agencies taking part in prescription medication collection effort

NORTH COUNTRY
Lewis County General Hospital board of managers approves agreement on repaying county

Tribe keeps pressure on Franklin County Board of Legislators to conclude land claim negotiations

MOHAWK VALLEY
NYSAC Fall Seminar Recap Featuring a New Leader

Picente gives sneak peek of some 2015 budget details

From the lab to the workplace

Oneida Co. stays afloat amid public defense pressures

SOUTHERN TIER
Steuben County adding 2 welfare fraud investigators

Tioga County receives risk award

FINGER LAKES
Rochester Focuses On A New Picture Of American Manufacturing

WESTERN NEW YORK
County Employees to Participate In Denim Day for Breast Cancer

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, September 26, 2014

STATEWIDE
Comptroller Releases most-stressed municipalities

NYSUT loses tax cap round

Governor Cuomo Launches “Combat Heroin” Campaign

NEW YORK CITY
State and city leaders discount terror threat

HUDSON VALLEY
Rockland tops state’s ‘financially stressed’ list

Putnam, Westchester events to honor Gold Star families

CAPITAL
State, jail health care provider settle for $200,000

Ferguson distribution center rising in Coxsackie

Warren County board meetings now online

MOHAWK VALLEY
Picente new president of New York State Association of Counties

Competition I-N-T-E-N-S-E at Spell-a-Palooza

SOUTHERN TIER
Steuben County, state upgrade Bradford park

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Cayuga County falls off state comptroller’s fiscal stress list

FINGER LAKES
Genesee County lawmakers discuss election expenses

Monroe County shows up on fiscal stress list

WESTERN NEW YORK
Sick-Time Settlement

Catt County lawmakers OK $17,000 for airport

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

State Needs to Increase Investment in Indigent Legal Defense Services

To Improve Counsel for the Poor

County leaders from across New York this week called on the State leaders to reform itsindigent defense system and settle the pending litigation of Hurrell-Harring et. al. v. State of New York, which is expected to begin in October.

In a class action proceeding, Hurrell-Harring, et. al v. State of New York, the plaintiffs accuse the State of New York and five counties of inadequately representing the poor accused of crimes in the state. The plaintiffs are seeking changes to the indigent defense system including but not limited to uniform first arraignment counsel rights and a cap on caseloads for public defenders in counties all across the state.

“The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that this is a state constitutional responsibility,” said Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1960s in Gideon vs. Wainwright that the right to counsel is fundamental in the United States, and that the states are responsible for providing lawyers for those who are unable to afford them. In 1965 the State of New York delegated their responsibility to counties. Today, counties outside of New York City fund eighty percent (80%), or $175 million, for indigent legal defense services, while the state spends only $35 million.

“Counties do the best they can to ensure that justice is carried out. The tax cap and other state mandated programs make it difficult for additional local resources to be added to this program from the local level. This is a state responsibility and the state should provide enhanced aid to ensure proper representation is afforded to all,” said Acquario.

At their Annual Meeting in Erie County this week, county delegates adopted a resolution supporting state-level reforms to this important constitutional obligation and encourages the state to settle this case by taking fiscal responsibility for the system, as do the other states in our nation.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all 62 counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, advocate for and serve member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.

###

Posted in Press Room | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, September 25, 2014

STATEWIDE
Tax credits: Checks are in the mail just before election

State shifts jobs effort

HUDSON VALLEY
Dutchess executive launches online dialogue (Video)

Ash trees in Ulster County targeted for removal to slow spread of emerald ash borer

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro supports casinos in Sullivan, Orange counties

Removing The Stigma On Mental Illness And Suicide

Playland attendance, revenue up for 2014 season

CAPITAL
State, jail health care provider settle for $200,000

Officials considering raising taxes by 2%

Former public defender Jerome Frost dies at 75 (Video)

NORTH COUNTRY
Neglected barns pose vexing dilemma for town officials

MOHAWK VALLEY
Smart Waters update set for luncheon

WESTERN NEW YORK
Closing A $7 Million Deficit

Purple Heart County sign unveiled in Southern Teir

Cuomo announces new SolarCity GigaFactory complex at RiverBend

Orleans mandate message won’t change, but medium will

Horrigan Attends NYSAC Conference In Buffalo

Legislators, business owners debate e-cigarette regulation

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, September 19, 2014

STATEWIDE
New York seeks comment on its open space plan

HUDSON VALLEY
Prevention seen as key to ending county drug crisis

County executive seeking $2.6 million to bring water, sewer services to Dutchess Airport

CAPITAL
Office tower sold in downtown Albany for $33 million

Albany County OKs new cyberbully law

NORTH COUNTRY
SCHUMER GILLIBRAND AND OWENS ANNOUNCE $8.6M IN FUNDING FOR MAJOR EXPANSION AT PLATTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Essex County Offers ‘Financial Literacy’ Program

Alcohol and substance abuse workers of Jefferson County recognized at ceremony

MOHAWK VALLEY
Inventory of shovel-ready sites to get boost from plan

SOUTHERN TIER
Tioga County Bus Service Discontinued

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Town Continues To Address Emergency Preparedness

WESTERN NEW YORK
Niagara County seeking IT project manager

Wyoming County debuts new adult daycare center

Grant puts focus on small business

Committee formed on former county museum building

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, September 18, 2014

HUDSON VALLEY
Orange lawmakers may vote next month on possible sale of government center

T.Z. Bridge loan ruling stirs fear of higher tolls

NORTH COUNTRY
Local Park, Traffic Signal Upgrades to Be Celebrated Around Essex County

River Agency budgets $465,273 in development, environmental projects

ACAP after school programs find needed funding for 2014-15

MOHAWK VALLEY
Oneida County announces new “Have a Plan” mobile app.

FINGER LAKES
Monroe, Wayne County Leaders Focus on Lake Ontario Water Levels (Video)

Ontario County firing range study completed, to be presented Sept. 22

WESTERN NEW YORK
SmartWatt Energy to Attend and Sponsor the New York State Association of Counties Fall Seminar in Buffalo, NY

Countywide Crime Rates On The Rise

Gordon L. Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office attends statewide training program

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, Wednesday September 17, 2014

STATEWIDE
Possibility of Thruway toll increase emerges after rejection of bridge funding

NY: Wal-Mart Levied Fictional ‘Sugar Tax’ On Soda

NYC
To Help Unaccompanied Minors, New York City Posts Representatives at Immigration Court

HUDSON VALLEY
E.P.A. Cuts Size of Loan New York Sought for Tappan Zee Bridge

HV Airports Receive Funding For Improvements

Editor, County Legislators Want Oil Spill Drill Results

Sullivan County looks at establishing a Family Advocacy Center

CAPITAL
Local Law D vetoed

The Red Cross encourages the public to prepare for emergencies

NORTH COUNTRY
Lewis County adopts new indigent burial policy

SOUTHERN TIER
DEP eyes Cannonsville Reservoir for hydropower

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Pulaski regains title

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, September 16, 2014

STATEWIDE
Choices limited on wage menu

CAPITAL
Columbia County film fest debuts with free event

SOUTHERN TIER
Proposed budget includes tax jump for Broome County residents (Video)

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Mahoney proposes plan to pay for Onondaga Lake amphitheater (Audio)

Onondaga County Executive puts brakes to $30 million expansion of county jail

Onondaga County’s new health commissioner is a California MD with roots in Syracuse

WESTERN NEW YORK
Geneseo man puts retirement on hold to lead Wyoming County economic development

Erie County Legislature plans elder abuse forums

Standard and Poor’s Boosts Erie County’s Credit Rating to New Levels (Video)

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment