NYLPI Joins 50+ Civil Legal Organizations in Letter Urging Governor Hochul to Stop the ILSF Sweep and Fund Public Defense

March 21, 2024

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Legal Services

NYLPI has signed a letter endorsed by more than fifty legal services and advocacy organizations that urges Governor Kathy Hochul to fund the Indigent Legal Services Fund (ILSF).

Governor Hochul correctly removed a $100 million proposed sweep of the IOLA Fund, which supports civil legal services after a public outcry; however, criminal and family court legal services are funded by New York State through the Indigent Legal Services Fund (ILSF). While the Senate rightfully rejected the sweep in its One House budget, the Assembly and Governor are still considering it. NYLPI stands with these coalition partners in urging New York State leadership to reject it.

“As you negotiate the final budget, we urge you to reject the proposed sweep of $234 million from the Indigent Legal Services Fund in the FY25 Executive Budget. These funds are crucial to ensure that low-income New Yorkers receive the high-quality legal representation they deserve and are entitled to by the United States Constitution. The ILS Fund must be restored. 

Public defenders meet people at some of the worst moments of their lives, and help them through to the other side. Without sufficient funding from the ILSF, many defender offices around the state will not have sufficient resources to provide many critical services to their clients. In addition, attorneys will be back to handling too many cases at one time, increasing the risk of missing important legal and factual issues. Large caseloads also lead attorneys to leave the public interest field, adding to the attrition that was experienced during the pandemic.”

Read the full letter here.

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