80 West Main St Suite 300
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: 585 753-3480
Fax: 585 753-3489
The Conflict Defender Office and Assigned Counsel Plan is the result of a cooperative effort between Monroe County and the Monroe County Bar Association. Through the Conflict Defender Office, private attorneys represent clients in all felony matters and in the local criminal courts where the Monroe County Public Defender Office has a conflict of interest and cannot represent the client. Full-time staff attorneys in the Conflict Defender Office represent clients in Rochester City Court misdemeanor cases, Monroe County Family Court cases and appellate cases in all courts where the Monroe County Public Defender's Office has a conflict of interest and cannot represent the client.
The Conflict Defender Office insures legal representation and a fair trial to qualified clients. The assigned counsel are private attorneys who qualify for panel membership and agree to accept such assignments. The staff attorneys are all full-time Assistant Conflict Defenders with extensive experience in the representation of clients in criminal and family law matters.
This division was conceptually developed through collaboration with the Monroe County Bar Association. It reflects an enhanced effort by the County to coordinate and fund the work of private attorneys appointed by the court to represent indigent clients. While the Public Defender’s Office usually provides legal services to indigent persons, occasions often arise in which two or more such individuals are accused of involvement in the same crime. Providing representation to more than one co-defendant can result in a conflict of interest for the Public Defender’s Office, and to avoid that possibility, the courts assign private counsel who receive compensation as regulated/mandated by New York State Law. Expenditures from the Legal Representation account involve payment of attorney fees, preparation costs for legal transcripts, and expenses associated with providing expert testimony (psychiatric evaluations, etc.). The account also provides funding for a full-time attorney along with one full-time and one part-time administrative support positions. Activities include the development and operation of a systematic process for the assignment of conflict cases, the design and implementation of internal and operational controls, voucher review, complaint resolution, new attorney orientation, continuing legal education, and the establishment of liaisons with various courts and the Bar Association. Beginning in January 1994, the Legal Representation division became responsible for the payment of foreign language and hearing impaired interpreters for services rendered in the local criminal courts. Under the Judiciary Law, the County is responsible for payment of these expenses.
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