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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts


Delaware County – Assigned Counsel (2016M-384)


Released: August 18, 2017 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the County’s assigned counsel plan and the implementation of that plan, and how courts within the County determined assigned counsel eligibility for the period January 1, 2015 through June 9, 2016.

Background

Delaware County is located in eastern New York, consists of 19 towns and 10 villages and has approximately 48,000 residents. The County is governed by a Board of Supervisors, which is composed of 19 elected members. The Board is responsible for establishing a plan for providing counsel to individuals charged with a crime, or otherwise entitled by law to counsel, who are financially unable to afford counsel, and the County paid over $2.9 million for assigned counsel costs over the last three years.

Key Findings

  • County officials began working with the Delaware County Bar Association (DCBA) to update the County’s assigned counsel plan when the State Office of Indigent Legal Services (OILS) issued guidance for determining assigned counsel eligibility in April of 2016
  • County Law and State Executive Law were amended in April 2017 and now require counties to implement OILS criteria by April 1, 2023

Key Recommendations

  • In consultation with legal counsel, continue efforts to work with the DCBA to review and update the County’s assigned counsel process to incorporate criteria and guidance provided by OILS.
  • Continue to periodically monitor the County’s process to ensure it meets OILS required standards no later than 2023.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236