This chapter examines how co-defendants came to be represented by Legal Aid Society or 18-B Panel attorneys at Criminal Court arraignment. To determine whether the Panel was assigned to the more serious multiple-defendant cases, we examined the procedures by which co-defendants were allocated between the Society and the Panel. Thereafter we analyzed our observation sample of multiple-defendant cases in terms of each defendant’s relative factual culpability, prior criminal record and bail status. Our observations revealed that the distribution process was not random. The Society chose the co-defendant it would represent and, in effect, referred the other, usually more seriously charged co-defendant(s) to Panel attorneys.
This power over case assignments had two important consequences. First, the proportionate share of Supreme Court cases handled by the 18-BPanel increased substantially. Second, the Panel was left with proportionately more demanding lawyering tasks, including cases carrying a greater likelihood of trial.
Examines why some cases are shedded post-arraignment due to Society attorneys' failure to appear or undertake essential tasks, and the Society's explanation.
The effect of comparative costs of caseloads on distribution of cases between Panel and Society attorneys, and New York City's emphasis on cost efficiency.
Goals of the indigent defense system do not account for actual needs of defendants, leading to deficiencies within the system.
DOJ guidance for mentally impaired detainees in immigration removal proceedings should be amended to provide counsel at earlier signs of incompetence.