Legal Aid attorneys honored for Defend NY’s pretrial discovery reforms

August 14, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
Share this:

New York State’s historic pretrial discovery reforms, instituted in 2019, were designed to ensure a fairer legal process by mandating early evidence sharing by prosecutors with the defense. However, these reforms recently faced potential rollbacks in budget negotiations, spurred on by claims from certain lawmakers linking the reforms to rising crime rates.

Legal Aid attorneys Amanda Jack and Kalle Condliffe have been instrumental in defending these reforms. Their efforts were recognized by the New York State Defenders Association, which awarded them the Jonathan E. Gradess Service of Justice Award last month.

Before the 2019 reforms, it was common practice for prosecutors to withhold evidence until the last minute, resulting in wrongful convictions. The reforms, though lauded for introducing transparency and due process, have been contentious, especially in relation to funding. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have emphasized the need for sufficient funding to handle the increased workload brought on by the reforms.

Recently, as the rollback gained traction in budget negotiations, it was met with resistance, especially from public defense firms like The Legal Aid Society. The push for rollback came primarily from a group of New York City district attorneys. Their proposal would shift the onus of ensuring complete evidence disclosure from the prosecutors to the defense. This proposal, along with others, was eventually excluded from the final budget.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

However, discussions around discovery reforms remain active, with district attorneys signaling their intent to continue advocating for changes.


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment