ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

July 9, 2004

2004.07.09: Legal Aid Crisis

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 5:46 PM
Subject: Legal Aid Crisis

To the Editor:

Legal Aid’s weak financial accounting is troubling (“How a Lax Eye on Money Pushed Legal Aid to the Brink,” July 8).

But its budget deficit grew mainly because, beginning in 1994, the Giuliani administration drained more than $160 million from Legal Aid’s criminal defense funding.

As the Times has noted, “[a] hobbled Legal Aid Society represented about 200,000 indigent defendants [in 2000], roughly the same number it did six years ago, but with a fraction of the resources.”  (“For New York City’s Poor, a Lawyer With 1,600 Clients,” April 9, 2001.)

The city must fully restore Legal Aid funding to 1994 levels.  The Society’s directors must ensure jobs and compensation for all Legal Aid attorney and support staff, who daily provide high-quality indigent representation.

Former President (1989-2002)
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325

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