ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York is pouring new state funding into its public defense system, which is so beleaguered the poor have often had limited representation or none at all.
Lawmakers this month approved the statewide caseload caps and money for counties to pay for legal services for defendants who cannot afford to hire their own.
The state will reimburse counties for the improvements in indigent defense coverage based on plans developed by the independent Indigent Legal Services office.
State officials estimate $250 million in costs when the funding is fully implemented in 2023.
Executive director of the New York State Defenders Association Jonathan Gradess says the state will also determine new caseload caps based on national recommendations.
Public defenders say they are hopeful the changes will encourage broader reforms to the system.