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Friday, December 8 • 4:15pm - 5:45pm
Statewide Reform in a Locally Controlled System: The Example of New York

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This session will explore how statewide reform can be achieved in a state with a strong tradition of local governance. New York is similar to the more than 20 other states that devolve responsibility for the administration of public defense services to local governments while offering precious little statutory guidance and still less fiscal assistance or oversight. For decades, voices calling for the state to assume its responsibilities under Gideon were limited to nonprofit groups, and especially the New York State Defenders Association, doing yeoman’s work with little recognition or resources. It was through their persistent advocacy, however, that in 2011 the state created the Office of Indigent Legal Services, the first statewide agency with a specific mandate to improve the quality of indigent legal services (defined in New York as both public defense and also representation of parents in child welfare and other family court matters) across the whole state. Since that time, ILS has taken significant steps toward fulfilling its mandate, though of course progress has not been unfaltering. Critically for this discussion, ILS has done that work notwithstanding the absence of any realistic prospect of statewide takeover of the direct administration of defense services. The story of ILS’ successes can therefore be understood only as the product of a complicated interplay between large numbers of protagonists at the state and local levels. That story should thus be of interest to anyone wanting to know how statewide reform can be achieved, even as the administrative responsibilities of localities for delivering defense services remain intact.


Andrew Davies

Intern, Georgia Public Defender Standards Council
Andrew Davies is director of research at the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services and post-doctoral fellow at the SUNY Albany School of Criminal Justice. His job is to track data on the provision of legal services around the state and to push a research agenda for their... Read More →

Giovanna Macri

Statewide Chief Implementation Attorney, New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services
Joanne Macri currently serves as the statewide chief implementation attorney for the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS) where she is engaged in the statewide implementation of criminal defense reforms as proposed in the Hurrell-Harring v. New York settlement agreement... Read More →

Patricia Warth

Deputy Capital Defender, Capital Defender Office
Patricia Warth is the chief Hurrell-Harring implementation attorney for NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS). Since her 1996 graduation from Cornell Law School, she has devoted her career to criminal defense advocacy. Ms. Warth has worked for the NYS Capital Defender Office... Read More →

Friday December 8, 2017 4:15pm - 5:45pm
Meeting Room 13-14 Meeting Room Level

Attendees (5)