In New York, a trial is pending regarding the state's "persistent failure" to provide adequate representation through the public defender system.
The case was first filed in 2007, and seeks to remedy a "persistent failure" to deliver meaningful counsel to the poor by forcing a state takeover since New York's system places the responsibility of providing public defense on the counties.
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After six years of back and forth, state Supreme Court Justice Eugene Devine wrote in a decision on Monday that the court "has observed that the reputation of the public defense system in this State has deteriorated" and that "there are substantial issues of fact to be resolved at trial." The trial is scheduled for March 17.
Corey Stoughton, lead attorney for the plaintiffs and a lawyer with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said this case would be the first time an entire state's system of indigent defense would be put on trial.
She said there have been similar court cases in a number of states, including Montana, Michigan and Georgia, though all have settled.
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"The ultimate relief we're seeking is for the state to live up to its responsibility," Stoughton said. The U.S. Supreme Court began the right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment in 1963.
This doesn't shock me, nor should it shock anyone who works in the system. It is always in your best interest to hire your own attorney rather than take your chances with whatever lawyer the government assigns to you.
Original source here.