ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

May 27, 2016

FYI: Remembering 2004 Marden Awardee Bob Zuss on his 73st Birthday (May 28)

Filed under: 1199 Alliance,1994 Strike,ALAA History,Uncategorized,Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 10:15 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2016 10:15 AM
To: 1199 Members; CRIMINAL ATTYS ALL; 1199 Members; CIVIL BENEFITS CHAT GROUP; CIVIL BKLYN AGING ALL; CIVIL BNO ALL; CIVIL BRONX ALL; CIVIL CONSUMER LAW CHAT GROUP; CIVIL DAP CHAT GROUP; CIVIL EMPLOYMENT LAW ALL; JUVENILE ATTYS ALL; JUVENILE APPEALS ALL; CIVIL EXTERN ATTYS ALL; CIVIL FAMILY CHAT GROUP; CIVIL HCLO ALL; CIVIL HEALTH LAW ALL; CIVIL HOMELESS RIGHTS ALL; CIVIL HOUSING ADVOCATES CHAT GROUP; CIVIL IMMIGRATION ALL; CIVIL LAW REFORM ALL
Subject: FYI: Remembering 2004 Marden Awardee Bob Zuss on his 73st Birthday (May 28)

 

For the final twenty years of his life, Robert Zuss (1943-2006) was a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn.

Zuss helped forge leadership within the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) that promoted bottom-up democratic decision-making; membership mobilization conducted jointly with support staff members of 1199SEIU; and racial, economic and social justice — at home and abroad.

More: http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/

Zuss

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September 18, 2013

In Memoriam: Steven Sindos (1959-2013)

Filed under: 1994 Strike,Criminal Justice,Indigent Defense,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 8:16 pm

Steve PictureSteve Sindos, public defender at the New York Legal Aid Society since 1987, died suddenly on September 17, 2013 in Supreme Court at 320 Jay Street, Brooklyn.

Steve, 53-years-old, was a highly respected trial attorney and mentor to many colleagues. He spent his entire career defending indigent Legal Aid clients, first in Complex 1, Manhattan, and since 1999 in Complex 3, Brooklyn.

In that capacity, Steve was a member of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325, and a veteran of the 1994 Legal Aid strike, as reflected in his later endorsement of this statement.

Steve was the son of Henry and Louise Sindos and was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 12, 1959. He was raised in New Rochelle, graduated from New Rochelle High, Boston University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School (1986).

Steve is survived by his mother Dr. Louise Sindos, sisters Catherine Sindos and Dr. Maria Sindos-Parker, his brother-in-law Joseph Parker, his nephew Brandon Sindos, and niece Maya Sindos. He was predeceased by both his father Henry Sindos and brother Anthony Sindos.

Steve’s death is a great loss to all who knew him, and he will be sorely missed.

To donate to the Steven Henry Sindos Scholarship fund, select “School of Law” from the drop down menu and select “Steven H. Sindos Legal Aid Internship (253625).”

June 22, 2012

2012.06.22: RE: Bronx Defenders expanding?

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 1:56 PM
To: Wright, Deborah;
Cc: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Bronx Defenders expanding?

Background on Bronx Defenders and the other scab (nonunion) defense contractors.

(*NB: The $160m in cumulative cuts to LAS criminal funding in 2001 totals far more today, as the Bloomberg administration continues to increase funding to such nonunion agencies as Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, et al.)

Union Members Protest Award to Schreibersdorf (April 16, 2008)
“While management at the nonunion contractors has profited, Legal Aid staff and clients have paid the price: deep personnel cuts, sharply-escalating workloads and near-institutional bankruptcy. As the New York Times reported in 2001, Giuliani’s cuts — which by then totaled a cumulative $160 million* — had “hobbled” the Society.”
https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/union-members-protest-award-to-schreibersdorf/

Labor Resolution to Defend Legal Aid (September 10, 2001)
“These new contracts are designed to insulate and/or extend seven existing runaway shops funded out of the $160 million* already cut by this administration from Legal Aid, whose unionized UAW attorneys and 1199 (SEIU) support staff have long championed high-quality legal representation for poor people.”
https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2001/09/10/labor-resolution-to-defend-legal-aid-september-10-2001/

Bronx Defenders Peddle a Myth (February 28, 2000)
“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.”
https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2000/02/28/michael-z-letwin-bronx-defenders-peddle-a-myth-february-28-2000/

History of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW Local 2325 (August 1999)
“This asphyxiation of Legal Aid has seriously weakened vertical continuity and other essential elements of high-quality representation. Staff Attorneys’ ability to resist has been further undermined by the runaway defenders’ willingness to curry favor with the administration by abandoning vertical continuity; participating in arraignment body count contests; pandering to judges, court administration and even district attorneys; replacing seniority with “merit”-based salaries unilaterally set by management; and, in some offices, permitting part-time private practice.”
https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/history-of-the-association-of-legal-aid-attorneys-uaw-local-2325/

June 1, 2012

2012.06.01: Remembering Bob Zuss on his 69th Birthday (May 28)

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 9:10 pm

From: Letwin, Michael 

Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 9:15 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Remembering Bob Zuss on his 69th Birthday (May 28)

For the final twenty years of his life, Robert Zuss (1943-2006) was a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in New York City.

Zuss helped forge leadership within the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) that promoted democratic decision-making; membership mobilization conducted jointly with support staff members of 1199SEIU; and racial, economic and social justice — at home and abroad.

http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/

 

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.

This message and its attachments are sent by a law office and may contain information that is confidential and protected by privilege from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are prohibited from printing, copying, forwarding, or saving this email and any attachments. Please notify the sender immediately if you believe that you are not the intended recipient.

 

May 28, 2011

2011.05.28: Remembering Bob Zuss on his 68th Birthday (Today)

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 7:14 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2011 5:14 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Remembering Bob Zuss on his 68th Birthday (Today)

For the final twenty years of his life, Robert Zuss (1943-2006) was a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in New York City.

Zuss helped forge leadership within the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) that promoted democratic decision-making; membership mobilization conducted jointly with support staff members of 1199SEIU; and racial, economic and social justice — at home and abroad.

http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/

December 3, 2010

2010.12.03: RE: BDS rumors

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 12:04 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: BDS rumors

The blacklist list, for those who couldn’t access the site below:

https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/union-members-protest-award-to-schreibersdorf/

April 16, 2008
Union Members Protest Award to Schreibersdorf

The undersigned one hundred union members at The Legal Aid Society protest the New York State Bar Association’s selection of Lisa Schreibersdorf to receive the Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner (Brooklyn Eagle, Feb. 5, 2008, http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=4&id=18282).

Maxian, who died in 2006, was a Legal Aid Society attorney who selflessly dedicated her career to strengthening and improving indigent criminal defense.

Because of her efforts, the NYPD was ordered to arraign criminal defendants within 24 hours of arrest. She frequently testified in support of criminal justice reform. And she tenaciously defended the Society against Rudolph Giuliani, who slashed Legal Aid funding in retaliation for a 1994 strike by the Society’s attorneys (Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325) and support staff (1199SEIU).

Yes, Schreibersdorf too once worked at The Legal Aid Society. Unlike Maxian, however, Schreibersdorf and several other of our former colleagues responded to Giuliani’s attack by setting up a nonunion contractor, Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), which successfully bid for millions of dollars cut from the unionized Society.

In this, she was joined by Appellate Advocates (Second Department), Bronx Defenders, Center for Appellate Litigation (First Department), Queens Law Associates, New York County Defenders Association, and Battiste, Aronowsky & Suchow (Staten Island).

Together, these bidders — most of them by former Legal Aid staff members — played the critical role of legitimizing Giuliani’s destructive union-busting and “competitive bidding” in indigent defense.

Schreibersdorf sought to whitewash her role by claiming that Giuliani’s policies were good for Legal Aid staff and clients: “Brooklyn Defender Services’ entry into the court system has even lightened the load of the Legal Aid Society’s attorneys who . . . are overworked and underpaid . . . [They] are now able to more effectively represent their own clients.”[1]

More candidly, Schreibersdorf admitted, “I don’t have any grudge against Legal Aid . . . [b]ut. . . . [t]he city is making this offer and we’re taking it.”[2]

While management at the nonunion contractors has profited, Legal Aid staff and clients have paid the price: deep personnel cuts, sharply-escalating workloads and near-institutional bankruptcy. As the New York Times reported in 2001, Giuliani’s cuts — which by then totaled a cumulative $160 million — had “hobbled” the Society.[3]

In 2006, a report to Chief Judge Judith Kaye reiterated that finding, and concluded that Giuliani’s competitive bidding policy had predictably fragmented and weakened the entire indigent defense system in New York City. It also reported declining conditions for line staff at the nonunion contractors.[4]

Rather than take any responsibility for helping to bring this about, Schreibersdorf disparages her former colleagues: “I left Legal Aid in the mid nineties. In my opinion, it’s not the same place it was.”[5]

In 2008, Schreibersdorf has added insult to injury by shamelessly trading on her past connection with the Society. But the honor belongs to Legal Aid staff, who — despite these continuing attacks — have sought to defend the quality of indigent representation that Schreibersdorf and her confederates have helped to undermine.

Please forward this letter to all NYSBA officials.

Signers
(In an individual capacity; no organizational endorsement implied)

Michael Letwin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Azalia Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Eric Megett (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Adrian Lesher (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Steve Kliman (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Steve Terry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Fred Pratt (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Steve Sindos (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Estajo Koslow (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Margaret McClean (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Steven Plotkin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Gregory C. Williams (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)*
Julie Fry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Daniella Korotzer (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Robyn Lear (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Judith Karpatkin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Noha Arafa (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Ivan Pantoja (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Melissa Kanas (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Marisa Benton (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Femi Disu (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Jeffrey Sugarman (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Dana Cohen (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Joshua Scheier (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Steven Levine (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Susan Litt (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Tara Shakur (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Susan O. Morris (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Matthew Caretto (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Laurie Dick (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Jill Waldman (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Brian Hutchinson (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Victoria L. Eby (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Andrea Gordon (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Allison Jordan (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Richard Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Bryan Coakley (Criminal Defense-Queens)*
Jacob Rolls (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Raoul Zaltzberg (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Alexander Smith (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Davim Horowitz (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)
Bahar Mirhosseini (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Shannon Stallings (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Daniel Moore (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Kathryn Liverani (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Tasha N. Lloyd (Criminal Defense-Bronx)
Patricia Gil (Civil-Queens)
Margarita Menuar (Civil-Harlem)
Keisha A. Godfrey (Criminal Defense-Queens)
Bahar Ansari (Juvenile Rights-Bronx)
Marla Grossman (Criminal Defense-Queens)*
Emily Kane (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Michael Baldwin (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)
Dale A. Wilker (Prisoners’ Rights Project)*
Sydney O’Hagan (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)
Christina Giardino (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Leigh Latimer (Criminal Defense-Queens)*
Marianne Allegro (Juvenile Rights-Manhattan)*
Carol Hochberg (Juvenile Rights-Queens)*
Melissa Loehr (Criminal Defense-Bronx)
Bridgett Holloman (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Justin L. Haines (Civil-Bronx)
Meighan McSherry (Criminal Defense-Bronx)
Kristin Bruan (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Florence Morgan (Criminal Defense-Queens)*
David Affler (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)*
Alison Webster (Criminal Defense-Bronx)*
Albert Wall (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Mary Ross (Criminal Defense-Queens)
Stephanie Kaplan (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)*
Deborah Hill (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)
Elizabeth Felber (Criminal Defense-Bronx)*
Roslyn Morrison (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Laura Boyd (Criminal Appeals)*
Chandra Gomes (Criminal Defense-Queens)*
Todd Smith (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn)
E. Grace Park (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn)
Warren Deans (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Michael Taglieri (Criminal Appeals)*
Thomas Johnson (Criminal Defense-Queens)*
Tara Collins (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)
Antoinette Costanzo (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)*
Heidi Bota (Criminal Appeals)
David Ocasio (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Lucy Herschel, (Criminal Defense-Queens)
Rebecca Kurti (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Cory Walker (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Myra Alcarese (Juvenile Rights-Queens)
Norah Bowler (Juvenile Rights-Queens)
John Hirsch (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)
Lori Masco (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn)
Kerry Elgarten (Criminal Appeals)*
Ruthlyn Belnavis (Juvenile Rights-Manhattan)
Mily Garcia (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
W. Joseph J. Hochberg (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn)
Terence Davidson (Criminal Defense-Administration)
Joshua Goldfein (Civil-Homeless Rights Project)*
Amelia McGovern (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)*
Richard DiMarco (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)*
Lisa Edwards (Civil-Harlem)*

*1994 strike veteran

——–
Notes

1. Affirm. of Lisa Schreibersdorf (July 16, 1996), Legal Aid Society v. NYC, No. 603291-96 (Sup Ct., NY Co.).

2. Goldstein, 12 Bidders Seek to displace Legal Aid; Proposals to be Screened By City Agency by Jan. 17, NYLJ, January 9, 1996.

3. Fritsch & Rohde, For New York City’s Poor, a Lawyer With 1,600 Clients, N.Y. Times, April 9, 2001, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900E4DE1E3EF93AA35757C0A9679C8B63&scp=1&sq=%22A+hobbled+Legal+Aid+Society+represented%22&st=nyt <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900E4DE1E3EF93AA35757C0A9679C8B63&scp=1&sq=%22A+hobbled+Legal+Aid+Society+represented%22&st=nyt.&gt; .

4. Status of Indigent Defense in New York: A Study for Chief Judge Kaye’s Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services, Final Report (The Spangenberg Group, June 16, 2006), at 154, http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ip/indigentdefense-commission/SpangenbergGroupReport.pdf.

5. In the Matter of the New York State Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services (May 12, 2005), at 198, http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/indigentdefense-commission/albany_5-12-05.pdf.

2010.12.03: RE: BDS rumors

Filed under: 1994 Strike,Criminal Justice,Funding,Indigent Defense,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 9:56 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 9:56 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: BDS rumors

The blacklist [A.] references, with essential background about BDS and other the runaway (non-union), scab (strike-breaker) contractors (Appellate Advocates, Bronx Defenders, Center for Appellate Litigation, Queens Law Associates, New York County Defenders Association) that are being awarded ever greater portions of LAS funding:

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/archive/category.php?category_id=10&id=20070

2010.12.03: NYLJ: City Alters Distribution of Cases for Indigent Criminal Defendants

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 9:48 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: NYLJ: City Alters Distribution of Cases for Indigent Criminal Defendants

http://www.law.com/jsp/nylj/PubArticleNY.jsp?id=1202475635623&City_Shakes_Up_Caseloads_for_Public_Defender_Groups

City Alters Distribution of Cases for Indigent Criminal Defendants

Daniel Wise

12-03-2010

The distribution of indigent criminal defense cases among the groups that serve as primary providers in New York City has been significantly altered by the Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator.

Based on figures the office has released to the groups, the Legal Aid Society will be responsible for 20,000 fewer cases, and five of the remaining six groups will receive 54,000 more.

The one group that lost out in the bidding for renewal contracts is Staten Island Defense Services, which for the past 14 years has been the primary defender of indigent cases in Richmond County.

The Staten Island group’s annual caseload of roughly 9,000 will be folded into the Legal Aid contract, Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt said in an interview.

Legal Aid, however, will likely receive an influx of cases that the defender groups are unable to handle due to conflicts.

Mr. Feinblatt said he could not comment on the decision not to award a contract to Staten Island Defenders, saying the decision was “the result of [a] competitive bidding process.”

Paul A. Battiste, a founder of the Staten Island group, said after having provided quality services for more than 13 years, “we put in a proposal and were hopeful we would received a renewal, but we didn’t.”

Mr. Feinblatt said that while the distribution of primary cases has been settled, no decision has been made as to the amount of funding the groups will receive. He said his office plans to complete the contracts as soon as possible but could not commit to a deadline. Five of the six groups have had their existing contracts extended until June 30, 2011.

The groups that serve as primary providers are responsible for picking up the contracted number of cases at arraignment shifts they are assigned to cover. The total number of primary cases to be handled in the next round of contracts is 329,000, an increase of 8 percent above the number handled under existing contracts.

The flashpoint in this year’s bidding process, however, has been the roughly 44,000 conflict cases that have up to now been handled by 1,100 private practitioners in New York City at an annual cost of $47.8 million. The private lawyers are paid from municipal funds under Article 18-B of the County Law.

In February, the city put out for bid the contracts that had been awarded to the seven defender groups since 2002 and extended several times since then. The requests for the first time solicited proposals to handle conflict cases (NYLJ, Feb. 10).

In June, five county bar associations filed a suit, New York County Lawyers’ Association v. Bloomberg, 107216/10, to block the city from soliciting bids from defense groups to handle conflict cases (NYLJ, June 4). Oral argument before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Anil Singh is scheduled for Dec. 15.

Pending Justice Singh’s ruling on the merits of the case, the city has agreed not to award contracts for conflict cases, but it remains free to issue contracts for primary cases.

Conflict Cases for Legal Aid

Legal Aid, however, is in line to receive at least some of the conflict cases that had been assigned to private lawyers. In a brief filed on Monday supporting its application to intervene in the 18-B litigation, Legal Aid disclosed that the city has indicated an intent to assign to it a “significant number” of conflict cases.

In asking to intervene, the Legal Aid brief contended that the organization is being harmed by the delay in awarding conflict contracts.

With the city only permitted to allocate primary cases, Steven Banks, Legal Aid’s attorney-in-chief, warned in an affirmation, Legal Aid will be left “with insufficient funding to maintain its operations and staffing.”

The process “needs to be completed immediate[ly],” Mr. Banks said, so that Legal Aid can “be properly funded” and “avert the staffing reductions and client service cutbacks that the Society will otherwise have to implement immediately.”

According to Mr. Feinblatt, Legal Aid, which handled about 230,000 cases in the fiscal year that ended last June 30, will be required to handle 210,000 cases under its new contract.

Read in conjunction with Mr. Feinblatt’s disclosure on Legal Aid’s caseload, the clear thrust of Mr. Banks’ comments is that the agency needs to receive 20,000 conflict cases to make up for the deficit without hemorrhaging either staff or services.

Robin Steinberg, the executive director of the Bronx Defenders, said she has had no discussions with the city about conflict cases. Similarly, Lisa Schreibersdorf, the executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said she did not expect any conflict cases.

Both groups’ caseloads will more than double when the new contracts are awarded. The Bronx Defenders’ caseload will rise to 28,000 from 12,500 and Brooklyn Defender Services to 38,000 from 18,000.

Ms. Schreibersdorf said the Brooklyn group will be able to bring on board attorneys with expertise in immigration and other collateral consequences of convictions. Ms. Steinberg said her group is pleased to be able to offer its services to an “even greater number of people from this desperately underserved community.”

Caseload to Nearly Triple

Another big winner in the competition for city contracts is Neighborhood Defender Services, which has never been funded through the mayor’s executive budget. For the first time, Mr. Feinblatt said, a contract will be offered to the group, which serves Harlem and most of the rest of northern Manhattan and has been funded after annual negotiations between the City Council and the mayor.

Under the new contract, funding for the neighborhood defenders will increase to $4.8 million a year from $3 million and the number of cases it will be responsible for handling will expand to 10,000 from 3,500 a year.

The new contract also will relieve the Legal Aid Society of the open-ended obligation to handle 88 percent of cases calendared on its arraignment shifts, Mr. Feinblatt said. The change will put Legal Aid on the same footing as the other providers who will all be required to handle a set number of cases per year.

Mr. Banks said the change is “an important step to get us out from under a literally limitless obligation to accept cases at a set price which resulted in excessive caseloads for our staff.”

Queens Law Associates will see its caseload increase to 25,000 from 15,000, and New York County Defender Services to take on 18,000 cases from 16,000.

Mr. Battiste, of the Staten Island defender group, said his chief concern is that there be “as seamless a transition as possible with Legal Aid” to avoid disruption of client services.

He also said he has begun contacting other defender groups, urging them to hire his 15 lawyers and 13 support staff who will be losing their jobs.

“The staff is very experienced, capable, well trained and familiar with processes in Staten Island,” he said.

@|Daniel Wise can be contacted at dwise@alm.com.

The heads of two of the groups that received the largest increase in primary cases both said they do not expect to receive conflict cases.

April 6, 2010

2010.04.06: RE: Interesting Article

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Indigent Defense,Key Documents,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 10:41 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 10:41 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

There’s nothing accidental about Robin Steinberg’s denigration of The Legal Aid Society. As head of a Giuliani scab (nonunion) defense contractor, she has a long history of undermining our work. See, e.g.:

*Tell The Nation: No Scab Defenders (January 2, 2007), https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2007/01/02/tell-the-nation-no-scab-defenders/

*NDS v. ALAA (June 16, 2004), https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2004/06/16/nds-v-alaa/

*Letter to NYLJ About Bronx Defenders (February 16, 2000), https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2000/02/16/letter-to-nylj-about-bronx-defenders-february-16-2000/

_____________________________________________

From:  A.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 7:21 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

The case the NY Times piece is referring to occurred in Elmont, Long Island. Robin should have made it abundantly clear that she was referring to Nassau County and not the NYC Legal Aid Society. She didn’t and the article creates the unfair impression that LAS is not properly counseling clients regarding collateral consequences–particularly immigration. I doubt there will be any correction. This is more about promoting her organization than anything. LAS isn’t using the catchy, new-age ‘holistic defense’ phrase, but hasn’t that been our practice for many years? We counsel and assist client’s with all types of issues unrelated to a criminal case. The public should not be left with the notion that LAS neglects clients in this manner.

In terms of the substance of her promotional piece, although her points are valid, she fails to take into account that plea policies in many suburban counties are considerably more harsh than NYC.  I worked at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society from 1995-97 before working for Ms.Steinberg’s organization for three years. It was far more difficult to work out a favorable disposition in Nassau County in the years I was there than anywhere I’ve practiced in NYC (Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn). Although a client must be properly advised of collateral consequences, declining a violation and going to trial in some places is an even worse decision. Steinberg used to work for Nassau County Legal Aid in the early to mid-eighties I believe and she should have presented a more complete picture.

_____________________________________________

From:  L.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:25 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

A defendant with the name Jerry Lemaine had a marijuana possession case with Legal Aid in Brooklyn in 2006, where he plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct and was sentenced to Community Service.

_____________________________________________

From:  R.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:21 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

I think we are the only one in the country with “THE” and no city qualifier, as in The Legal Aid Society.  Robin wrote this with the intention of puffing up her own organization at the expense of THE Legal Aid Society.  Have no doubt.  She is not competing with Nassau County for funding.  It is deceiving, but also unprofessional even if true.

_____________________________________________

From:  K

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:18 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

Someone should have trademarked “legal Aid Society” like 100 years ago!

K.

_____________________________________________

From:  P.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:17 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

I don’t doubt for a minute she did it intentionally, but she is quite smart — the public defense office in Nassau County is “The Legal Aid Society of Nassau County” so it should be capitalized.  But the whole article is written as though her office is the first in the world to talk about immigration consequences, when she knows very well that we have an immigration unit and always give this kind of advice.

_____________________________________________

From:  K.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:14 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

I kind of think she should be called on to issue a retraction/clarification.  Since she is from Bronx Defenders, it would be  a natural assumption to identify the NYC based Legal Aid Society as the culprit, especially since she capitalized Legal Aid.

This may not be a pissing match we want to get into, but it smarts.

K.

_____________________________________________

From:  P.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:11 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

This is the most self-serving article I have read in a long time.  And by the way, that “Legal Aid” case she talks about was in Nassau County, not the city.

_____________________________________________

From:  L.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 12:52 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: Interesting Article

Robin Steinberg, head of Bronx Defenders, talking about the “new age” of public defense ushered in by Supreme Court in Padilla v. Kentucky

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-steinberg/supreme-court-ruling-spea_b_522044.html

 

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