Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 24, 2013

Seventh part-time 'conflict' attorney OK'd by legislature

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — The Niagara County Legislature has approved creation of a seventh part-time “conflict” attorney to represent impoverished residents in criminal and family court proceedings.

The attached salary is $47,000. There are no fringe benefits for the new hire, according to the hiring motion.

The Assigned Counsel and Conflict Administrator’s Office employs attorneys to take on poor residents’ legal defense work in cases where public defenders cannot, due to conflicts of interest.

Say, for instance, two people need defense in the same case. The public defender’s office can only represent one; the other will be defended by a conflict attorney or private counsel on the county’s dime.

The Assigned Counsel office’s caseload has increased significantly over the past few years, according to 10th District Legislator David Godfrey, chairman of the legislature’s community safety and security committee.

Meanwhile the state Office of Indigent Legal Services has put up new, tougher standards for the provision of conflict-defense services. Niagara is hiring another attorney “to maintain manageable work loads (and) help ensure quality representation” as is directed in those new standards, Godfrey said.

Legislators Dennis Virtuoso and Owen Steed, both D-Niagara Falls, voted against hiring another conflict attorney.

The county should be looking at alternatives to adding more people to the payroll, such as sharing conflict defense services with another county, Virtuoso said.

The Legislature OK’d creation of a conflict counsel stable in 2006-07 to cut spending on private attorneys, according to 1st District Legislator Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville. The difference in pay is about $30 per hour versus $75 per hour for private counsel, he said. Cumulative savings from that move is about $2 million, he added.

In other business last week, the Legislature:

• Awarded the job of building a regulation-size basketball court at Krull Park to American Paving & Excavating Inc. of Clarence Center, which submitted the low bid of $46,850 for the work. Eleven area companies submitted offers up to $73,000.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results