Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Times Editorial Lauds Lippman's Calls for Justice

The New York Times has lauded Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman for his May 6 opinion reinstating the NYCLU lawsuit against New York State and 5 counties for what the Times called "glaring dysfunction in the state’s county-by-county indigent defense system." The editorial also noted approvingly Lippman's Law Day speech in which he supported ensuring counsel for poor people in civil disputes like evictions and foreclosures in which basic needs are at stake.

Saying that adequate legal representation for all is fundamental to justice, the Times added, "That is especially important in tough times."

These are tough times. State legislators and the Governor have been unable to pass a state budget; public defense reform is just one of many important issues caught in the impasse. We remain hopeful that the public defense reform measures proposed by the Governor back in January, with improvements by the Assembly and Senate, will be included in the final budget. Our state leaders should recognize, as did the Times, that fundamental justice must be tended to in these hard economic times.

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