Mayor De Blasio, City Council Speaker Johnson Announce Budget Agreement to Fund Salary Parity for Public Defenders, Civil Legal Services With City Lawyers

Janet Sabel, CEO and Attorney-In-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, released the following statement responding to a Fiscal Year 2020 budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson that will fund salary parity for local staff at public defender and legal services organizations with Corporation Counsel:

“As we have said before, a budget is a reflection of values, and with this funding allocation, the City reaffirms its commitment to supporting our staff and the communities that we serve.

The success of our continued mission to end mass incarceration and reform an antiquated criminal justice system, defend immigrant communities from unjust detention and deportation, and protect low-income tenants from landlord harassment and illegal evictions, requires that New Yorkers have unfettered access to experienced and effective counsel. Closing the parity divide will ensure that our clients get the vigorous representation that they rightfully deserve and that our staff is paid a dignified wage commensurate with their courtroom adversaries.

The Legal Aid Society hails Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and many others who rallied with us to prioritize this cause over the last several weeks.

Lastly, today’s agreement would not have been possible if it weren’t for the tireless advocacy of our staff who worked daily to bring light to this injustice and its consequences on their lives and the people that we represent.”