Innocence Blog

New York State Leaders and Lawmakers Call for Better Indigent Defense

Posted: March 19, 2013 4:45 pm

Criminal justice reform leaders joined New York State lawmakers at a press conference yesterday urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to overhaul the state’s troubled public defender system. The effort was organized around the 50th anniversary of the historic Gideon v. Wainwright case, in which the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Constitution guarantees the right to counsel.
Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck spoke about the unfulfilled promise of that ruling. The Albany Times Union reports:

"When we fail to provide competent, effective counsel, the foreseeable, predictable consequence is that the innocent are convicted, the guilty are not apprehended, and the public safety is undermined," Scheck said.

Inadequate defense counsel has been shown to contribute to wrongful convictions nationwide.
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Tags: New York, Bad Lawyering