Defense Groups Support City in Suit Over Assigned Counsel

10/22/2010

Five defender groups, which represent 22 percent of the indigent criminal defendants in New York City, have filed an amicus brief supporting the city's motion for dismissal of a lawsuit brought by five county bar associations to block plans to sharply curtail the private bar's role in representing the poor.

On Monday, Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Anil Singh accepted the groups' amicus brief, which contends the bar groups' legal position would have "a devastating impact" not only on their operations but for the criminal justice system as a whole.

David M. Siegal of Haynes and Boone, one of the lawyers for the five bar group plaintiffs in New York County Lawyers' Association v. Bloomberg, 107216/10, declined to comment but said he will be submitting papers in response to the amicus brief.

Justice Singh will hear oral arguments tomorrow on the bar associations' request for a temporary restraining order to block the city from processing proposals from institutional providers to handle conflict cases, which up to now have been handled by 1,100 private lawyers at a cost of some $45 million a year.

Excerpted from New York Law Journal. To view the complete article, click here. (Subscription required.)

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