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NYS lawmakers, Gov. Hochul nearing agreement on pay increase for assigned counsel

New York State lawmakers might be inching closer to agreement that would raise pay rates for assigned counsel and public defenders.

A lawyers for the Attorney General’s Office said on Thursday that the Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul are close to reaching an agreement to raise the rates.


Related: Cayuga County public defenders join statewide symbolic boycott over wages, caseloads

The current rate for assigned counsel and public defenders in New York is $75 an hour, about half the rate in the federal court system, according to Ithaca Journal. New York’s rate has not been increased since 2003. Public defenders statewide held a boycott last week, where they refused to take on new cases in protest of large caseloads and stagnant rates.

The state Assembly and Senate both included pay increases for assigned counsel in their proposed budgets. Governor Kathy Hochul shot down those proposals.

Lawyer Mark Funk of Monroe County’s Conflict Defender Office also criticized the fact that the burden to pay lawyers in assigned counsel cases is on counties rather than the state.



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