Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From the White House to your Home Town: legislative updates in Schuyler County

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce:
(L)earn more about what’s happening across the state and the country on Thursday, June 29 at Seneca Lodge in Watkins Glen at an event called "From the White House to Your Home Town - legislative updates and a conversation with your elected officials.
Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, and Alison Hunt from Congressman Tom Reed’s Office will discuss the current state of affairs and 2017 priorities. They will also provide updates on action at the federal and state level impact our local communities.
For more information, click here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Seneca County man who murdered son for money loses appeal

The Auburn Citizen reports that "The state's highest court has rejected an appeal from Karl Karlsen, a 56-year-old Seneca County man who admitted to killing his son so he could collect insurance money."
Karlsen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November 2013. At the time, Karlsen admitted to killing his 23-year-old son, Levi Karlsen, in 2008, when he intentionally caused a pick-up truck to fall off a jack and land on his son's chest.

During his plea, Karl Karlsen said he had obtained a $700,000 life insurance policy on his son's life roughly two weeks before the murder.... He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

In an appeal, attorney John Cirando argued that Karl Karlsen was improperly denied an attorney during police interrogations and that his statements to police were not voluntary. In addition, Cirando said his client's statements to his estranged wife should have been precluded under the spousal privilege law, that he did not waive his Miranda rights and that his guilty plea was not knowing or intelligent due to a lack of effective counsel.

On June 6, the state Court of Appeals denied the appeal, upholding the rulings of the lower courts.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Suspectology: Getting into the Child Sexual Offender’s Mind to Improve Interview Strategies

Getting into the mind of a child sexual offender can increase the success law enforcement may have when interviewing the offender and investigating the case.

This webinar, sponsored by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, will explore the background of child sexual abuse, factors affecting child sexual offenders, and discuss and distinguish the terms “child molester” and “pedophile.”

The workshop will also identify common child sexual abuse se defenses and law enforcement strategies, and discuss how a deeper understanding of the child sexual abuser typologies and factors can improve offender interview strategies.

For more on this program, click here.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fake ID and Underage Drinking Sweeps at Summer Concerts Across New York

New York State officials have launched "Operation Prevent," a 2017 summer concert crack down in conjunction with local law enforcement:
Investigators will continue to conduct sweeps at venues this summer including SPAC, Darien Lake, Jones Beach, Canalside in Buffalo, CMAC in Canandaigua and the Lakeview Amphitheater in Syracuse, as well as other events where underage concertgoers are likely to gather. DMV's Division of Field Investigation perform the investigations in partnership with the State Liquor Authority, New York State Park Police, New York State Police, and local law enforcement agencies.

During the concert season, DMV investigators work with the SLA and law enforcement entities to check identification documents. Patrons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents to purchase alcoholic beverages can be arrested and risk having their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year. Investigators from DMV, the SLA, and other entities use portable document verification machines to conduct forensic examinations of suspect documents using white light, UV light, and infrared light sources.
Already, fraudulent licenses from New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida have been recovered.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Seneca County's Woofstock grows into a must for dog lovers

The Ithaca Journal:
The fifth annual Woofstock, at Americana Vineyards Winery, 4367 East Covert Road in Interlaken, happens from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine. This year, a crowd of 2,000 is anticipated, a throng more than six times greater than five years ago....

Woofstock will benefit the Beverly Animal Shelter in Waterloo; Browncoat Cat Rescue in Ithaca; Fetch a Friend Rescue in Seneca Falls; Pet the Pet Program in Trumansburg; and Meals for Mutts in Webster.

For more on this event, click here.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Schuyler County hosts Rabies Clinic June 3

Hector--Schuyler County officials will be hosting a rabies clinic on June 3 at the Hector Fire Department, 5736 Route 414, Hector, New York. The clinic will run from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Vaccination is free of charge, but donations are appreciated.

Rabies is a serious virus of all mammals with no known cure. It causes neurological degeneration that ultimately leads to the death of the infected person or animal. Luckily, Rabies can be prevented with vaccination, and New York State requires by law the compulsory vaccination of all domestic dogs, cats and ferrets for the safety of the public. Compliance with Rabies Vaccination Laws is monitored by the New York State Department Of Health.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Exploring the Ethical Implications of Social Media Use

New York State Bar Association:
Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are indispensable tools used by legal professionals and those with whom they communicate. Particularly, in conjunction with the increased use of mobile technologies in the legal profession, social media platforms have transformed the ways in which lawyers communicate.

As use of social media by lawyers and clients continues to grow and as social media networks proliferate and become more sophisticated, so too do the ethical issues facing lawyers. Accordingly, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, which authored these social media ethics guidelines in 2014 to assist lawyers in understanding the ethical challenges of social media, is updating them to include new ethics opinions as well as additional guidelines where the Section believes ethical guidance is needed (the “Guidelines”).

Join leading social media legal experts for a moderated discussion on the 2017 updated Guidelines.

The event will be held Thursday, June 1, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the New York Society of Security Analysts, 1540 Broadway, Suite 1010 | New York City and available on the web.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Law enforcement officials lobby for parole reforms

Fingerlakes1.com reports that "a new proposal would allow police officers to detain parolees who are violating the terms of their release and turn them over to parole officers...The proposal would do three things specifically:
• Create a database accessible to police in their cars that includes information about restrictions, which would include curfews. Release conditions are currently not included in what police officers have available to them.
• It would allow police officers to detain a parolee and turn that individual over to parole.
• It would give parole officials the choice as to what to do with the parolee who has violated the terms.
According to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, "the push for parole changes was spurred by a number of violent crimes committed by parolees, including the 2014 murder of Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson. His killer, Thomas Johnson III, was a parole absconder."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Seneca County, Airbnb, strike tax collection deal

Fingerlakes1.com:
An agreement between Seneca County and Airbnb is expected to grow the tax base and allow the Airbnb to contribute “its fair share” of taxes.

That’s the word that came down from officials from both organizations on Wednesday, as the deal, which will go into effect on May 1st — becomes reality.

Seneca Airbnb hosts cater to a range of travelers, from visitors to the Wesleyan Chapel – the location of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 – to families looking for a comfortable place to vacation in the Finger Lakes.

Seneca County joins a number of counties, including Schuyler County, in contracting with Airbnb for room tax collection assistance. Schuyler County's deal with Airbnb came after a challenge to its room tax was rejected by the New York State Court of Appeals.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Schuyler County Municipalities Fight Wal-Mart’s Tax Reduction Claim

A preliminary conference has been scheduled for June 23 in the case of Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust (“Wal-Mart”) against the Town of Dix Board of Assessment Review and other affected Schuyler County municipalities.

In the meantime, attorneys for the affected municipalities, Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman and Town of Dix Attorney Robert Halpin have served a demand to audit Wal-Mart’s books and records to substantiate the retail giant’s statement of income and expenses.

In July 2016, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, filed suit alleging that their store in the Village of Watkins Glen was over-assessed. The current assessment values the property at $11,700,000.00 (Eleven Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars). Wal-Mart has claimed their property is only worth $7,500,000.00 (Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars). In 2012, Wal-Mart agreed that their property was valued at $11,400,000.00 (Eleven Million, Four Hundred Thousand, Dollars)

Because any such assessment reduction would adversely affect all real property tax jurisdictions in the county deriving taxes from the Wal-Mart property, the affected municipalities—the Town of Dix, the Village of Watkins Glen, the Watkins Glen School District and Schuyler County--joined forces to fight Wal-Mart’s claims.

According to Getman, the June 23 preliminary conference will likely result in the court fixing a date for trial, as well as directing the parties to obtain appraisals and sales reports, and to exchange and file appraisal reports and sales reports.

In anticipation of that trial, the defendants have already served a demand upon Wal-Mart to make their relevant books and records available for audit. That audit should be completed in approximately 120 days, Getman noted.

Nationally, some reports have previously criticized Wal-Mart for what has been called a “systemic” attempt by the company to lower its taxes while benefitting from billions of dollars in public subsidies to build its stores and site infrastructure. In 2007, the Huffington Post called the company “America’s tax deadbeat” for such attempts. That article cited efforts by the company in other parts of upstate New York, including Geneva and Wilton, to lower its taxes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Schuyler County 2017 Life Planning Seminar

Schuyler County officials are sponsoring the 2017 Life Planning Seminar.

The seminar addresses advance care decisions for your quality of life. Topics include:

• Power of Attorney,
• Last Will & Testament,
• Health Care Proxy,
• Living Will,
• Elder Abuse and Scams,
• Nursing Home Medicaid Rules and Asset Protection

The event will be held May 18, 2017 from 5:30- 9:00 pm at the Silver Spoon Café, Schuyler County Human Services Complex and is being conducted by the County Office for the Aging.

Seating is limited. Reservations are required. To make reservations, call the Office for the Aging at 607-535-7108 prior to Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Seneca County Town of Ovid Launches Planning Survey

Steering Committee Launches Survey on May 1
Following a series of meetings with focus groups, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee is now preparing to ask the Ovid community for its input. A survey is in its final stages of development, and will be distributed the first week of May.

In accordance with the committee’s plans for a “reasonable” length, the survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. One copy will be mailed to each of the households in the Town of Ovid. A postage-paid envelope will be included in the mailing. If additional copies are needed, they will be made available at locations throughout the Town, soon to be announced. An online version will also be made available at this website.

Questions on the survey will cover a range of topics and,...will focus on the most frequently discussed issues.

The committee has established a deadline of May 22 for the return of surveys. They hope the finite time period generates a stronger response rate.

The consulting team will compile the results of the survey and present the information to the committee in a subsequent meeting, to be scheduled later in June.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

High Conflict Divorce: the Impact on Children

Are you in the process of a Divorce or Custody proceeding? Do you know how it affects your children?

The New York State Courts Access to Justice Program and the Gender Fairness Committee of the Supreme Court, New York County, Civil Branch are co-sponsoring “High Conflict Divorce: Part 2 of the Series The Impact on Children - Case by Case Analysis.”

The event will be held Wednesday, May 10, 2017 from 12:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Supreme Court, 60 Centre Street, Room 300, New York City.

The event is open to the public and includes the film “SPLIT,” a movie “about divorce for (and by) kids of divorce and (their parents).”

For more information, click here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

New Assistant County Attorney Named in Schuyler County

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced his appointment of Olesya Vernyi-Kellogg as an Assistant County Attorney, effective Monday (April 24).

As an Assistant County Attorney, Vernyi-Kellogg will join Getman in representing Schuyler County in civil litigation, family court prosecutions and social services law.

Prior to joining the County Attorney’s office, Vernyi-Kellogg was a staff attorney with the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Before that, Vernyi-Kellogg worked at the Maryland Attorney General's Office. In 2012, she worked with Baltimore City's Legislative Reference Department and Board of Ethics in reforming the city's financial disclosure process.

Vernyi-Kellogg is a 2014 graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, and is admitted to practice in the State of New York. Her law school experiences include a litigation externship with the Onondaga County Attorney's Office and extensive work for the law school's technology transfer clinic, for which she earned a Certificate in Technology Commercialization Law Studies. She graduated magna cum laude from Le Moyne College in 2010.

As County Attorney, Getman serves as the legal advisor to the Schuyler County Legislature and all officers of county government. The County Attorney’s office prosecutes and defends civil actions and proceedings brought by or against the county and serves as “public prosecutor” in Family Court cases involving child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and proceedings brought by the county against persons accused of failing to pay child support.

In addition to Getman and Vernyi-Kellogg, the County Attorney’s staff currently consists of attorney Kristin Hazlitt and secretaries Donna Hyer and Vickie Perrazini.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Seneca County gets grant to help exploited youth

Finger Lakes Times:
The Board of Supervisors' Human Services Committee has voted to accept a $23,000 grant from the state for its Department of Human Services Workforce Development-Youth Bureau to support Youth Bureau efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children....

The money supports enhanced runaway homeless youth services, outreach efforts and provide money for support services to identified human trafficked or sexually exploited youth.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Schuyler County recognizes and commemorates May 1, 2017, as Law Day

RECOGNIZING AND COMMEMORATING MAY 1, 2017 AS “LAW DAY” IN SCHUYLER COUNTY

WHEREAS Law Day is an occasion of public acknowledgement of our Nation’s heritage of justice, liberty, and equality under the law, and

WHEREAS the United States Congress has statutorily designated May 1 as the annual day for commemoration of Law Day, and

WHEREAS the American Bar Association has designated the 2017 Law Day theme to be “The Fourteenth Amendment: Transforming American Democracy” in recognition of the numerous contributions to American law and society of one of the most often cited constitutional enactments, and

WHEREAS the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law", and

WHEREAS promoting public understanding of the roots of our freedom is an important component in the civic education of the citizens of the United States, the State of New York and the County of Schuyler.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Schuyler County Legislature recognizes and commemorates May 1, 2017, as Law Day in Schuyler County, New York.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New York courts announce plan to enhance language access

New York State Court officials have announced a strategic plan to enhance access to justice for litigants and other parties with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The plan comprises nearly seventy actions to be taken by the court system in eliminating barriers to justice for such court users, including:

• enhancing court interpreter recruitment, training and assessment; optimizing the use of interpreting resources;
• ensuring language access in other parts of the courthouse in addition to the courtroom;
• more effectively responding to the diverse needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community;
• raising public awareness about the services provided by the courts’ Office of Language Access; and
• ensuring language access in New York’s Town and Village Courts.
The full strategic plan is available here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New York State to "Raise the age" of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18

New York State lawmakers have agreed to raise the age at which those suspected of crimes can be charged as adults, potentially shunting thousands of juvenile offenders out of criminal court and into the state’s Family Court system.

The complete text of the legislation can be found here.

New York State's Raise the Age Legislation by Steven Getman on Scribd

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New York State Traffic Ticket Data Available

New York State officials have announced that comprehensive traffic ticket data is available in an online systems, the Traffic Safety Statistical Depository.

The TSSR generates ticket reports at the statewide and county levels, showing the overall numbers of traffic tickets issued and separate totals for speeding, cell phone, texting, safety restraints, and impaired driving citations. For selected types of tickets a variety of information is displayed, including:

• Adjudication status and conviction rates
• Enforcement agencies that issued the tickets
• Driver age and gender
• Region
• Day of week/time of day
• Month
• Tickets issued for companion violations
• Driver license jurisdiction
• Driver penalties, sanctions and fines

State officials hope that the database "will enable both the public and traffic safety professionals to quickly find statistical data about traffic tickets as well as crash information (to) reduce motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries.”

For more details, click here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Seneca County sheriff urges 'extra caution' for boaters on Seneca, Cayuga Lakes

Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce is announcing a Lake Level advisory for Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, along with the Seneca- Cayuga Canal.

Sheriff Luce reports that with the recent rain - the water levels are high and extra caution is needed for any boat traffic. As the weather gets warmer and people are getting back on the water- the Sheriff's Office is urging extra caution. Submerged logs and various debris pose an extra hazard for boaters. Until the water levels go down boaters are also advised to operate at a reduced speed so as not to create a wake that will damage other boats and docks etc.

Sheriff Luce reports that at this time there is not a ban on boat traffic but urges extra caution, the Sheriff's Office will be monitoring the situation.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Crackdown on distracted driving during Operation Hang Up

New York State Police:
The New York State Police announce a statewide crackdown on distracted driving as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The crackdown, called Operation Hang Up, is a special enforcement effort to step up patrols and checkpoints targeting drivers on electronic devices from April 6 through April 10.

While tickets for cell phone use continue to decline, the proliferation of smartphones have caused texting tickets to rise every year since 2011.

April traditionally marks the start of the spring driving season. In order to minimize tragedies as the traffic volume increases, State Police and local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on distracted driving, along with other vehicle and traffic law infractions.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New freshwater fishing rules effective April 1

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released multiple new freshwater fishing regulations that were effective April 1.

These changes are published in the 20176-2018 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide, in addition to being online on the DEC website.

According to the DEC, the changes are the result of a two-year process that included biological assessment, discussions with anglers and a formal 45-day comment period.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Justice Task Force Report on attorney responsibility in criminal cases released

The New York State Justice Task Force has released a report on attorney responsibility in criminal cases.

The Task Force recommendations are grouped into eight categories: Use of the Term Misconduct; Encouraging Reporting of Attorney Misconduct; Grievance Process; Data Collection and Statistics; Role of Judiciary in Making Referrals; Training; Order Regarding Disclosure Obligations for Prosecutors; and Order Regarding Obligations for Defense Attorneys. Some of the sppecific recommendations relate to:

• Use of the Term Misconduct;
• Encouraging Reporting of Attorney Misconduct;
• Orders Regarding Disclosure Obligations for Prosecutors;
• Orders Regarding Obligations for Defense Attorneys.

The complete report can be found here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mars needs lawyers?

FiveThirtyEight says "escaping Earth’s gravity is way easier than escaping its international legal issues":

(T)he governance of space has always been affected by the governance of Earth. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, for instance, was the political driver behind the race for the moon and set the stage for the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies — which is still our primary legal document outlining the rules for space.

The 1967 treaty — known as the Outer Space Treaty, for short — was signed by 104 countries and was the document that helped humans create a space environment that’s more “Star Trek” than “Star Wars” — but it primarily addresses individual, independent governments bumping into one another as they go about their separate business, according to von der Dunk and Joanne Gabrynowicz, a retired professor of space law at the University of Mississippi and the editor-in-chief emerita of the Journal of Space Law. The countries with space programs have all signed it, but the document still leaves ambiguity and unanswered questions when it comes to issues such as corporate spaceflight and multinational coalitions.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Legal Notice. Town of Ovid Request for Proposals: Lawn Care, 2017

The Town of Ovid, Seneca County, New York (the Town) is seeking Request for Proposals (RFP’s) for the lawn care and landscaping maintenance of the described public areas (“locations”) listed below.
Location. Address.
Cemetery Village of Ovid, behind Community Bank
Cemetery Munson Road, Near Intersection of Brokaw Rd
Cemetery County Rd 139, Between Rt 96 and Rock River Rd
Sheldrake Park Below intersection of County Rds 1319 and 153 and Wyers Point Rd
The contract start date shall be May 1, 2017 and contractor(s) should be prepared to perform the duties as outlined on that date. The full RFP package is available from the Town of Ovid by contacting the Town Clerk, James Vangalio Office Tel. (607) 869-3907, email jvangalio@townofovid.net, mailing address TOWN OF OVID 2136 Brown Street PO Box 452 OVID, NY 14521, or on the town’s website: http://www.townofovid.net

Contract pricing must be as outlined, and bids for services indicated must follow the format of the RFP using the town’s RFP Response Form.

Sealed bids are due no later than 5:00 PM April 12, 2017 to the Town Office by mailing to: Town of Ovid, 2136 Brown Street PO Box 452 Ovid, NY 14521. Two copies of a Contractor’s bid must be provided. Faxed or emailed bids will NOT be accepted. Responses may also be hand delivered (prior to the deadline time & date) directly to the Town Office, Attn: Mowing Bid, at 2136 Brown Street Ovid, NY 14521. Each sealed envelope containing a proposal must be plainly marked with the “CONTRACTOR’S NAME”, “RFP TITLE”, and the “RFP OPENING DATE & TIME”.

All submitted bids will be reviewed at the bid opening, Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Ovid Fire Department/Ovid Town Hall, 2136 Brown Street PO Box 452 Ovid, NY 14521. All bidders are welcome to attend.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Seneca County Travel Restrictions Extended

Finger Lakes Daily News:

Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce has extended the NO UNNECESSARY TRAVEL ADVISORY throughout Wednesday March 15,2017 till 5:00 A.M. Thursday. The No Unnecessary Travel advisory does not restrict travel . It is however, a warning to motorist that hazardous driving conditions will exist

Scam Alert: Fake Email Copying Cornell

The Cornell IT Department has issued the following Security Alert: Fake Email Copying Cornell Alert

Date: 2017-03-15 11:25:00
Status: Open
Brief Description: Scammers have sent fraudulent emails copying the style of official Cornell Alerts. The message may indicate that unless a link is clicked, the recipient’s mailbox will be shut down. These emails are fake and the link in them should not be clicked.
Current Status: N/A
Services Affected:
Email and Calendar
Subsites Affected:
Faculty/Staff Email (Office 365)
Incident Response
Student Email (Cmail)
Full Description: Scammers have sent fraudulent emails copying the style of official Cornell Alerts. The message may indicate that unless a link is clicked, the recipient’s mailbox will be shut down. These emails are fake and the link in them should not be clicked. To see an example, visit the Phish Bowl at https://it.cornell.edu/phish/4526 . Remember to check links in emails and on websites to make sure they are what they claim to be. See how, and other ways to keep your account safe at https://it.cornell.edu/security-and-policy .

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Report: Seneca County Courts closed March 15

Please be advised that all state paid courts in the 7th Judicial District will be closed Wednesday, March 15, 2017 due to the inclement weather. These include the counties of Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates. Read more:at SenecaDaily.com http://senecadaily.com/?p=1068584#ixzz4bMIQJt4F SDN

Seneca County Roads Ordered Closed at 5pm

The Seneca County Sheriff has announced that all roads in Seneca County will be closed except for emergency travel at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday until further notice.

Beware of New Tax Season Scams

New York State officials are alerting consumers to new tax season scams from individuals posing as Treasury representatives.

Over the past several weeks, taxpayers, as well as tax preparers, have received calls from scammers claiming to be from the U.S. and New York State Treasury Departments. The scams target taxpayers, as well as tax preparers. Consumers should be wary of three new scams emerging early in the tax season:

1. Scammers posing as NYS or U.S. Treasury representatives – Callers posing as NYS Treasury agents encourage victims to turn over their bank account information along with $250 in return for a larger sum of cash to come at a later date. To make themselves appear more convincing, the scammers provide the victim with a phone number, address, and confirmation code specific to the transaction. New Yorkers have also received calls from individuals posing as U.S. Treasury agents.

2. Pocketing Affordable Care Act penalties – Uninsured New Yorkers may face another tax scam involving penalties under the Affordable Care Act. In some cases, untrustworthy tax preparers tell clients to pay the penalties directly to them, and they keep the money. Taxpayers should never make a tax payment directly to an individual or tax preparer. Payments should be made only with a tax return or in response to a letter from the IRS.

3. Tax preparers become the targets – Tax preparers also need to remain vigilant. Recent scams are targeting the preparers via phone calls demanding client information. In these cases, scammers pretend to be from the IRS in hopes of gaining usernames and passwords to taxpayer accounts.

If you believe that you’ve been contacted by someone attempting a scam, have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, or suspect a tax preparer is engaging in illegal activities, visit the State’s new fraud webpage to learn how to report it.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New York “Fair Trial/Free Press” Conference

Sponsored by the New York Fair Trial/Free Press Conference, the Committee on Media Law, and the New York State Bar Association, this conference will be held Friday, March 10, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Featuring a distinguished panel of federal and state judges, prosecutors, print and broadcast journalists, and defense and media counsel, the program will explore the interplay of First Amendment rights to attend and report on criminal trials and the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

Attendees can learn about the use of video recordings on smartphones, the use of social media as evidence and media and the law.

The event is free for NYSBA Members and Members of the Press.

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

New York State's Top Ten Frauds Of 2016: Beware Of Scammers

Marking the start of National Consumer Protection Week, New York State Officials have released a list of the top ten consumer fraud complaints received by the Attorney General's office in 2016:

1. Internet (internet services & service providers; data privacy & security; consumer frauds)
2. Automobile (buying, leasing, repair, service contracts, rentals)
3. Consumer-Related Services (security systems; restaurant/catering services; tech repairs)
4. Landlord/Tenant Disputes (Security deposit releases, tenant-harassment)
5. Utilities (Wireless and Residential Phones; Energy Servicers & Suppliers; Cable and Satellite)
6. Credit (debt collection; credit card billing; debt settlement; payday loans; credit repair; credit reporting agencies; identity theft)
7. Retail Sales (any sale of goods: food, clothing, rent-to-own)
8. Home Repair/Construction (home improvement services not delivered or done poorly)
9. Mortgage (mortgage modifications; mortgage and loan broker fraud; foreclosures)
10. Mail Order (purchases made online or from a catalog)
In addition, the attorney general's office has offered a variety of tips on how to avoid scams in the future.

For more on these scams, and how to avoid them, click here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Airbnb and Schuyler County Reach Tax Collection Agreement

Schuyler County and Airbnb have announced an agreement to allow the world’s largest home sharing platform to collect and remit county hotel occupancy taxes on behalf of thousands of guests who visit the county every year.

The agreement, which goes into effect Wednesday (March 1), is expected to grow the county’s tax base and allow the Airbnb community to contribute its fair share of taxes.

Airbnb collaborated with Schuyler County officials, including County Treasurer Harriett Vickio, County Attorney Steven Getman and County Administrator Tim O’Hearn to design and carry out the agreement.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Forensics Conference at NY Law School

On February 28, the New York State Bar Association will host “Forensics and the Law VI: Shifting Paradigms” at New York Law School Auditorium, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013. The event runs from 10:00 am to 2:45 pm.

The topics are:

• The Flaws in Microscopic Hair Comparison Evidence
• Challenging Science in the Criminal Justice System
• Forensic Pathology Perspectives on Questioned Diagnoses
• Panel Discussion: Flawed Forensics, Shifting Paradigms

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New York may have your money, here’s how to get it back

The State of New York may have some of your unclaimed funds.

The New York State Comptroller's Outreach Program seeks to increase public awareness about the Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF). To achieve this goal, the Comptroller’s Outreach Program participates in a variety of public events across the State.

In addition, people can search the OUF database to see if they have any unclaimed funds and learn how to file a claim.

For more information, visit this website.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Karlsen case: Seneca County murder conviction upheld on appeal

The People of the State of New York, respondent, v Karl Karlsen, Defendant-Appellant. Memorandum and Order:

An appeal from a judgment of the Seneca County Court, rendered December 16, 2013. The judgment convicted defendant, upon his plea of guilty, of murder in the second degree.

Karlsen’s conviction, for murdering his own son, was unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

The defendant was represented on appeal by D.J. & J.A. Cirando, Esqs., Syracuse (John A. Cirando Of Counsel). The People were represented by Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 28: Public Defense Lobby Day in New York State

New York State defense attorney groups are organizing a Tuesday, February 28, 2017 Lobby Day to advocate for increased funding for public defense, including the Justice Equality Act requiring a state fiscal takeover of public defense expenses.

On December 31, Governor Cuomo vetoed the Justice Equality Act. The bill has been reintroduced in the Assembly and groups are pressing the Senate to do the same.

Previously known as the Public Defense Mandate Relief Act, the bill requires the state to assume the cost of public defense in a 7 year phase in, while also requiring the state to fund significant quality improvements and caseload reduction.

To advocate for increased indigent defense funding, CDANY, NYSDA and NYSACDL are organizing a Lobby Day on Tuesday, February 28th to promote the:

* Justice Equality Act (A.1903);
* New York State Defenders Association's 2017-2018 budget request; and
* Indigent Legal Services Office's 2017-2018 budget request.

The groups plan to travel to Albany and meet with up to six legislators to advocate for increased public defense funding. The Lobby Day will be from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Monday, January 30, 2017

New York Appellate Court Now Live Broadcasting Oral Arguments.

Arguments at the Appellate Division, Fourth Department are now available to watch via a live feed.

Viewers can access the live feed by visiting here or by going to the Fourth Department's homepage.

Additionally, a digital archive will be available on the Fourth Department website for on-demand viewing, generally within three business days. Oral arguments will be screened for the disclosure of confidential information and may not be included in the digital archive.

The Fourth Department, which covers 22 counties located in Central and Western New York, hears oral arguments at the M. Dolores Denman Courthouse in Rochester, New York.

For more information, click here.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Seneca and Cayuga Indians lose federal cigarette tax case

From the New York Law Journal:
State laws that tax tobacco sales by Native American vendors to non-Native Americans do not infringe on tribal sovereignty or other constitutional rights, a federal judge ruled.

The Seneca and Cayuga tribes challenged amendments to state law that imposed taxes on wholesale purchases of tobacco products that were ultimately sold to non-Native Americans….

Western District Judge Michael Telesca ruled against the … tribes [holding] that the tax statute does not target tax-exempt Indian sales to other residents of tribal lands, only sales of tobacco "on an Indian reservation to non-members of the Indian nation or tribe."

Telesca rejected arguments from the Indian nations that the tax law amendments violate the Constitution's interstate commerce clause and the Internet Tax Freedom Act. On both counts, Telesca said state law sets up an alternative way for the Seneca and Cayuga vendors to report tax-exempt sales to Native Americans outside of New York.

Local governments have long been seeking to enforce the collection of sales taxes on non-Native Americans, citing lost revenue and unfair competition with other local businesses. In addition, as noted in the above article:

New York state estimated in 2010 it could capture about $110 million a year if sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products from Native American vendors to non-Native Americans were properly taxed. The tax does not apply to sales to qualified Native Americans for their own use on reservations.

The complete decision can be found here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Schuyler County hosts Rabies Clinic February 7

Watkins Glen—Schuyler County officials will be hosting a rabies clinic on February 7 at the Shared Services Building, 910 S. Decatur Street, Watkins Glen, New York. The clinic will run from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the evening.

Vaccination is free of charge, but donations are appreciated.

Rabies is a serious virus of all mammals with no known cure. It causes neurological degeneration that ultimately leads to the death of the infected person or animal. Luckily, Rabies can be prevented with vaccination, and New York State requires by law the compulsory vaccination of all domestic dogs, cats and ferrets for the safety of the public. Compliance with Rabies Vaccination Laws is monitored by the New York State Department Of Health.

For more information, click here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Town of Ovid reviews ambulance service contract

Ithaca Times:
(Town Board Member John) Hubbard reported on EMS. A letter was written by the town attorney, Steven Getman, to explain the position of the Town of Ovid Board regarding South Seneca Ambulance Corps.

It included information such as what the town requires of them in order to continue on with them with the EMS contract. They would come to the August Town of Ovid meeting with their budget in hand and go over the budget with Ovid line item by line item.

Also, the town would be allowed to make twice-a-year payments.

Following a discussion, the board felt that a quarterly payment would work out well for both the Ambulance Corps and the Town of Ovid.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Can a nonlawyer judge send you to jail? U.S. Supreme Court is asked to decide

ABA Journal:
A cert petition pending before the U.S. Supreme Court shines a light on the power of some nonlawyer judges in the United States.

The cert petition asks whether a defendant’s due process rights are violated when he is tried by a nonlawyer judge with the power to send him to jail, and there is no opportunity for a new trial before a judge who is a lawyer.

The petition was filed on behalf of defendants Kelly Davis and Shane Sherman. They were tried before a nonlawyer judge in Montana who was previously a prevention specialist in a dependency program, and a cashier and meat wrapper at a grocery store.

A decision by the Supreme Court requiring judges to be lawyers in these cases could have broad fiscal and legal ramifications for New York State. In New York, judges of the town and village justice courts are not required to be attorneys. Such courts "have jurisdiction over a broad range of matters, including vehicle and traffic matters, small claims, evictions, civil matters and criminal offenses."

Friday, January 13, 2017

Family Court judge orders birth control in neglect case

A New York State Judge has ordered a woman not to get pregnant again until after she regains custody of her youngest child.

In Matter of Steven D. (Brandy F.), Monroe County Family Court Judge Patricia E. Gallaher made the order after finding the respondent was "a drug-addicted admitted prostitute, mother of 4 children, none of whom are in her care [and] having removed the fourth child from the mother who does not know who the father is." The judge also discussed the mother's "history of drug usage, her failure to get substance abuse and mental health treatment as previously ordered, by her failure to have suitable housing for herself and the newborn infant, and ...the failure to plan for the baby and have baby supplies."

Noting, "(s)ociety and its problems are changing, especially with the incredible rise in the use of heroin, and this court needs to adjust in response, instead of doing the same tired routine which does not solve the obvious problems in so many cases," Gallaher held:
To that end, this Court is directing DHS to include provisions in the final dispositional order that (1) requires DHS to comply with SSL § 131-e, (2)directs respondent to listen to the birth control counseling the county is required to provide pursuant to Social Services Law, section 131-e, (3) directs respondent to see her ob-gyn doctor for whatever confidential advice that doctor may give her regarding birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and anything else, (4) directs respondent see her regular medical doctor regarding her health generally, including her addiction, and (5) directs respondent to take whatever steps she chooses (at no financial cost to her but at the expense of the Department if there is any expense) to prevent her from conceiving another child, fathered by anyone, until she gets baby Steven safely out of foster care and back in her care.

****

In the instant case, it is the intent of this Court to require, not that the mother refrain from ever getting pregnant in the future, but to put in place a way for this young woman to get the help she needs before she gets pregnant again, to put in place safeguards and knowledge for the mother to avoid pregnancy, and to enable some measure of compliance, so that if this mother does again become pregnant, any future unborn fetus may get the significant intervention necessary to ensure the positive health and development of the unborn child. There has been ample evidence admitted in this case to show the pattern and history of drug abuse by this mother, the pattern and history of giving birth to drug-addicted infants, and the pattern and history displayed by this mother who essentially leaves the young drug-addicted infants with others who can care for the babies, while never really engaging in services to help herself, despite the repeated and numerous offerings. An intervention in this cycle is needed here, and that is what this Court is doing.

In addition, Gallaher cited the constitutional issues raised by her decision and urged the Appellate Courts to review same.

The complete decision can be found here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Second Chance for $3 Million in E-Waste Recycling Grants

DEC Announces Second Chance for $3 Million in E-Waste Recycling Grants:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that a second round of grant funding from the Environmental
Protection Fund (EPF) is being made available to help municipalities across the state address costs associated with the collection and recycling of eligible electronic wastes (e-waste). The recently completed application period in October generated $1.2 million in grant requests, leaving almost $1.8 million available for a second chance opportunity that will be held in January 2017 for municipalities that missed the initial application period. DEC will accept applications for second chance opportunity funding from January 2 through January 31, 2017.
Municipalities may receive reimbursement of up to 50 percent of eligible expenses incurred for recycling of e-waste between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. Application materials, guidance documents, and important information for Electronic Waste Assistance Grants are available on the DEC's website.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New York's new laws for the New Year

Here’s a round up of some new laws coming to New York in 2017, including:
An increase in minimum wage;
The cost of naloxone, the drug used to treat drug opiate overdoses, will be covered by insurance companies;
Expanded breast cancer screening and treatment for some;
Teens ages 16 and 17 applying for a learner’s permit can now become an organ donor;
Traffic control devices at rail grade crossings will be inspected more often;
A tax credit extension for some parents;
Measuring window tints during vehicle inspections;
Other new laws include:
Starting Jan. 17, funeral homes statewide will be allowed to serve light fare — such as baked goods, sandwiches, snacks and food platters — and nonalcoholic beverages [to] "provide nourishment to sustain the family of the deceased at their time of need."
A measure, taking effect Jan. 7, that will prohibit the sale under any other name of the fish known to marine taxonomy as escolar. The fish, sometimes marketed as "white tuna," has a unique metabolism that makes it difficult for some diners to digest, often leading to what the bill's authors term "purgative effects that are not associated with eating tuna."
A provision that takes effect Feb. 26 that cracks down on the use of so-called "ticket bots" to unscrupulously scoop up event tickets for resale.