Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chief Judge Calls on NY to Uphold Spirit of Gideon

At a legislative hearing in January on the state's IOLA program and the crisis in civil legal services, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals called on the state to uphold the principle of access to justice, noting that "the spirit of Gideon applies to the civil side." With great conviction Judge Lippman described the judiciary's dismay at the hardships experienced by the skyrocketing number of low-income litigants forced to "fight alone for life's basic necessities," as well as the increasing burden low-income litigants pose for the functioning of the courts.

Judge Lippman's testimony is approximately at minutes 15-25 of the video, with questions from legislators extending his appearance through minute 38. At approximately 4 hours 15 minutes into the hearing the committee patched in California Assemblymember Mike Feuer by videoconference. Feuer, sponsor of California's recently passed Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act (A.B. 590), described for the committee the content of the legislation and the process of getting it passed.


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