Memorializing Governor Kathy Hochul to proclaim March 18, 2023, as Gideon Day in the State of New York

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Senate Resolution No. 556


MEMORIALIZING Governor Kathy Hochul to proclaim
March 18, 2023, as Gideon Day in the State of New

WHEREAS, When what is now New York State was still a colony of Great
Britain, the common law recognized that counsel should be assigned by
the court for the defense of persons accused of crime unable to afford a
lawyer; and

WHEREAS, The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution,
which was ratified by New York State in 1790, and is part of the Bill of
Rights, says that all accused persons in criminal prosecutions shall
have the right to assistance of counsel for their defense; and

WHEREAS, The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
says that States may not deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law, and may not deny any person the
equal protection of the law; and

WHEREAS, The New York State Constitution provides a right to counsel
and says that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the
State's laws; and

WHEREAS, Prior to 1963, New York State did not provide for routine
appointment and payment of counsel for all people charged with crimes
and financially unable to hire a lawyer for their cases; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court recognized in 1963, in
Gideon v Wainwright, that because the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of
counsel is "fundamental and essential to a fair trial," it must be
enforced by the States under the Fourteenth Amendment; if people who
lack financial means and are accused of crime had to face their accusers
without legal assistance, constitutional and other rights could not be
realized, the decision said; and

WHEREAS, The Gideon Court said that, "from the very beginning, our
state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on
procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials
before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before
the law"; and

WHEREAS, Following the Gideon decision, New York State established a
statutory scheme mandating public defense under County Law article 18-B;

WHEREAS, As New York's Court of Appeals said in 2010, "Gideon is not
now controversial either as an expression of what the Constitution
requires or as an exercise in elemental fair play"; and

WHEREAS, Gideon's promise of representation has been vital for New
Yorkers in their defense and the Gideon decision continues to inspire
work to improve and perfect the right to counsel; and

WHEREAS, March 18, 2023, is the 60th anniversarythe right to
counsel; and Gideon v Wainwright decision; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
memorialize Governor Kathy Hochul to proclaim March 18, 2023, as Gideon
Day in the State of New York; and be it further

RESOLVED, That copies of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to The Honorable Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York State;
the New York State Defenders Association; and the New York State Office
of Indigent Legal Services.


  • 16 / Mar / 2023
  • 21 / Mar / 2023
  • 21 / Mar / 2023

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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