Cuomo, union agree on defending poor

 ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his administration’s agreement with the New York Civil Liberties Union to improve criminal defense for the state’s poor addresses longstanding inequities.

The agreement settles the lawsuit the NYCLU filed seven years ago, saying New York systemically provided inadequate staff and money for constitutionally required defense lawyers in the 57 counties outside New York City.

Cuomo says his administration inherited the problem, saying he’s proud of a resolution “that results in a fairer, more humane justice system.”

The suit sought attorneys at all arraignments, smaller caseloads and better funding, with the state taking over the county-based system.

It’s been projected to cost more than $100 million to bring individual public defender caseloads from about 680 last year down to the recommended national standard of 400 maximum.

Details of the deal are expected to be announced Tuesday at a 3 p.m. news conference.

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