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UPDATED: NYSACDL Response to Governor Cuomo's EO 202.6 Regarding Providers of Essential Services

Friday, March 20, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennifer Van Ort
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Update - 3/22/2020 - NYSACDL has received the following response from Empire State Development:

"Law firms and other providers of legal services are essential businesses only to the extent that their services are currently needed to support the essential functions of health care providers, utilities, state and local governments, the federal government, financial institutions, businesses that have been designated as essential; or to support criminal defendants in court proceedings or individuals in emergency family court proceedings; or to participate in proceedings concerning the imminent release or detention of individuals subject to criminal or civil detention under any applicable provision of state or federal law, or proceedings to address emergency risks to health, safety, or welfare."


As a state-wide bar association, NYSACDL represents the collective interests of New York’s criminal defense attorneys as embodied by it's membership made up of private practitioners, public defenders, legal aid attorneys, and attorneys who serve on assigned counsel panels. While NYSACDL is aware of the grave public health risk posed by the COVID-19 Outbreak, and is grateful for the measures that the Governor and Empire State Development are implementing to safeguard New Yorkers against additional spread of the disease, it is our view that these attorneys are engaged every day in the provision of essential services to New Yorkers in the criminal justice system across the state, in both state and federal courts.
As such, on March 20, 2020, NYSACDL submitted a request to Empire State Development in response to the Governor's Executive Order 202.6 for the explicit designation of the state’s criminal defense attorneys as providers of essential services. Much of the work criminal defense attorneys do for New Yorkers in the criminal justice system cannot be done remotely and some courts across the state have directed that criminal defense attorneys appear in person for court proceedings. Additionally, State and Federal Courts remain open, and no criminal defense attorney in New York has been relieved of her or his responsibility to continue to provide essential legal services to their clients who are in the criminal justice system. These essential services include representing accused persons at arraignments and court appearances; and seeking relief for accused persons when those persons are suffering or likely to suffer a deprivation of liberty. NYSACDL will update its membership as soon as a response is received.