Resolution No. 289

Supporting The Passage Of A6202B/ S6341, Calling On The State Of New York To Increase Indigent Legal Defense System Funding

Resolution Information

Withdrawn by Sponsor



Referred to: The Law Enforcement and Public Safety Committee (Chairman Briggs

and Legislators Fabiano, Lapp, Maio, and Rodriguez)

Legislator Manna Jo Greene and Legislators Loughran and Rodriguez offer the



WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court held in Gideon v. Wainwright

that the right to counsel for one charged with a crime is fundamental and that it is the

state's responsibility to supply lawyers for those unable to afford them; and

WHEREAS, in 1965 the State of New York delegated this state responsibility

to counties; and

WHEREAS, the decision to place responsibility at the county level in the

State of New York has resulted in a system by which the county and local property

taxpayers are burdened with the vast majority of costs for this state responsibility;


WHEREAS, the shift of costs for this state mandated service has become so

imbalanced that the counties of New York now cover over 80% of the cost; and

WHEREAS, implementation of the constitutional right to counsel under

Gideon is a state, not county, obligation; and

WHEREAS, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and Senator John DeFrancisco

recently sponsored a same-as bill (A6202B/S6341B) recognizing that indigent

defense is a State fiscal responsibility and requiring the State, not the county, to pay

for such service; and

WHEREAS, the Ulster County Legislature commends Assemblymember Fahy

and Senator DeFrancisco for championing a state fiscal takeover of indigent defense

services, which will directly lead to improvements to this vital service for residents in

need, and provide meaningful fiscal mandate relief for counties and real property

taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, the State and multiple counties were sued, and ultimately settled,

Hurrell-Harring, et. al v. State of New York, which sought to transform the indigent

defense system and called for more government funding to be invested in the system;



WHEREAS, the Hurrell-Harring settlement requires the parties involved in

the suit to provide additional indigent defense services and costly increases including

first arraignment counsel, case load caps for public defenders, and additional staff

and support for public defenders; and

WHEREAS, the proposed 2015-16 Budget only allocates increased funding to

the five counties involved in the Hurrell-Harring lawsuit for expanding indigent

defense; and

WHEREAS, the remaining 52 counties need increased funding so that

expanded indigent defense services are uniform throughout the State; and

WHEREAS, the Governor has stated recently that the entire New York State

justice system needs to be examined to insure it provides the most equitable and fair

treatment possible; and

WHEREAS, the state can improve the public defense system by incrementally

increasing state funding, designing a cost-effective way to finance the system over

time, and relieving counties of a responsibility delegated to them since 1965; now

therefore be it

 RESOLVED, that the Ulster County Legislature supports A6202B/S6341B

requiring New York State reimburse to counties the full amount of expenditures for

indigent legal services; and, be it further

 RESOLVED, that the Ulster County Legislature supports any increased state

funding to the indigent legal defense system and calls upon the state to ensure

counties will not be forced to pay for the additional requirements resulting from the

Hurrell-Harring settlement; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Ulster County Legislature shall forward

copies of this resolution to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly and Senate Majority

and Minority Leaders, all Ulster County elected Assemblymen and Senators and the

New York State Association of Counties,

and move its adoption. 




Passed Committee: Law Enforcement and Public Safety on June 7, 2016



Current Text: PDF




Updated: January 24, 2019

Votes on this Resolution

yes no abstained no vote