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NY governor vetoes plan to have state pay for defending poor

Jan 3, 2017

Credit npr.org

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a proposal to have the state pay for public defenders. His decision means that at least for now, individual counties will largely keep footing the bill for defending poor people accused of crimes.

The Democratic governor nixed the measure Saturday night.

He said he supports having the state pay to improve criminal defense for the indigent. But he said the legislation went too far and included hundreds of millions of dollars for legal services in family court and other settings.

The legislation followed a 2014 settlement between the Cuomo administration and New York Civil Liberties Union requiring better indigent defense services in Suffolk, Washington, Ontario, Onondaga and Schuyler counties.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman says she's "deeply disappointed" in the veto.