Basile proposes providing lawyers for the poor in civil cases

Stony Point councilman and state Senate candidate Tom Basile on Tuesday proposed expanding the guarantee of legal representation in New York by requiring the state to provide lawyers for poor people in civil cases, in addition to criminal cases.

“If you’re a mother involved in a landlord-tenant dispute or need an order of protection against an abuser, you need an attorney to help handle your case,” Basile, one of two Republicans running for the 39th Senate District seat Bill Larkin is vacating, said in a press release. “Right now, people are left with the untenable position of representing themselves in court, which places any plaintiff at a significant disadvantage, going into debt to hire an attorney or hoping to obtain pro bono legal services through often understaffed agencies. None of those options are acceptable.”

Basile pledged to introduce a bill expanding the right to counsel and sharply increasing funding for non-profits like Legal Services of the Hudson Valley that represent poor clients. He said the state, not local governments, would cover the additional expense, but did not offer a cost estimate.

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