Capital defense attorneys won an important victory last week when an upstate New York judge ruled that lawyers representing indigent capital defendants were entitled to collect from the State not only their own fees, but also the fees of their associates and paralegals.

Genesee County Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. McCarthy, in Mahoney v. Pataki, I-1999-45939, issued a declaratory judgment against the State, which has refused to pay for associate and paralegal fees in capital cases. McCarthy noted that the New York Court of Appeals in 1996 properly approved a fee schedule for assigned counsel defending capital murder charges and for associates and paralegals who assist them.

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