Hurrell-Harring Lawsuit

In 2007, just one year after the release of The Final Report of Chief Judge Kaye’s Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services (Kaye Commission Report), the New York Civil Liberties Union sued New York State alleging that the State had systematically and structurally denied meaningful and effective representation to defendants entitled to publicly funded representation in violation of their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The Hurrell-Harring (HH) plaintiffs included criminal defendants from five counties with diverse methods of delivering public defense services ranging from public defender offices to legal aid societies to assigned private counsel. Subsequent to the filing of the lawsuit, the five counties were added as defendants. They are:

  1. Onondaga County;
  2. Ontario County;
  3. Schuyler County;
  4. Suffolk County; and
  5. Washington County

A Settlement was reached in October 2014, which the Albany County Supreme Court approved on March 11, 2015.

Lawsuit Documents

Complaint
Court of Appeals Decision
Hurrell-Harring Final Settlement

Announcements and News

November 14, 2014
Director Leahy's Letter to Attorney General Holder re: DOJ Statement of Interest

November 10, 2014
NY Law Journal: Indigent Legal Services OKs $950K Budget Boost

October 26, 2014
NY Times: A Rare Victory For Public Defense

October 22, 2014
ILS Director Leahy's Statement
New York State Defenders Association Statement
Chief Defenders Association of New York Statement
NY Times: Governor Pledges More Aid
Daily Record: State Accepts Responsibility for Public Defense
New York Law Journal: Plaintiffs Hope To Broaden Indigent Defense Pact

October 21, 2014
New York Civil Liberties Union Statement
Governor Cuomo's Statement
Attorney General Schneiderman's Statement

Additional Resources

The Kaye Commission Report (2006)