Thursday, April 3, 2014

Notices of Public Hearing on Proposed Local Laws A, B and C of the Year 2014 For the Village of Interlaken, New York

Notice is hereby given that public hearings will be held before the Board of Trustees of the Village of Interlaken, New York, at the Village Office Building, 8369 Main St, Interlaken, New York at 7:00 pm on the 10th day of April, 2014, concerning:
Proposed Local Law A: “A local law to amend the Village Code of the Village of Interlaken § 38-1, ‘Residency requirements for certain officials.’”

Proposed Local Law B: “A local law to amend the Village Code of the Village of Interlaken § 110-4: ‘Brush, grass and weeds; accumulation of trash.’”

Proposed Local Law C: “A local law to amend the Village Code of the Village of Interlaken by repealing Sec. 133-18, ‘Schedule II: Stop Intersections.’”

At such time and place all persons interested in the subject matter thereof will be heard concerning the same.

The complete text of each proposed local law is available during normal business hours at the Office of the Village Clerk, 8369 Main St, Interlaken, New York.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

11-Year-Old Charged In Massive Fire

Seneca County Sheriff's investigators announced Wednesday that they found the person responsible for a massive fire in the Town of Ovid: an 11-year-old boy....

According to the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, an 11-year-old was playing with a lighter and accidentally set trash on fire behind a Chinese restaurant. He tried to put it out but couldn't, and ran away. Propane tanks behind the buildings turned it into a massive fire. Wednesday, he was charged with arson....

The sheriff's office is not naming the boy, who is charged as a juvenile. He's charged with arson in the fourth degree. The town attorney explained that's because the sheriff says the boy recklessly started a fire, but wasn't trying to set fire to the buildings.

”The judge would be required, if (the boy) is found liable, to do the least restrictive disposition that's consistent with the needs and best interests of the child, as well as the protection of the community,” said Ovid Town Attorney Steven Getman. “So, the judge would balance all of those things.”

The boy’s case will be referred to family court, according to the sheriff’s office. Getman said if the boy is found guilty, he could be sent to a juvenile detention facility, placed on probation, given counseling or treatment—that's all up to the judge.

The charges against the juvenile are accusations and a respondent is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law, Getman noted.

For more information on the Ovid Fire Victim's Fund, click here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Schuyler Co. youth gets one-year detention
A fifteen year old Schuyler County boy was found guilty of being a Person in Need of Supervision and placed in custody on Wednesday by the Schuyler County Family Court.

According County Attorney Geoffrey Rossi, the teen was found to have run away from home on several occasions and used marijuana. Other evidence showed that the teen had a history of school misbehaviors, alcohol use, physical aggression, stealing, and other problems.

Based on the evidence, Family Court Judge Dennis Morris directed that the teen be placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services for detention and a therapeutic foster home placement of up to one year.

The county was represented in the case by assistant county attorney Steven Getman. At the hearing, Getman recommended that the teen’s legal guardian be ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, due to reports that there was adult drug use in the teen’s home. Morris granted that request as well.

The teen was represented by assigned counsel from the New York State Attorneys for Children program. The respondent’s name and other identifying information is being withheld due to his age.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Legal links of interest for the week ending February 28, 2014

Attorney Steven Getman reports on some of the stories about lawyers and the law for the last week of February:
Arizona Religious Bill That Angered Gays Vetoed: The Republican governor said she gave the legislation careful deliberation in talking to her lawyers, citizens, businesses and lawmakers on both sides of the debate.

Calif. student wins $50G in Constitution lawsuit: A California college student who was blocked last year from handing out copies of the Constitution gave his school a lesson in civics and the law, winning a $50,000 settlement and an agreement to revise its speech codes.

Homeland Security wants national database using license-plate scanners: The Department of Homeland Security wants a nationwide database with information from license-plate readers that scan every vehicle crossing their paths, according to a solicitation last week from the agency.

In New Orleans courts, the legal gusher BP cannot contain: the source of much of BP’s ire lies with a legal donnybrook over a settlement designed to compensate individuals and businesses for economic harm caused by the spill. BP alleges that many of the 256,478 claims filed — by a parade of fishermen, hotels, surf shops, law firms, nursing homes, strip clubs and others — are unjustified or even fraudulent.

Justices appear divided over greenhouse gas regulation: this issue could be major test of executive authority, with some groups painting President Obama as misusing his power and ignoring the will of the legislature.

Law professor says US is at “constitutional tipping point”: Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the presidential use of executive orders threatens has created “a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system.”

Man Framed by Detective Will Get $6.4 Million From New York City After Serving 23 Years for Murder: The comptroller’s quick acceptance of liability in the high-profile conviction is also significant because the case is the first of what is expected to be a series of wrongful conviction claims by men who were sent to prison based on the flawed investigative work of the detective, Louis Scarcella.

For more on each of these stories, click the links above.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Suppression ruling issued in case of alleged sexual abuse

Finger Lakes Times:
WATERLOO — Seneca County Judge Dennis Bender has ruled statements by a town resident accused of sexually abusing two young boys can be used if the case goes to trial.

In a ruling issued earlier this month, Bender said police properly gave Ronald Spoor his Miranda rights before statements he made to them in December 2012. The statements, some of which are on an audiotape, were the focus of a suppression hearing last month in Spoor’s case….

Spoor’s attorney, Steven Getman, argued police improperly gave Spoor his Miranda warning …. Getman sought to have the audiotape suppressed and not played at Spoor’s trial, which has not been scheduled.

Spoor said he had several beers before Grbic arrived at his house, had trouble understanding the Miranda rights and has difficulty reading. He claimed police coerced him into a confession after he repeatedly denied the allegations….

Getman said while he was disappointed in the ruling on the statements, he was happy to see Bender rule that uncharged crimes …can’t be used at trial.

“If the jury listens to the recording, we hope they will see the context in which those statements were made,” Getman said.

The charges against the defendants are accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getman reappointed to ethics board

Steven J. Getman has been reappointed to serve as a member of the Tompkins County Ethics Advisory Board.

Getman was reappointed to the board by the Tompkins County legislature at its meeting December 17, 2013. His term expires December 31, 2017.

Under provisions of the County Code of Ethics, the five-member board meets at least once a year and at other times, as convened by the Chair. Among its responsibilities, the board takes testimony and receives complaints concerning alleged unethical practices, which may be submitted by any individual. It also reviews financial disclosure statements filed by County officials and recommends the manner in which any conflicts of interest may be resolved.

An attorney, Getman is of counsel to the law firm of Franklin & Gabriel, in Ovid, New York, where he represents a wide variety of clients on civil and criminal matters, including municipal law and criminal law. He also serves part-time as an assistant county attorney in the Schuyler County Attorney’s office, located in Watkins Glen, New York.

In addition to his law practice, Getman is an adjunct professor in the Keuka College Criminal Justice program.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Accused molester’s alleged confession attacked

Finger Lakes Times:
Ronald Spoor… faces charges of predatory sexual assault against a child and criminal sexual act, both felonies, for allegedly touching [two] boys’ private areas while they were sleeping at his house. The predatory sexual assault charge, a class A-2 felony, is punishable by up to life in prison….

Spoor’s attorney, Steven Getman, is arguing police improperly gave Spoor his Miranda warning in Farmington and should have given him the warning in Waterloo. Getman is seeking to have the audiotape suppressed and not played at Spoor’s trial.

Spoor’s trial hasn’t been scheduled.

Spoor also testified at the hearing. Under questioning from Getman, he said he had several beers before [New York State Police] arrived at his house and had trouble understanding the Miranda rights. He claimed police coerced him into a confession after he repeatedly denied the allegations.

“They kept questioning me and saying I did it,” Spoor said. “They twisted it around when I said I might have touched him”


“He felt he had to confess or he would be arrested,” Getman said. “It was a tainted statement.”

During his testimony, Spoor said he has no prior criminal record other than a DWI arrest in the 1980s.

[Seneca County Judge Dennis] Bender will issue a written decision on whether the tape can be played at Spoor’s trial.

The charges against the defendant are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty in a court of law.