2009 Legislative Memos
Discovery Reform: NYSACDL supports Criminal Discovery Reform in New York as proposed by The Legal Aid Society
New York’s current discovery rules in criminal cases which allows an accused only limited pre-trial disclosure results in “trial by ambush” and is one of the main contributing causes of wrongful convictions. Reforms proposed by Legal Aid and supported by NYSACDL include 1) expanding the scope of the information which prosecutors are required to provide; 2) mandating early disclosure with out recourse to demand, motion practice, and litigation to obtain relevant information. A time frame for reciprocal discovery by the defense would also be established; 3) sanctions for failure to automatically provide discovery. Legislative Memo October 26 2009.
A2596 / S 5268: Statute of Limitations in Certain Sex Crimes
NYSACDL opposes this bill which would increase the chances of wrongful conviction without adding meaningful protection to victims. Legislative Memo February 23, 2009.
A03106: Student Loan Forgiveness for Indigent Defenders
NYSACDL supports this legislation which provides for financial aid in the form of student loan forgiveness to indigent defenders throughout the state thereby creating hiring parity with district attorney’s offices. NYSACDL proposes modifications which would expand the definition of those attorneys eligible for assistance. Legislative Memo March 2 2009. This legislation passed.
A 5899 / S 4091: Revision of the Town and Justice Court System
NYSACDL supports this legislation with proposed modifications which add guidleines for transfer or removal of cases whenever jail time is possible. Legislative Memo June 8 2009
A05170 / S 04667: Amendment to CPL 440.10 to allow for Factual Development of Ineffecitve Assistance of Counsel Claims
NYSACDL supports this bill which removes a procedural catch-22 of whether to raise a mixed IAC claim in a 440 motion or on direct appeal. Legislative Memo June 2 2009
Expanding “Problem – Solving” Courts …
State Court rules were recently amended to provide for the creation of Integrated Domestic Violence Parts which will hear, in a single forum, cases that are simultaneously pending in Criminal, Supreme or Family courts. The Rules provide for establishing procedures for identifying and transferring eligible cases. The amended rules also expand sex offense parts by giving sex offense courts jurisdiction over misdemeanors. Currrently, there are sex offense parts in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Erie, Orange, Tompkins and Queens Counties. The new rules will allow these courts, presently authorized to hear felonies, to hear misdemeanor sex offenses as well. The presiding judge will have the authority to retain jurisdiction of the misdemeanor transfers or to return them to criminal court. The rules authorize Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau to create sex offense courts throughout New York. Notice of the change, published in the State Register, may be accessed here: (http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2009/aug5/pdfs/courtnotices.pdf)
NYSACDL supported reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws and continues to support legislation which will provide for the sealing of certain criminal convictions after the passage of time. Read President Craig P. Schlanger’s letter to Governor Patterson