Showing posts with label tompkins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tompkins. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

State appellate court upholds permanent neglect by incarcerated father

Albany—An upstate appellate court has upheld a Tompkins County Family Court ruling that terminated the parental rights of a convicted felon and freed his children for adoption.
 In a decision released Thursday (November 29, 2012), the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division held that the Tompkins County Department of Social Services (“DSS) had made “diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen [the father’s] relationship with his children,” and affirmed the decision of the local Family Court that held the father had permanently neglected his children.

According to the decision, the father is in state prison for “attempted assault in the first degree,” and will not be eligible for parole until October 2013.  In January 2010, the decision notes, the children (born in 2002 and 2003) were removed from their mother's home on neglect allegations and placed in DSS custody.

After the children were placed, the court held, the children’s caseworker provided the father with permanency reports and information about his rights and responsibilities, facilitated written correspondence between him and the children, and sent him photographs and sought his recommendations for a home for the children while he was in jail.  However, the father’s recommendations proved unsuitable, the court said.

“[W]hen his relatives were rejected, the only alternative he was able to propose was his homeless
girlfriend, who apparently had no relationship with the children,” the court wrote.

In addition, the court rejected the father’s argument that the DSS should have brought the children to his prison for visits, given their ages, emotional concerns, and the distance between the prison and their foster homes.

DSS “proved by clear and convincing evidence that it made affirmative, repeated and meaningful
efforts” on behalf of the father and the children, the court ruled.  Therefore, it upheld the Family Court’s ruling.

The real names of the father and the children were not released in the court order, to protect their privacy.

The father was represented in the appeal by Ithaca attorney Pamela B. Bleiwas.  The DSS was represented by Joseph Cassidy.  Ovid attorney Steven J. Getman was attorney for the children.

The complete court decision can be found here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New York State Court of Appeals to Decide Tompkins County School Harassment Case

From the Ithaca Journal:
ALBANY -- The state's highest court has agreed to hear the Ithaca City School District's appeal of a finding that it failed to adequately address racial harassment and threats of violence against a black middle-school student....

The state Division of Human Rights decided in May 2009 that the school district engaged in unlawful discriminatory practice by failing to protect the girl from a group of white students' harassment and threats in the 2005-06 school year....

Ithaca City schools have maintained that the Division of Human Rights does not have jurisdiction over public school districts. The state Supreme Court in Tompkins County agreed with the district in a 2009 decision.

The state Appellate Division, 3rd Department disagreed in a June 30, 2011, ruling. It reduced awards of $200,000 each for the mother and daughter to $200,000 for the daughter and $50,000 for Amelia Kearney.

But Ithaca City schools point to a case on Long Island that was dismissed by the mid-level state court, which said school districts don't come under the state human-rights law, which applies to education corporations and associations.

It has been reported that fewer than one out of ten applications for leave to appeal are granted.

The existence of conflicting rulings among the Appellate Divisions, as is apparently the case here, is one of the factors that will sometimes convince the state's high court to hear an appeal.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some New York State Courts Closed from Hurricane Irene

According to the New York State Office of Court Administration, a number of courts, including several in the Southern Tier of upstate New York, are closing and/or rescheduling Monday’s court cases, due to Hurricane Irene.

People with business before the courts on Monday are urged to check the state’s official website, or contact the court first thing in the morning, to make sure their case has not been adjourned to another date.