2nd honker
Nov. 30, 2016
News Picks from NYSDA Staff
News Picks
Governor Signs Bills Authorizing Off-Hours Arraignment Parts, Streamlined Procedure for Poor Person Status on Appeal . Governor Cuomo signed two important public defense measures into law yesterday.
Chapter 492 (S7209-A ): This bill authorizes the Chief Administrator of the Courts to adopt, after consultation with the Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS), institutional providers of criminal defense services and other members of the criminal defense bar, the district attorney, the local magistrates association, and others, a plan for the creation of off-hours arraignment parts in select local criminal courts of a county "where the use of such parts will facilitate the availability of public defenders or assigned counsel for defendants in need of legal representation at such proceedings." The bill takes effect on Feb. 26, 2017 (the 90th day after it becomes law). NYSDA's memo in support of S7209-A is available here.
Chapter 459 (A9522 ): This chapter law authorizes sentencing judges to grant poor person status on appeal when the defendant has been represented by appointed counsel in the trial court. The new CPL 380.55 provides that, "[a]s part of the application for such relief, assigned counsel must represent that the defendant continues to be eligible for assignment of counsel and that granting the application will expedite the appeal." If the application is granted, the trial court "shall file a written order and shall provide a copy of the order to the appropriate appellate court." Denial of the application is without prejudice to the defendant seeking poor person status in the appellate court. The law is effective immediately. NYSDA's memo in support of A9522 is available here.
The Legislature has not sent the other public defense bill passed this year, the Public Defense Mandate Relief Act, to Governor Cuomo yet. More information on that bill appears below.

Justice Equality Campaign Rallying Support for the Justice Equality Act The Justice Equality campaign aims to illustrate, through social media, op-eds, and support letters to Governor Cuomo, the immense statewide support for the Justice Equality Act S8114/A10706 (also referred to as the Public Defense Mandate Relief Act), which would effectuate long-needed reform by requiring the State to reimburse counties for mandated representation.  As mentioned in the June 30, 2016 issue of News Picks, the Legislature unanimously passed the bill during the legislative session ending in June. The legislation is supported by over 200 state and local leaders, and many state organizations and editorial boards. In a further show of support, four state legislators appear in a short video sponsored by the Justice Equality campaign, urging Governor Cuomo to sign the bill. For more information, visit the JusticeEquality Facebook page. NYSDA's June 20, 2016 press release about the bill is available here .

Regional Immigration Assistance Centers Providing Support to PDs. New York's six Regional Immigration Assistance Centers (RIAC), funded by the Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS), are operating around New York State to provide training and assistance to public defense lawyers representing non-citizen clients in criminal and family court proceedings. A flyer about the six Centers is available here and contact information for the Centers is available on NYSDA's Criminal Immigration Resources page .

Medical Reference Sources . Handling a case involving medical records and medical literature? In addition to hiring experts for record review and consultations, below is a list
of some helpful and free online resources where you can begin your research.
Produced by the Center for Nursing Excellence International and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, this searchable glossary offers definitions of a variety of terms relevant to sexual assault cases. Some of the definitions include helpful illustrations and images. The glossary is being updated regularly and, if there's a term that is not in the glossary yet, you can recommend that it be added. The glossary is expected to be available as a mobile app soon.
This website allows you to examine a number of different human anatomy systems, including the skeletal system, cardiovascular system, and digest system, using 2D interactive and 3D Rotate & Zoom diagrams. Deja Vishny, an attorney with the Wisconsin Public Defender Office, discussed this resource during her training session at the 2016 NYSDA Annual Meeting and Conference.
  • American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
The ABMS "works in collaboration with 24 specialty Medical Boards to maintain the standards for physician certification." The site provides information about the scope of each specialty and links to the websites of each of the specialty
o    Certification Matters (searchable database of Board Certified physicians)
  • Drug Information
The Drug Information Portal is a "gateway to selected drug information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and other key U.S. Government agencies." The database includes more than 49,000 drugs.

Yet Another Reason to Object to Prosecutors' Misleading Summations. The old aphorism that "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true" may reflect reality (regardless of who said it or didn't say it). An Oct. 30, 2016 headline puts new social science findings succinctly: " Studies support concept that frequently repeating a lie creates 'the illusion of truth' . " This may be a dose of social science reality for defense lawyers who think jurors will recognize and reject a prosecutor's exaggerations and outright misleading statements, and think it best to remain quiet and let the prosecutor destroy his or her own case with blatant lies - one can infer from the studies described that letting jurors hear untruths over and over could bring about an unjust verdict. Failing to object to repeated misstatements also constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. For example, an Appellate Division panel found a few months ago that letting a prosecutor repeatedly misstate that forensic testing found a homicide victim's DNA in a relevant sample when the evidence showed only that the victim could not be excluded as a contributor to the blood mixture deprived the client of a fair trial. People v Ramsaran , 141 AD3d 865 (3rd Dept 2016) [citing People v Wright , 25 NY3d 769 (2015)].

Directory of Laws Governing Appointment of Counsel in Civil Proceedings. The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) have developed a directory of the law governing the appointment of counsel in state civil proceedings. The directory includes a report for each state that is organized by subject area (shelter, sustenance, safety and/or health, child custody, and miscellaneous) and provides citations to relevant statutes, court rules, and case law. The reports are current through 2012. The ABA and NCCRC are in the process of updating them.

Upcoming Family Court Event: Transforming Child Welfare and Children's Lives. On Dec. 13, 2016 the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy Policy Forum will present Transforming Child Welfare and Children's Lives: Proven Strategies that Strengthen Families . The event will run from 1 pm to 4 pm in Albany, and is billed as "a conversation about 'What Works' with individuals touched by child welfare systems" and innovative administrators of social service policy. The cost of registration is $40.00. Participants will include: Anni Keane and Rose Williams from You Gotta Believe - a NYC organization that seeks to find permanent homes for older children, including teens, from the foster care system; Sheila J. Poole, the Acting Commissioner from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services; Linda S. Spears, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families; Molly McGrath Tierney, the Director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services; and Jeanette Vega from Rise - a parent support organization in NYC. Click here or on the seminar title above to find the registration page (scroll down). This is not a Continuing Legal Education event but attendees may have an enhanced view of effective strategies to preserve and reunify families. This event is sponsored by The New York Foundling  a New York-based charity that endeavors to empower children and families to live independent and successful lives.

Copyright © 2012-2016 New York State Defenders Association