Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Schuyler County Attorneys to Present at New York State Public Welfare Conference

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced that two assistant county attorneys will share insights on child abuse investigations and court orders at the upcoming New York Public Welfare Association (NYPWA)’s Winter Conference on Thursday (January 20).

Assistant County Attorneys Kristin Hazlitt and Vinton Stevens will present a one-hour continuing legal education class, “Obtaining a CPS Access Order When Efforts at Persuasion Fail.” The course, designed for new and experienced attorneys, will look at cases where Department of Social Services child protective services (CPS) and law enforcement respond to a location after receiving a report of possible imminent danger to a child’s life or health and the adult subjects refuse to allow access to the home or child.

“Although DSS is usually able to obtain voluntary access to a home to investigate concerns about possible child maltreatment, occasionally a parent will refuse access,” Getman explained. “This presentation will discuss the law, the rights of the children and parents and administrative guidance for obtaining an access order in these situations.”

This year’s annual NYPWA winter conference, its 153rd, will be held virtually on January 18-21 and January 24-28.

NYPWA was founded in 1869 as the first public welfare association in the United States. It independently represents all of New York's 58 local social services districts. NYPWA is an active partner with government agencies, associations, and community organizations. It fulfills a key public role while presenting a variety of opportunities to exchange ideas, develop new initiatives, and refine existing programs and services.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the prosecuting attorney for all county agencies involving civil cases, including family court matters involving abuse and neglect investigated by the Schuyler County Department of Social Services. Assistant County Attorneys are appointed by Getman, as County Attorney, to assist with the litigation of the various types of civil cases brought by the county.

Hazlitt is originally from Schuyler County and commenced her legal career in Washington, DC after graduating cum laude from American University, Washington College of Law in 1989. She joined the county attorney’s office in 2002. Stevens was born and raised in Elmira, graduated from the University of Rochester and Temple University School of Law and has worked for the county since February 2019.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Schuyler County officials want landowners to know their rights when eying cash offers

© Copyright 2021, WSKG:
The housing market in Schuyler County is hot. County clerk Theresa Philbin has seen a significant increase in deeds filed with her office this year, as well as a jump in property values.

“People are paying well over the assessed value for their homes at this point, and sales are happening in a matter of days,” Philbin said. “Houses go on the market and they’re sold within days.”

The county clerk said she gets why people would want to move to or vacation in Schuyler County—it’s in the Finger Lakes, near state parks and a national forest.

Land investment firms are interested in the area for all the same reasons. Many of these companies pay cash for land in mostly rural places.

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Schuyler County attorney Steven Getman is worried residents could be taken advantage of. The purchase does not include a space to be notarized, which would make it challenging to prove the signatures of either party in the event of litigation.

“Many of these buyers are basically throwing out nets to see if they can find an owner who doesn’t understand the real value of their property, or an owner that wants to sell quickly at almost any cost,” Getman said.

He added that cash offers for land are typically 15% to 25% under the assessed value, which could cost landowners thousands.

Terms of the agreement also require the landowner to clear all liens before selling. Getman said that may put people already strapped for cash into debt.

While unsolicited offers like this are legal, Getman warned they shouldn’t be signed without consulting a lawyer.

“The goal here is to understand your rights,” he said. “Talk to an attorney before you sign anything.”

Monday, January 3, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: January 2022

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State. For a complete PDF copy of this month's update, click here.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Schuyler County Proclaims January 2022 as National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month

The Schuyler County Legislature has passed a resolution to raise awareness of, and opposition to, human trafficking and modern slavery.

The resolution, submitted to the legislature by the office of County Attorney Steven Getman, designates January 2022 as National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month, “to acknowledge the vital role that the people of the United States have in ending human trafficking and modern slavery.” It was passed unanimously by the county legislature at its year-end meeting on Monday (December 27).

Human trafficking is a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex, Getman explained. It affects all populations and all economic classes, including both adults and children.

According to the resolution, human trafficking and modern slavery have been reported and investigated in each of the fifty states. It calls for “continued partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as social service providers and nonprofit organizations to address human trafficking with a collaborative, victim-centered approach; and all other efforts to prevent, eradicate, and raise awareness of, and opposition to, human trafficking and modern slavery.”

According to Getman, the recognition period for National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month is because January 1 is the anniversary of the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation. The month was first federally recognized in 2010.

Getman noted that citizens who suspect an act of human trafficking in their area can report a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. This national, toll free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country.

A copy of Schuyler County’s resolution is available below:

Schuyler County Proclaims J... by Steven Getman

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

COVID testing site opens in Watkins Glen

New York State will open a COVID-19 test site beginning tomorrow (December 29) at 10:00 am in Watkins Glen State Park. The site will operate Monday – Saturday from 10am to 6pm. An advertising flyer is below for your reference.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Second Amendment Legal Update: December 2021

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State. For a complete PDF copy of this month's update, click here.

Monday, November 29, 2021

More new laws in New York: Governor signs bills affecting prisons, youthful offender designation after sentencing

Governor Kathy Hochul has signed bills into law related to criminal justice:
L 2021, ch 570: Amends the Correction Law to prohibit “double-bunked housing,” “the practice of inmate housing where bunk beds are used in a dormitory setting, with inmates residing in an open space and sleeping on bunk beds.” (Effective Feb. 1, 2022).
L 2021, ch 557: Establishes a nine-member Commission on Prison Education “to study and develop a plan for improving education in state prisons.” (Effective Nov. 3, 2021).
L 2021, ch 552: Provides eligible youth with an added opportunity to be designated youthful offenders, by allowing a defendant to seek review five years after sentence was imposed or the individual’s release from incarceration, whichever is later. (Effective Nov. 2, 2021).

The intent of L 2021, ch 570, seems somewhat undercut by the Governor's recent decision to close six prisons.

For more on these new laws, click the links above.