Thursday, March 14, 2019

Appeals court upholds Schuyler severe abuse case; Schuyler man's parental rights terminated.

A New York State Appeals Court has upheld the termination of parental rights of a Schuyler County man who was found to have severely abused and/or permanently neglected his children.

In a decision dated February 21, and posted to Westlaw thereafter, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department agreed with the office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman that the children were permanently neglected and that a finding supported termination of the man's parental rights, thereby freeing the children for adoption.

“This Court found a sound and substantial basis in the record to support the findings of abuse and neglect,” the court held. “In 2015, the (man’s) daughter sustained severe injuries (including) a spiral fracture of her left tibia in March 2015 and a life-threatening subdural hematoma and bilateral retinal hemorrhages in May 2015.”

“(The) Family Court's determination to terminate respondent's parental rights was supported by a sound and substantial basis in the record,” the court held, noting that the father had failed to work with county agencies to rehabilitate himself.

“Despite the provision of numerous services, repeated reminders to engage in same, a court order requiring his cooperation and participation in such services and the passage of nearly three years from when respondent's children were removed from his care and the date of the dispositional hearing, (the father) had not completed parenting education and, more importantly, had only recently engaged in mental health treatment.”

The court’s decision, Getman said, means that the children can be adopted by fit and willing adoptive parents.

“We are happy that the court upheld the decision to terminate parental rights,” Getman said. “The injuries described in the original petition were horrific.”

“We want these kids to be safe and ready to have a loving and safe family take them in permanently,” Getman said. “The Commissioner of Social Services, JoAnn Fratarcangelo, is working to ensure that happens as soon as possible.”

The Schuyler County Department of Social Services is the lead civil investigative agency for cases of alleged child abuse and neglect. The Schuyler County Attorney is the prosecuting attorney for all county agencies involving civil cases, including family court matters involving abuse and neglect.

The names of the man and his children were withheld to protect the innocent.

The Office of Steven J. Getman, Schuyler County Attorney, represented the Department of Social Services. The father was represented by McGraw attorney Lisa K. Miller. Pamela Gee, of Big Flats, served as attorney for the subject children.

The complete decision can be found here

Matter of Logan C by on Scribd

Monday, March 11, 2019

Third National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference announced

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) is hosting its third National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference on May 15-17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

The conference will focus on three domestic violence related themes:
• Staff Management;
• Practical Skills;
• Solutions & Innovations.

Faculty members will facilitate discussion and train participants on practical strategies and model practices.

The registration fee is $305 for APA members and $345 for non-members.

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Schuyler County officials warn seniors of “grandparents scam,” other frauds

Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director Tamre Waite and Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman are warning area seniors that the “grandparents scam” and other frauds may be making the rounds of the area.

At least several local residents have reported being a victim of the grandparents scam, in which the scammer calls or emails the victim posing as a relative, usually a grandchild, in distress or someone claiming to represent the grandchild (such as a lawyer or police officer), they said.  

“The scammer tells the victim he or she is in trouble and needs the victim to wire them funds or send a prepaid debit card that will allegedly be used for bail money, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills or another expense,” Getman said.  “The caller adds enough details to make the story seem believable.  Sometimes, the caller begs the victim ‘please don’t tell my parents.’”

The scam resurfaces every few years in various communities throughout the country, he noted.  Scammers often mine emails, Facebook and other social media for the necessary information to pose as the grandchild, Getman explained.

Often, the scammer works with a partner, Waite said, who gets on the phone and pretends to be an authority figure, with instructions on where to send payment.

“Grandparents will do anything for grandchildren, so they’re a vulnerable target,” Waite said.  “These scammers are very good at playing on our emotions.”

Waite and Getman said the scam can avoided with a few simple steps:
·      Beware of any urgent solicitation of funds, especially if it is needed to pay for unexpected bills, such as bail money, lawyer’s fees, or doctor bills, especially if it comes late at night;
·      Beware of requests to send debit cards or wire money, as these are scam artists’ payment method of choice;
·      Verify the person’s identity by asking questions someone else couldn’t possibly answer, such as the name and species of the grandchild’s first pet;
·      Before sending funds, independently contact the grandchild or another relative at their regular phone number to verify the details of the story;
·      Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts and safeguard your email by using antivirus and anti-spyware software;

Seniors who have been victims of this scam, or who suspect a call is a scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement.

Other scams that may be targeting the area, Waite and Getman said, involve fraudulent Social Security  and Medicare calls.

“We are also receiving reports from individuals who have been the target of Social Security and Medicare scams,” Waite said.  

“Apparently callers are targeting Medicare recipients telling them that their Medicare card has been suspended and must be reactivated and in order to do so, they must pay a fee,” she explained.  

“They then tell the person they must provide their social security number and payment information. As another fear factor, they are telling people that their assets will be frozen until this is cleared up. People are complying out of fear they will lose their coverage.”

Getman warned seniors to be suspicious of any calls that seek personal information over the telephone.

“If you are a beneficiary of Social Security or Medicare, be aware these agencies do not call you to ask you to disclose financial information to get a new card,” he explained.  “Never give out your Medicare number or any other personal information to someone you don’t know.”

“When in doubt, hang up,” Getman said.  “Legitimate government agencies will usually follow up with a written request.”

Waite and Getman said Medicare consumers who provided information to these callers should review Medicare statements closely and call 1-800-MEDICARE or 877-272-8720 immediately if they see anything unusual or suspicious. They may also contact their local law enforcement agencies.

The Schuyler County Office for the Aging was established as a result of the Older Americans Act of 1965 with the core function being provision of information, referrals and services for county residents age 60 and over, as well as their caregivers.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor for county government, including the Office for the Aging, Department of Social Services Adult Protective Unit and other county agencies serving the senior population.

For more information on avoiding tricks and scams, click here.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Schuyler County Attorney Getman to Run for County Court Judge

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has officially launched his campaign for County Court Judge. Getman is a lifelong Republican who resides in Watkins Glen and currently serves as the Schuyler County Attorney.

Since 2015, Getman has served as the County Attorney for Schuyler County. He previously served as Assistant County Attorney for three years before being promoted to the top job. In these roles, Getman has served as the chief legal advisor to approximately 250 county employees, including the County Administrator and County Legislature. He and his staff have handled thousands of cases, prosecuted and defended civil actions, appeared in numerous courts, and drafted legislation. In addition, his office prosecutes family court cases involving child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and child support violations.

Prior to taking office as County Attorney, Getman was Assistant County Attorney from 2012 to 2015 and, before that, he served as an attorney for children in Schuyler County Family Court and as a member of the Schuyler County Assigned Counsel Panel, representing clients in both criminal court and family court.

An attorney since 1992, Getman has worked for several other government agencies over the years: the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (law school intern); the office of New York State Assemblyman Mike Nozzolio (college intern/volunteer); the Seneca County Public Defender, Department of Social Services, STOP-DWI, and County Attorney’s Office. In addition, Getman has served as an attorney for various towns in the Finger Lakes area, including as special co-counsel for the Town of Dix in certain real property tax certiorari matters. He has prosecuted violations of local laws and served as a special prosecutor in cases involving both misdemeanors and felonies in criminal court.

Beyond his service as an attorney, Getman has helped teach our next generation as an Adjunct Instructor at Keuka College for the past seven years. His courses have focused on criminal justice and constitutional law.

Getman, age 54, is a graduate of Hofstra University, Ithaca College and Cornell University. He is a life member of the NRA and a member of Schuyler County SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education), the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club, Community Conservation Club, Schuyler County Arc Nominating Committee, Watkins Glen-Montour Falls Lions Club, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, New York State Bar Association, Schuyler County Bar Association, National District Attorneys Association, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and New York State Defenders Association.

This year’s election is expected to feature this seat for County Court Judge based on the expected retirement of current Judge Dennis Morris. The General Election is slated for Tuesday, November 5th.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Not-for-profits, others, criticize bill that would ban gun raffles in New York

Bill would ban gun raffles in New York
Gun raffles are major revenue sources for some nonprofit organizations and volunteer fire departments, but a bill introduced in the state Legislature could prohibit the events.

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, a Brooklyn Democrat, introduced the measure that would ban gun raffles. Twenty-nine of Simon’s Assembly colleagues, all Democrats and nearly all of whom represent downstate districts, cosponsored the legislation.

Under New York state law, it is legal to hold gun raffles and to award firearms in a game of chance. Simon’s bill would end the practice....Many organizations, especially in upstate, hold gun raffles to generate revenue....

Kevin Foster, a captain with the Aurelius Volunteer Fire Department, explained that gun raffles and other fundraisers are necessary because of the property tax cap. The cap limits property tax levy growth to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less....

Other organizations have generated revenues from gun raffles. The Magee Fire Department in Seneca County collects roughly $15,000 from its annual gun raffle, according to Chief Craig Reynolds. Waterloo Rifle & Pistol Club raises $10,000 to $12,000 each year from its gun raffle.

Claiming a prize from a gun raffle.... isn't different than buying a firearm at a retailer.

A winner at a gun raffle must submit to a federal background check before being permitted to collect the firearm. Under New York law, you must be age 18 or older to purchase a long gun and at least 21 years old to buy a handgun.

(A)nyone with a criminal record wouldn't be allowed to receive a firearm won at a raffle.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New Assistant Schuyler County Attorney Named

Watkins Glen, NY--Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced his appointment of Vinton Bovier Stevens, an Elmira native, as an Assistant County Attorney.

The appointment was unanimously approved by the Schuyler County Legislature at its February 11 meeting.

As an Assistant County Attorney, Stevens will join Getman in representing Schuyler County in civil litigation, family court prosecutions and related matters.

Stevens has been an attorney since 1999. Prior to joining the County Attorney’s office, he practiced law in New York City, Chemung and Tompkins Counties.

Getman said, “I am honored to have an attorney with Vinton’s education and experience join our office. I am confident that he will represent Schuyler County government effectively and ethically.”

Stevens stated “I am proud to be joining County Attorney Getman’s office. Having known Mr. Getman and his staff for a number of years, I have been impressed with their integrity and commitment to the taxpayers, children and families of Schuyler County.

In addition to Getman and Stevens, the Schuyler County Attorney’s staff consists of attorney Kristin Hazlitt, of Hector, as well as secretaries Maryann Friebis and Brandy Bower.

Stevens is a graduate of Notre Dame High School, in Elmira, and attended college at the University of Rochester. He is a 1998 graduate of Temple University School of Law.

In addition to his attorney duties, Stevens serves as Vice Flotilla Commander of the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla, and as a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ithaca.

The County Attorney is the legal advisor to all county officials and prosecutes and defends civil actions by and against the county. In addition, the County Attorney prosecutes family court cases involving child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and child support violations.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019