ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A state judge says a trial is needed to determine if New York provides adequate resources for the defense of poor people charged with crimes, refusing to throw out the class-action lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
State Supreme Court Justice Eugene Devine has also rejected NYCLU's request for a decision based on information already presented that the system for providing indigent defense by the state and several counties routinely fails defendants and violates their constitutional right to counsel.
The suit was filed in 2007 on behalf of 20 defendants in Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler and Washington counties.
NYCLU says trial now is likely in the spring.
In 2010, a divided New York Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit, rejecting a lower court's conclusion that the issue was simply poor performance by individual lawyers.