Lugar de Noticias Haynes and Boone

New York Law Journal: 18-B Hearing with Haynes and Boone Lawyers Centers on Conflict Case Assignments
12/16/2010


NEW YORK - Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Anil C. Singh heard oral arguments yesterday in the fight over New York City's plan to move some 44,000 criminal-defense cases annually from private, 18-B lawyers to institutional providers such as the Legal Aid Society.

A capacity crowd of defense attorneys and city lawyers filled Justice Singh's courtroom to watch the arguments on the merits of the Article 78 action and the city's motion to dismiss. The suit, New York County Lawyers Association v. Bloomberg, 107216/10, was filed by five county bar associations earlier this year.

The two-hour hearing centered on County Law §722, and whether it allows the city to assign conflict cases, such as ones with multiple defendants, to institutional defenders rather than individual 18-B attorneys without input from county bar associations.

"This case comes down to a straightforward issue: whether or not the city's current budgetary issues allow the city to depart from the specific edicts of Section 722," argued Jonathan Pressment of Haynes and Boone, who appeared on behalf of the plaintiff bar groups.

A capacity crowd of defense attorneys and city lawyers filled Justice Singh's courtroom to watch the arguments on the merits of the Article 78 action and the city's motion to dismiss. The suit, New York County Lawyers Association v. Bloomberg, 107216/10, was filed by five county bar associations earlier this year.

The two-hour hearing centered on County Law §722, and whether it allows the city to assign conflict cases, such as ones with multiple defendants, to institutional defenders rather than individual 18-B attorneys without input from county bar associations.

"This case comes down to a straightforward issue: whether or not the city's current budgetary issues allow the city to depart from the specific edicts of Section 722," argued Jonathan Pressment of Haynes Boone, who appeared on behalf of the plaintiff bar groups.

"You can only do what the statute says you can do, and the statute says that if an office of conflict defender is to be created, it is not to be created by the mayor or the city," but by the county bars, Mr. Pressment said.

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