January 6, 2009
Assigned Counsel Attorneys Learn Latest Case Law from SU Professor
Syracuse University Professor Gary Kelder emphasizes a point during his presentation to attorneys in the Oswego County Assigned Counsel Plan. The plan sponsors training for attorneys working with indigent persons on a periodic basis.
OSWEGO - Attorneys who are members of Oswego County's Assigned Counsel Plan had the opportunity to learn about the latest case law on search and seizure issues recently. The Legislative Chambers of the Oswego County Office Building served as a classroom for a two-hour lecture by Syracuse University Professor Gary T. Kelder.
The continuing legal education program was sponsored by the county's Assigned Counsel Plan and coordinated by Stephen C. Greene Jr., Esq., Administrator of the Assigned Counsel Plan. Professor Kelder graciously donated his time and services to the program, saving county funds.
“Professor Kelder has taught for many years at Syracuse University Law School, is a former prosecutor and appellate attorney, and has instructed many fine legal and judicial associations on New York State criminal law and criminal procedure. During these tough financial times, his generosity is greatly appreciated,” said Greene. “Thirty-five attorneys gained a working knowledge of the very latest case law on the subject of search and seizure during this excellent program.”
County governments are required to provide legal representation to indigent persons charged with crimes and those who are involved in Family Court matters dealing with child custody, support, visitation and neglect. Families earning 125 percent of the federal income poverty guidelines are eligible to receive assigned counsel. The presiding judge determines eligibility and assigns attorneys.
“Legal services for the poor are mandated by the state and the U.S. Constitution,” said Greene. “In Gideon vs. Wainwright 372 V.S. 335 (1963), the United States Supreme Court ruled that state courts are required to provide counsel to indigent defendants in criminal cases.”
Oswego County's assigned counsel plan includes 45 local attorneys. They handle approximately 2,000 cases a year, utilizing the resources of their private offices, and are paid an hourly rate set by statute.
The assigned counsel program has been in existence since 1968 in Oswego County. Ramsey Ludington, Esq. was the first administrator, followed by the late Hosmer Culkin, Esq., the late George Valette, Esq., and Greene.
“The continuing legal education program demonstrates to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the state Comptroller's Office, and the NYS Defenders Association that the Oswego County assigned counsel program makes continuing efforts to improve the quality of indigent defense services provided in Oswego County,” said Greene. “Professor Kelder's course examined numerous cases involving electronic surveillance, search warrants, judicial orders, arrests and related issues. His presentation is a valuable service to clients, local attorneys and our county taxpayers.”
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