Seymour James And Tami Steckler Selected To Attend Federal Indigent Defense Summit As New York Representatives

Seymour James, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice, and Tamara Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice, were selected by the U.S. Department of Justice as the primary defenders of adults and juveniles in New York State and were invited to participate as New York representatives for the 2010 National Symposium on Indigent Defense held in Washington, D.C., on February 18 and 19.

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, with the support of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, sponsored this event. The symposium brought together delegations of defenders, key policymakers, and practitioners from State and local criminal and juvenile justice systems across the country to explore ways in which the indigent defense community can effectively forge alliances, build and strengthen innovative partnerships, and otherwise collaborate in ways that enhance indigent defense services for adults and juveniles.

Attorney General Eric Holder gave the keynote address, identifying three areas of focus for the Department of Justice: commitment to an ongoing dialogue; raising awareness; and expanding the role of the public defender. On Friday, February 26th, the Justice Department confirmed a report that it will be launching an Access to Justice initiative focusing on indigent defense. Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School will begin work in Washington next week as senior counselor for Access to Justice. He will coordinate with judges and lawyers across the country with the goal of finding ways to improve the quality of indigent defense.