- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A group of 15 upstate New York counties is urging the state to take over their responsibility for providing lawyers for the poor in criminal cases.

The counties are calling for an adequately funded statewide system in place of the “underfunded” county systems.

Their proposal comes as a seven-year-old lawsuit heads toward trial.

The 15 counties are St. Lawrence, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Franklin, Orleans, Schuyler, Genesee, Jefferson, Oswego, Wayne, Greene, Columbia, Cortland, Steuben and Tioga.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is suing the state, alleging failure to provide adequate representation for poor defendants upstate.

Talks are continuing toward a settlement with the trial postponed to next week.

New York’s Office of Indigent Legal Services reported that attorneys defending the poor outside New York City averaged 680 cases last year.

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