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NYCLU: Settlement reached with Ontario County over poor or indigent defendants

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CANANDAIGUA, New York — The New York Civil Liberties Union says it has reached an agreement with a central New York county it sued over how it handles providing criminal defense for poor or indigent defendants.

The advocacy group says Thursday the settlement with Ontario County comes after it sued five counties in 2007 over their public defense systems. The NYCLU says Ontario County has improved the quality of its program and has created a public defender's office.

Ontario County administrator John Garvey said they have made significant improvements and could serve as a model for other counties.

The NYCLU sued Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties to demand reforms. The lawsuit is scheduled for trial against the remaining counties in the fall.

The settlement is subject to final approval in state court.

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