Monday, August 13, 2007

New York City Prosecutors
and Legal Aid Society Receive
Additional City Funding

The New York Law Journal recently reported that the New York City Council has given the Legal Aid Society (LAS) $85.4 million, the full amount of city funding it had requested for its criminal defense operations in the fiscal year that started July 1. The city's six prosecutors' offices also all received increases in the recently enacted budget.

The mayor in his May executive budget had approved $74.6 million for LAS' criminal defense operation. That amount is $3 million higher than last year's appropriation, but the total was still $10.8 million less than what LAS said it needed. The Journal reported that the the City Council added the full $10.8 million requested by LAS. The additional money "was critically needed to increase staff to handle a rising case load," said Steven Banks, LAS' attorney-in-chief.

LAS will now double the number of new attorneys it brings on board in October to more than 40. Though staffing levels fluctuate, Legal Aid is aiming to add 13 lawyers to its criminal defense division, bringing it to a total of 488 staff attorneys and supervisors, Mr. Banks said.

The Journal also reported that Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the $5 million in new funding that Mr. Bloomberg provided in his executive budget for the six prosecutors' offices was "helpful." Citywide, funding for the six prosecution offices climbed by $10.1 million to $253.3 million this fiscal year from FY 2007. The City Council added $4.1 million to the $248.2 million provided by the mayor in his executive budget for prosecutors, the same amount as it added in FY 2007.

CSO subscribes to the New York Law Journal, and you may read it in our office or in the library. In addition, the NYLJ is online here.

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