NYLJ: Bar Associations Add Claims In Challenge to City's 18-B Plan

06/23/2010

Five county bar associations have stepped up their efforts to block New York City from stripping 18-B attorneys of most of their criminal work. In their second complaint filed in three weeks, the bar groups claim the city's plan will "dramatically undermine indigent defendants' already limited access to meaningful and effective representation."

The latest action by the bar groups, which filed an Article 78 proceeding in early June, raises federal and constitutional claims that the city's plan to replace 18-B lawyers with "conflict providers" violates indigent defendants' rights to due process, equal protection, access to counsel as well as the doctrine of separation of powers.

The second complaint, filed last Friday in New York County Lawyers' Association v. Bloomberg, 108121/10, stresses that the judiciary has the final word in deciding whether lawyer compensation is sufficient to assure that defendants receive constitutionally adequate representation.

The plaintiffs include the New York County Lawyers' Association and the Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Richmond County bar associations.

Kendyl T. Hanks, one of the lawyers at Haynes and Boone representing the bar groups, said the two complaints are parts of the same lawsuit. Also working on the case from Haynes and Boone are David M. Siegal and Jonathan D. Pressment.

This article has been excerpted from The New York Law Journal. To read the full article please visit their website. (Subscription required.)

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