As a part of the 2010-11 enacted State budget (A.9706C, Part E), operations of the Indigent Legal Service Fund (ILSF) have been significantly restructured. The Office of Indigent Legal Services will be created within the Executive Department to monitor, study and improve the quality of indigent legal services in New York State. The Office will report to a newly created Indigent Legal Services Board. The Office and Board have been given broad powers to collect information, monitor performance, distribute funds and take actions to improve the quality of indigent defense services.
The Office of Indigent Legal Services will transition future ILSF payments for indigent defense from an allocation based on net local expenditures to a performance-based grant program supported in part by new revenues. The new law sets out a transitional distribution structure from the Fund over the next four years beginning March 2011. New York City will receive annual payments of $40 million. Counties will receive payments as a percentage of their March 2010 distribution as follows:
The distributions for March 2011 will also be reduced by an additional 1.1 percent in accordance with the FMAP Contingency Allocation Plan (Chapter 313 of the Laws of 2010). OSC has prepared a schedule [pdf] that details the expected future payments from the ILSF based on these recent legislative changes. Both the distributions and the grants are subject to annual appropriation by the State Legislature as part of the annual State budget process. Although Orleans and Hamilton counties did not receive distributions in 2010 due to their inability to meet Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements, the law provides that they will receive payments based on what they would have received in March 2010 had they met the MOE requirements.
If you have any questions regarding the payment schedule or the roles and responsibilities of the new Office of Indigent Legal Services, please contact Bill Leahy, Director at (518) 486-5747 or email Bill.Leahy@ils.ny.gov.