Developing performance indicators for assigned counsel and a data system to track their representation.
New York City Population: 8,491,079
Cases per Year Assigned by ACP to Private Attorneys: 110,000
In New York City, indigent defense is provided by several large institutional providers as well as private attorneys (also known as “18-b” attorneys) who are coordinated by the Assigned Counsel Plan (ACP). ACP is staffed by only two administrators who are responsible for supervising around 700 active attorneys who handle approximately 110,000 cases per year. These attorneys are only loosely affiliated and do not have the opportunities for professional development provided by institutional defenders. In addition, ACP data are collected by the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) through a voucher-based system, rather than being monitored by ACP administrators. ACP and DOF have not previously been able to coordinate their efforts to measure both payment and performance.
The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) facilitates partnerships among the agencies and stakeholders involved in crime-fighting and criminal justice in New York City. MOCJ is working with ACP and DOF to retool the vouchering system so they can collect additional information about private attorneys’ performance. Professor Steve Zeidman of the CUNY Law School provides his expertise on the history and structure of ACP.
Data Collection & Research
The Center for Court Innovation began by performing independent research and development for the New York State Uniformed Court System and has expanded to launching evidence-based demonstration projects throughout the United States and around the world. In 2014, CCI developed performance indicators and recommended data system improvements for Massachusetts’ statewide public defender agency.
CCI is identifying best practices and performance indicators for New York City’s 18-b attorneys, and reviewing DOF’s current information technology system to recommended improvements needed for tracking these performance indicators. CCI is also conducting focus groups with judges and other stakeholders as part of a needs assessment of ACP. Their two-year research project will be completed in 2017.