The office of New York City’s mayor has recently proposed the use of institutional providers to handle conflict cases, a move that could sharply limit the Assigned Counsel Plan, a group of attorneys who are appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants. Speaking from a legal as well as a practical perspective, informed by my own experience as a former member of the plan, as well as my work as a Criminal Court judge over the past five years, I believe this proposal to be a terrible mistake.
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