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June 24, 2010

STATE BAR PRESIDENT YOUNGER COMMENDS GOVERNOR AND STATE LEGISLATURE FOR ESTABLISHING OFFICE OF INDIGENT LEGAL SERVICES

New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP) today commended the Governor and the State Legislature for establishing a new Office of Indigent Legal Services to monitor, study and ensure the quality of indigent defense services in criminal cases.

"The current crisis in the delivery of indigent services in New York has called into question the availability of effective assistance of counsel for low-income New Yorkers," said Younger. "The creation of the Office of Indigent Legal Services is a good first step in ensuring that quality legal representation is available to indigent defendants. I commend the Governor and the State Legislature for taking action on this important issue and look forward to working with them to further the goal of providing these critical services that disadvantaged New Yorkers are entitled to receive."

Enhancing the availability of counsel to indigent defendants has been among the State Bar's top legislative priorities. The new law moves the State in the right direction. In April 2005, the State Bar first called for the creation of an independent entity to oversee the provision of mandated indigent criminal defense representation. In June 2007, the State Bar endorsed the recommendations of former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye's Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services, which included the establishment of an independent commission.

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The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  Founded in 1876, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, please visit www.nysba.org.