All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
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How the right to counsel is administered and structured
Branch of government: executive
The state of New York has delegated to its counties the responsibility for providing right to counsel services at the trial level.
The Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS) is a state agency of the executive branch, overseen by a nine-member board. The Board is appointed by diverse authorities. The chief justice serves a chairman of the Board with the Governor appointing other members based on recommendations by: President of the Senate; the Speaker of the Assembly, the New York State Bar Association; state association of counties (2); and, the Chief Justice (judge or retired judge). The Governor also appoints one attorney and one other person of his choosing.
ILS has limited authority to assist the state’s county-based indigent defense systems to improve the quality of services provided. It does so primarily through funding assistance grants to counties.
How the right to counsel is funded
Percentage of local funding: 80%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%
State/county funding split does not include state money for juvenile representation in delinquency and family court matters, civil commitment of all kinds, and many, though not all, sex offender registration appeals.
Counties and towns bear almost all of the obligation for funding right to counsel services, so there is no consistency in the level of funding provided across the state.
The methods used to provide public counsel
New York Consolidated Executive Laws, art. 3, §§ 30 through 32 (limited state oversight)
New York Consolidated Family Court Laws, part 6, §§ 261 through 262 (right to counsel in family court matters)
New York Consolidated State Finance Laws, art. 6, § 98-B (state funding)
Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff, augmented by communications with the Office of Indigent Legal Services.