ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

March 27, 2012

2012.03.27: RE: Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Criminal Justice,Indigent Defense,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 11:04 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:40 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

Some background and context, below.

See also:

https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2001/09/10/labor-resolution-to-defend-legal-aid-september-10-2001/

https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/history-of-the-association-of-legal-aid-attorneys-uaw-local-2325/

——————

https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2000/02/28/michael-z-letwin-bronx-defenders-peddle-a-myth-february-28-2000/
2/28/00 Nat’l L.J. A16, (col. 5)
The National Law Journal
Volume 22, Number 27
Monday, February 28, 2000

Podium
Letters

BRONX DEFENDERS PEDDLE A MYTH

Michael Z. Letwin

President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW Local 2325 New York

Bronx defenders promotes the myth that its “holistic advocacy” for indigent criminal defendants transcends the allegedly “limited, staid model of intervention” of the Legal Aid Society (LAS), New York’s primary public defender organization [“The best defense…,” Jan. 31].

For 30 years, however, unionized Legal Aid Society attorneys and support staff have fought for and won the kinds of practice for which Bronx Defenders now seeks to take credit, including collaborative and creative advocacy, drug rehabilitation, pre- and post-pleading memorandums, alternatives to incarceration and job placement.

Unlike Bronx Defenders, however, which the city lavishly funds to handle only 12,500 cases, LAS staff represent an unlimited number of clients—more than 200,000 a year in New York at present—with far lower per-case funding. This reflects the Giuliani administration’s retaliation against the LAS and its unions for a brief 1994 strike. Since that time, city funding for the LAS has been slashed from $79 million to $52 million annually. As a result, reported the Indigent Oversight Panel of the Appellate Division, 1st Department, in 1998, the LAS “is handling too many cases with too little staff and too little support….These conditions have, in large measure, been created by the City’s decision to contract with” Bronx Defenders and six other organizations favored by the administration.

Warm and fuzzy feelings at Bronx Defenders and its siblings give their nonunion staff neither power over legal practice nor protection from employer favoritism, arbitrary discipline and firing. By contrast, collective bargaining at the LAS provides unionized lawyers and support staff with the means to defend and improve workload limits, provide continuity (having the same lawyer throughout a case), a fair and uniform pay scale, influence over hiring and promotion decisions, affirmative action, office space, health and safety protections and many other gains directly related to high-quality representation.

No amount of hype can alter the collaboration of Bronx Defenders with Mayor Giuliani’s assault on indigent criminal defense. Bronx Defenders has chosen to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

2/28/00 NLJ A16, (col. 5) 
On Mar 27, 2012, at 8:48 AM, “Morgan, Florence” wrote:

Correction!! referring to “vermin” guliani-that ever “crawled” not walked the earth.

I am preaching to some members  of the choir-  Make no mistake about it, there is a contingent that makes excuses for these folks. Indeed as I have said before, even after guiliani’s vicious actions, there are some who still supported and voted for him…

From: Morgan, Florence
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 10:08 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

Yes, she will talk about the reason she “started” a new type of defender? Despicable!  She did not wake up one day and said, “You know I am going to start a new type of practice”-  (whatever the hell that means!!!). She is one of the “beneficiaries”… of one of the most virulent vermin that has ever walked the earth–guliani.

I use the term beneficiaries loosely as the term usually suggests something positive.  It matters not what so-called $ they claim to be hauling in,  and how much they can use city funding to finance their private cases (in boros where they can do that), participating in and facilitating “union busting” can never be positive in my eyes.

Perhaps she will choke on her lies when she tells the attendees the reason she is “overseeing” that SCAB office.

Florence

 

From: Morris, Susan
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:22 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

It is a bit odd that while PD offices across the country are unionizing, a scab representative will be discussing that topic.

“Robin Steinberg, founder of the Bronx Defenders, will speak about the reasons she started a new type of defender organization, how she did it, and how she is teaching organizations and practitioners from across the country to improve the way they practice”

Why? Because Giuliani tried to bust our union

How? By making our union weak and creating an anti-union shop

It’s a shame she is working on spreading her poison throughout the land.

 

From: A.
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:13 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

I wonder what the organizer of this program meant by “a new type of defender organization”

 

From: J.
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:02 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: FW: Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

FYI……

The Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal presents

Reviving Gideon: Reforming the Right to Counsel

 Tuesday, March 27th

Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, Cardozo Law School

Reform through the Courts (11am – 1pm)

Moderator:

•         Steve Zeidman, Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at CUNY School of Law

Panelists:

•         Corey Stoughton of NYCLU, Lead Counsel on Hurrel-Harring v. State of New York

•         Mary Smid Mergler, Senior Counsel for the Constitution Project’s Criminal Justice Program, will discuss Lafler v. Cooper (10-209) and Missouri v. Frye (10-444), two right to counsel cases being heard by the Supreme Court this term

•         Stephen Hanlon, Partner at Holland & Knight and Lead Counsel on State Ex Rel. Missouri Public Defender Commission v. Waters

Reform by & for Public Defense Practitioners (2:30pm – 4:30pm)

Moderator:

•         Ekow Yankah, Professor of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Panelists:

•         Robin Steinberg, founder of the Bronx Defenders, will speak about the reasons she started a new type of defender organization, how she did it, and how she is teaching organizations and practitioners from across the country to improve the way they practice

•         Bill Leahy, director of the recently established Office of Indigent Legal Services, discusses the reasons why his office was established, what their goals are and how they have already taken concrete steps towards achieving those goals

•         Thomas Giovanni discusses the work of the Brennan Center’s Community Oriented Defender Network

Featured Speaker: Jeff Deskovic (5pm – 6pm)

Courtesy of the Cardozo Criminal Defense Clinic

The recent Innocence Project exoneree discusses his experience as the client of an appointed attorney and how that informed his current reform work through the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation.

Reception to Follow

Please contact Louisa Schlieben, at LSchlieben@gmail.com with any questions.

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