Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Website and Online Forum for Rochester Area Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Monroe County Public Defender's Office has introduced a new website (see) which, in part, contains links to some of that office's excellent training materials (see) and to numerous helpful articles on aspects of New York criminal law authored by Jim Eckert (see), a frequent contributor to this blog.Additionally, the website is a portal to the "Defender Discussion Forum".

The forum, is a bulletin board that will allow defense attorneys (criminal and family court) to post topics on issues of concern to the defense community, seek advice on any issues they may have, or help other attorneys with advice on problems or issues. In addition to an area where defense attorneys can assist one another in resolving issues or addressing common concerns, the forum will be a place for posting helpful information such as CLE materials for CLEs conducted by the Monroe County Public Defender's Office.The forum contains multiple subject areas (moderated by experienced attorneys) relevant to representing persons in the criminal and family courts of Monroe County.

The forum is not a listserv. In order for an attorney to see the posts on the forum, read responses, download documents, or post to the forum one must sign-on to the forum. Posts will not be automatically emailed to particpants unless one chooses that as an option. (To have posts emailed to you automatically, you must "subscribe" to the sub-forum in which you wish to receive posts by email. To do this, go to the Forum, select a sub-forum [e.g., "Discovery"] you would like to subscribe to and look in the lower right hand side of the forum page, just above "Jump to box" and click "Subscribe Forum". If you ever want to stop getting the emails, go back and click "unsubscribe forum".)

In order to have access to the Defender Discussion Forum, one must first register for a name and password. If you are a defense attorney who practices in the criminal courts and/or family courts of the greater Rochester area you are welcome to join. To register, please go to the Monroe County Public Defender website here.Click on "Legal Information" and "Defender Discussion Forum". You will then be taken to a sign-on screen where you can begin the registration process. You will be asked to supply a username, password, and email address. Once you have registered, you may be contacted by the board administrator, prior to your registration being approved, for additional information to confirm that you are a member of the assigned counsel program (criminal or family court), an employee of an institutional defender office, or an attorney in private practice who represents persons in the criminal and/or family courts in the greater Rochester area. This information will not be shared with anyone. (Should you have any problems registering with the Forum, please feel free to contact our Forum administrator, Jim Eckert at

Please keep in mind that although registration will be limited to defense attorneys who represent clients in criminal court or family court, the Public Defender's office cannot control how information posted to the forum is disseminated. Thus, anything one posts to the forum is not "private". Also, the forum is for a discussion of issues, so please refrain from personal attacks on judges, other attorneys, or litigants, or expressing views on a subject not directly related to defense work.

Caveat:The Defender Discussion Forum is provided as a service to the defense community. The information contained on the forum is provided as a service to the defense bar, and does not constitute legal advice. Although the goal is to provide quality information, the Monroe County Public Defender make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in the forum. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for your own research. Therefore, Monroe County and the Monroe County Public Defender Office expressly denies liability and undertakes no responsibility for the reliance on, or consequences of, using information or services found in the forum.

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