The Legal Aid Society has urged the federal judges in the Southern District not to adopt a plan involving the consideration of civil rights cases from the Bronx and Manhattan against the New York Police Department. At a public comment hearing last week on a pilot program put in place in 2011 to handle Bronx and Manhattan cases alleging excessive force, false arrest or malicious prosecution, The Legal Aid Society and private civil rights lawyers said that the pilot program's procedures tilt unfairly toward the City's Law Department and have done little to speed settlements.
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In its continuing reporting on potential wrongful conviction cases involving retired Brooklyn homicide detective Louis Scarcella, The New York Times has found that the phrases “You got it right" and "I was there" appear in confessions in a number of his cases. The Legal Aid Society is reviewing 20 of the nearly 50 Scarcella cases that the Brooklyn District Attorney's office has identified as potential problem cases.
Last month, Karen Cacace, Supervising Attorney of The Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Unit, Legal Aid New Leadership Program Member Neil Steinkamp, Managing Director of Stout Risus & Ross, Inc. (SRR), and Marlene Halpern, the Society’s Supervising Attorney for Pro Bono, participated as panelists at the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference.
Steven Banks, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, said that with additional resources Legal Aid can and will provide high-quality and cost-effective representation to additional New Yorkers accused of crimes as the City proceeds with its indigent defense plan that will reduce the number of conflict cases assigned to 18-B attorneys.
Last week, Steven Banks, The Legal Aid Society's Attorney-in-Chief, participated with New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Council members in the announcement of the Council's proposed legislative initiative to better prepare the City for future storms and emergencies. The Council's initiative follows up on a series of oversight hearings on the City's response to Superstorm Sandy at which Legal Aid staff testified.
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