Monday, May 16, 2022

Sexual Harassment Complaint Hotline Established for New York

New York State has created a toll-free confidential hotline for complaints of workplace sexual harassment.

The new law also provides free legal assistance to individuals who contact the hotline. The New York State Division of Human Rights intends to recruit experienced attorneys acting in a pro bono capacity to provide legal advice to complainants.

Once the hotline is established, New York employers will be required to include information about the hotline in any materials they are required to post or provide to employees regarding sexual harassment.

The law regarding the hotline goes into effect on July 14, 2022. For more information about the hotline, click here.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Crime, courts addressed in New York State Budget

Various aspects of the recently passed New York State Budget address issues related to crime and the courts. They include:
Bail Reform. The Budget expands the number of offenses for which bail may be considered. The Budget also directs the court to consider the following list of factors when setting bail:
• the defendant’s activities and history;
• the charges against the defendant;
• past criminal convictions;
• any previous violation of an order of protection;
• a defendant’s potential flight risk;
• a defendant’s ability to post bail without undue hardship;
• a defendant’s history of use or possession of a firearm; and
• whether the charge is alleged to have caused “serious harm” to an individual or group of individuals.
Discovery Reform. District Attorneys are no longer required to provide automatic discovery for cases involving:
• a simplified information charging traffic infraction; or
• an information charging one or more petty offenses defined by a village, town, city, or county municipal code that do not carry a statutorily authorized sentence of imprisonment (defendants may still file a motion for disclosure of evidence in such cases).
In addition, prosecutors will be allowed to file a supplemental certificate of compliance for delayed disclosure of discovery materials.

Violent Crime Initiatives. In addition to establishing an Office for Gun Violence Protection, the Budget includes a variety of program funding purporting to address what the legislature considers “gun violence,” including among others:

• $18.2 million for the Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative;
• $13.1 million to expand the use of Community Stabilization Units that partner State Troopers with local law enforcement agencies;
• $21 million for community-based gun violence response programs (SNUG);
• $25 million for the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC) program;
• $10 million in new funding for pretrial services to help divert people from unnecessary detention while also keeping communities safe; and
• $20 million in new funding for crime reduction programming in those communities most impacted by gun violence
More on the New York State budget can be found here.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: May, 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.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Schuyler County Commemorates Sunday May 1 as “Law Day”

Law Day is Sunday (May 1) and the Schuyler County Legislature has recognized as the Law Day 2022 theme “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change.”

The legislature passed a resolution at its April 11, 2022 meeting, recognizing “Law Day” as an occasion of public acknowledgement of our Nation’s heritage of justice, liberty, and equality under the law.

The resolution was submitted to the legislature by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman.

“The Preamble to the United States Constitution mentions forming ‘a more perfect Union’ first in its list of purposes of the Constitution,” Getman wrote.

According to Getman, “the Preamble serves as an introduction to the highest law of the land. It sets the stage for the Constitution and communicates the intentions of the framers and the purpose of the document.”

In passing the resolution, the legislature found that “promoting public understanding of the roots of our freedom are an important component in the civic education of the citizens of the United States, the State of New York and the County of Schuyler.”

Legislator Jim Howell (R-District IV) moved the motion to floor. It was second by Legislator Mark Rondinaro (R-District VII) and supported unanimously by the members present.

The American Bar Association selects an annual theme for each Law Day. Law Day is an annual commemoration first held in 1957 when the American Bar Association envisioned a special national day to mark our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The following year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Law Day Proclamation. Law Day was made official in 1961 when Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day.

A copy of Schuyler County’s resolution “Recognizing and Commemorating May 1, 2022 as ‘Law Day’ in Schuyler County” is available here.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Schuyler County announces 2022 Life Planning Seminar

Schuyler County officials are sponsoring the 2022 Life Planning Seminar.

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

• Power of Attorney,
• Last Will and Testament,
• Health Care Proxy,
• Living Will,
• Rethinking our approach to dying,

The event will be held May 19, 2022 from 1:00- 5:00 pm at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, 2096 County Rd 14, and is being conducted by the County Office for the Aging.

The event is free, but seating is limited. Reservations are required. To make reservations, call the Office for the Aging at 607-535-7108 prior to Friday, May 13, 2022.

Monday, April 11, 2022

New York State Court system’s annual report released

The New York State Unified Court system has issued its annual report for the previous year.

Among the issues addressed in the report for 2021 are:

• Equal Justice in the Courts
• Gun Crimes
• Justice for Children
• Problem-Solving Courts and Initiatives
• Expanded e-filing
The New York State Unified Court System is administered by the Office of Court Administration (OCA) under the authority of the Chief Judge and Chief Administrative Judge. >OCA provides financial management, automation, public safety, personnel management and other essential services to support day-to-day court operations throughout the state, including Schuyler County.

A complete copy of the report is available here.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: April, 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.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Kyra’s Law: reforms proposed to address domestic violence, protect children

A proposed law to reform New York State’s divorce and Family Courts to protect children and families at risk of domestic violence, is moving closer to passage.

"Kyra’s Law," currently in committee, would amend Domestic Relations Law 240, adding a number of requirements and presumptions in any custody and visitation proceeding involving allegations of child abuse or domestic violence by a parent, regardless of whether the allegations involve the subject child.

The provisions include:

• A requirement that the court must first consider allegations of child abuse or domestic violence before considering any other best interest factors and hold a hearing on the allegations within 60 days of the filing of a petition.
• If the court finds a pattern of domestic violence or child abuse, then the court must award sole custody to the “non-offending parent” and must suspend visitation, or only award professionally supervised visitation, without court discretion.
• In any custody and visitation proceeding where such pattern is found, concerns regarding parental alienation are not admissible and may not be considered in a best interests determination.

The proposed law would also mandate domestic and child abuse training for state judges and other court officials.

For the complete text of the proposed law, click here.

Monday, March 21, 2022

2022 National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference Announced

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Domestic Violence (DV) Prosecution Committee will host the Fourth National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference on May 23-25, 2022 in Villanova, Pennsylvania:
The conference is meant to bring together practitioners to provide a forum for deeper learning of enhanced strategies for the
investigation and prosecution of DV-related crimes. Consisting of various presentations, group discussions, and resource-sharing opportunities, the convening will provide attendees with a chance to strengthen their understanding of the intricacies and data-driven approach to DV investigation and prosecution over the course of two and a half days. Topics will include the connection between DV and violent crime, how to handle victim recantation, and special considerations for virtual hearings.

This conference is intended for prosecutors and victim advocates involved in the prosecution of DV-related crimes.

Learn more and register here.

Monday, March 14, 2022

New York State Judicial Conduct Commission Releases Annual Report of Activity

In the 2022 Annual Report of its activities for 2021, released March 3, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct reported the following:
• 1,938 new complaints were received and processed.
• 375 preliminary inquiries were conducted.
• 302 full-fledged investigations were undertaken: 125 new ones and 177 carried forward from 2020.
• 13 judges resigned and publicly agreed never to return to judicial office.
• 10 other judges resigned while complaints were pending, where it had not been determined permanent departure from office was warranted or appropriate.
• 4 judges were publicly censured or admonished.
• 20 judges were issued confidential cautionary letters.
• 191 matters were pending at year’s end.
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct is the independent state agency that reviews complaints of ethical misconduct against the 3,500 judges and justices of the State Unified Court System and, where appropriate, renders public disciplinary Determinations.

The 2022 annual report is available here.