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June 16, 2010

STATE BAR PRESIDENT YOUNGER REAFFIRMS ASSOCIATION'S POSITION ON INDIGENT DEFENSE COMMISSION

New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP) today issued the following statement urging the Governor and the State Legislature to establish an independent statewide indigent defense commission for the provision of indigent defense services:

"The current crisis in the delivery of indigent services across New York has resulted in a large number of low-income New Yorkers lacking the ability to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to the effective assistance of counsel. While the Governor's proposal for a statewide defender office is a good first step, we believe that any such office housed within the Division of Criminal Justice Services would lack the independence needed to function properly.

"The State Bar's position is that a truly independent statewide indigent defense commission is necessary to provide the effective assistance of counsel that all New Yorkers are entitled to receive. We commend the Governor for focusing his attention on this important issue and we look forward to working with the Governor and the State Legislature to establish this much-needed entity."

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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. www.nysba.org