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January 4, 2011

Oswego County Begins Audit of Assigned Counsel Plan

A private firm of certified public accountants has begun reviewing vouchers submitted by attorneys working for Oswego County's Assigned Counsel plan. The Oswego County Assigned Counsel Plan and the County Legislature are looking for recommendations on areas of improvement and ways of making the program more cost-effective.

New York State municipal law requires counties to provide legal defense for indigent persons in local criminal court, county courts, Family Court, and Appellate Courts. Private attorneys are assigned by judges to represent persons who don't have means to provide their own legal defense. The program has been in existence since 1967.

"While the program is audited by the county, there has never been an independent audit of the dates and hours submitted by attorneys," said County Legislator Milferd Potter, chairman of the Legislature's Strategic Planning and Government Committee. "The County Assigned Counsel Plan requested the audit in order to identify any discrepancies and provide recommendations to improve the efficiency of the plan."

In addition to Legislator Potter, the committee includes legislators Michael Kunzwiler, vice chairman, District 18; Mark Fruce, District 24; Robert Hayes, District 10; Douglas Malone, District 20; James Oldenburg, District 14; and John Proud, District 7.


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