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Friday, May 27, 2011

In New York, Tight Times for Court-Appointed Lawyers -

Tri plus billionaire Bloomberg is successfully destroying an essential component of public criminal defense in NYC. As a former assigned counsel attorney, I know that those of us who were zealous, dedicated attorneys worked long hours for little pay, while "celebrity" lawyers, nearly all males and former assistant district attorneys (who can always afford exceptionally skilled legal associates), reap/ed exhorbitant fees.

Assigned attorneys handle cases that would represent a conflict for public defender organizations and Legal Aid, eg., multiple defendant cases in which (obviously) the defenses conflict, where one accused implicants another. One of the finest of 18B attorneys, Enid K. Gerling, who died early last year, lived a modest life in a rented apartment, despite her successful, but much maligned representation of homosexual sexual offenders. While William Kunstler, a private civil rights attorney, was lauded publicly (posthumously) for championing the rights of "repugnant" defendants, Ms. Gerling died without a word of praise. There was no memorial to celebrate her years of brilliant work for indigent defendants. Nothing. I was a good friend of hers; didn't learn till recently of her death, as her heirs didn't bother to inform me, a named executor in her will.

I left that miserable, underpaid and undervalued career choice nearly 10 years ago. I'm disgusted by Bloomberg's actions. There's a strong sixth amendment case to be argued against Bloomberg. I hope that all of the appellate judges aren't in his pocket. The judicial system is no less corrupt than the other branches of government.

In New York, Tight Times for Court-Appointed Lawyers -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am still in the trenches in this arena. On Tuesday, May 31, our appeal against Bloomberg's cuts will be argued in NY Supreme Court's Appellate Division. Will they side with the mayor's bean counting or with the Constitutional mandate of effective representation for the indigent accused. Stay tuned. May Enid RIP - we know whose side she was on. DWScott