This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright in which the Supreme Court ruled, unanimously, that defendants in criminal cases deserved legal representation in state courts. If defendants could not afford counsel, the state would have to provide it. Those lawyers are known as public defenders.
New York's anti-corruption commission that's asking state lawmakers to reveal private law clients has the backing of the state Bar Association, which says attorney-client privilege doesn't bar the disclosure required in 20 other states.
The New York State Bar Association argues the names often are already in public court records; they're just not collected in a place for the public and ethics enforcers to see.
Two counties in New York’s Hudson Valley will be sharing a legal service that officials say could save the counties’ taxpayers more than 300-thousand dollars a year. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro say their counties are starting a one-year pilot program to share legal defense counsel. And here’s why: when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing a client because of a legal conflict, a private attorney is assigned. The private attorney then bills the County according to rates established by New York State.