A Campbell woman was sentenced Tuesday (December 22) to immediate incarceration for failing to pay nearly $1150.00 in back child support.
Assistant County Attorney Steven Getman represented the support collection unit. Getman, noting that this was not the woman’s first violation, asked the court to imprison her immediately for contempt of court. At the time of court, records showed that the woman owed approximately $1149.00 in back child support.
The punishment was imposed by Family Court Judge Dennis Morris. Morris directed the woman to report to the Schuyler County jail immediately (December 22) to begin her sentence. He ordered her released at 5:00 pm on Christmas Eve, with a direction to serve two additional weekends of jail thereafter. The woman was then taken into custody under the order of commitment.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Campbell woman jailed for not paying child support
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Court reverses shaken-baby conviction
In a ruling that could have statewide significance, a Monroe County Court judge has reversed the 2001 murder conviction of a Greece woman who was accused in the shaken-baby death of a toddler in her care.The complete decision can be found here.
In a decision released Tuesday morning, Judge James Piampiano ruled that the science used to convict René Bailey has changed significantly since her trial.
The ruling marks the first time a shaken-baby conviction has been overturned in New York on the basis of changing science. Lawyers have won a handful of reversals in other states in recent years...
"This would be the first time in New York that we have a head-on, squarely-facing decision saying that a major change in the science qualifies as newly discovered evidence," said Bailey's attorney, Adele Bernhard.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Bureau of Justice Statistics releases new reports
Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2012 - Statistical Tables; Capital Punishment, 2013 - Statistical TableEach report is available at its link above.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics was first established on December 27, 1979 under the Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1979. Its mission is "to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government."
Thursday, December 11, 2014
State Court Docket Watch December 2014
In an effort to increase dialogue about state court jurisprudence, the Federalist Society presents State Court Docket Watch. This newsletter is one component of the State Courts Project, presenting original research on state court jurisprudence and illustrating new trends and ground-breaking decisions in the state courts.For more information, click here.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Public notice: Ovid Town Board, Town Planning Board meeting
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Woman gets jail over back child support
A Steuben County woman was ordered to serve four weekends in the Schuyler County Jail, beginning this weekend, for failing to pay over $1,000 in back child support.
The children live outside her home and are on public assistance in Schuyler County, Assistant County Attorney Steven Getman said.
Authorities did not disclose her name for privacy reasons.
The punishment was imposed Tuesday by Family Court Judge Dennis Morris.
For more on the story, click the link above.
Monday, October 27, 2014
New York Appellate Court Creates New Rule for Criminal Appeals
Rule 800.14′s new paragraph (j) (Abandonment of Appeals) declares that a criminal appeal is deemed to have been abandoned – notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of 800.14 pertaining to enlargements of time – when the appellant has not sought poor person relief or has failed to serve his/her brief-appendix within 24 months after the date of the Notice of Appeal.
The Clerk’s Office will not accept any brief or appendix received after the 24-months mark “unless directed to do so by order of the court”, which “shall be granted only pursuant to a motion on notice supported by an affidavit setting forth a reasonable excuse for the delay.”
For more on the new rule, click here.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Steuben County Woman Sentenced for Missed Child Support
A Steuben County woman has been sentenced to four weeks in the Schuyler County jail’s work release program for failing to pay over $1,000.00 in back child support...For more on this story, click the link above.
The last payment was made in January 2014, according to the Schuyler County support collection unit.
Assistant County Attorney Steven Getman represented the support collection unit...
The punishment was imposed by Family Court Judge Dennis Morris. Morris ordered the woman to report to the Schuyler County jail this Saturday (October 25) to begin her sentence.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Ithaca man sentenced for failure to pay child support
An Ithaca man is facing a thirty-day jail sentence for not paying past due child support, following an appearance in Schuyler County Family Court on Tuesday (October 7, 2014).For more information, click on the link above.
[T]he man was found in willful violation of a prior court order, due to his failure to pay nearly $1200.00 for the support of his teenage child. The last payment was made in April 2014, according to the Schuyler County Support Collection Unit.
The case was prosecuted by assistant County Attorney Steven Getman. Getman argued that a sentence of jail was appropriate, given the failure to make payments for approximately six months. Earlier this year, the child had been on public assistance in Schuyler County, Getman noted.
The sentence was imposed by Family Court Judge Dennis Morris. Morris did not order the man immediately incarcerated, but suspended the jail term to give the man time to pay the back support.
If the man fails to begin making payments by November 1 he can be returned to court and jailed at that time, Morris held.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Seneca County town wins over $200,000 against business for unpaid loans
A Geneva business and two Yates County businessmen have been found liable to the Town of Romulus for over $200,000.00 in unpaid community development funds.
On Tuesday (August 12), Acting Supreme Court Justice Dennis Bender granted a motion by the Romulus town attorney, Steven Getman, and directed summary judgment against Top Quality Hay Processers, Jeffrey Warren and Charles Long, for failure to repay a 2008 loan.
According to the town’s complaint, the loan was intended for Top Quality Hay Processors to create jobs at the former Seneca Army Depot, located in the Town of Romulus. As principals in the business, Warren and Long agreed to personally guarantee the loan, the court papers said.
However, the complaint alleged, the loan was not repaid and in 2012, the building housing Top Quality Hay Processors was condemned by Seneca County Code Enforcement.
Shortly thereafter, town supervisor David Kaiser and the town board directed Getman to commence a lawsuit to recover the money.
The money was from the state government through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program (“CDBG”), the complaint said...
At Tuesday’s court appearance, Bender found for the town and directed the three defendants to repay the $200.000.00, together with costs, interest and attorneys’ fees.
The town has estimated the total amount due the town at approximately $217,000.00 plus additional interest...
The defendants have approximately thirty days to appeal. After that, if the judgment is not repaid, the town will begin collection effort...Those efforts may include seizing property, garnishing wages and other measures...
Thursday, July 24, 2014
New York passes new laws to crack down on domestic violence, lewdness against children
Under the new laws, Second-degree Aggravated Harassment will make it a crime to use harassing communications that "threaten to cause physical harm to a victim or the victim's property where a defendant knows or should know that the communication will cause the victim to fear such harm."
The harassment legislation is in response to a recent court decision, striking down a previous version of the law on First Amendment grounds.
The anti-stalking measure prohibits the tracking of a person with an electronic device where "likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property" of another person or their families.
Finally, the state enacted a new statute, creating the crime of Public Lewdness in the First Degree, a class A misdemeanor. It applies to persons aged 19 or older who intentionally expose themselves to children under the age of 16. It is punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Previously, Public Lewdness was only a class B misdemeanor, and provided no additional penalties when the act was committed against a child.
It is hoped that these new laws, focusing on threats and endangerment of others, will strengthen protections for vulnerable members of the population, while ensuring important rights to free and open expression.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
New York's Top Court strikes down cyberbullying law on free speech grounds
Monday, June 30, 2014
New York's high court says towns and villages can ban fracking
Environmental groups are hailing the decision. Others warn that the bans may hurt job growth.
The complete decision is here.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court bans warrantless cell phone searches
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot go snooping through people’s cell phones without a warrant, in a unanimous decision that amounts to a major statement in favor of privacy rights.
Police agencies had argued that searching through the data on cell phones was no different than asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cell phone is more fundamental.
The ruling amounts to a 21st century update to legal understanding of privacy rights....
Justices even said police cannot check a cellphone’s call log, saying even those contain more information that just phone numbers, and so perusing them is a violation of privacy that can only be justified with a warrant.
The complete decision can be found here.
Privacy advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have called the court’s decision a “big win.”
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Kinney Drugs raises money for Ovid recovery fund
A fund-raising effort by Kinney Drugs has resulted in a $2,500 contribution to Ovid Federated Church’s recovery fund, which was established to help victims of the March fire that destroyed four buildings and left eight families homeless in Ovid.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Notice of public hearing: Wilmot Casino Project
Proposed Wilmot Casino and Resort, reported to be a $350 million project, featuring a destination resort casino, hotel, spa, as well as dining and entertainment with 1,200 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent jobs with a $50 million annual payroll, which is proposed to be located in the Town of Tyre, County of Seneca, State of New York (New York State Region 5).More on the Upstate New York Gaming Act may be found here.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Notice of Public Hearing, Proposed Local Law 2014-A, Town of Ovid
SECTION ONE: LEGISLATIVE INTENTThe complete text of the proposed local law is available here.
In 2004, the Town of Ovid enacted a Local Law No. 1 of the Year 2004, commonly referred to as the town’s “land use ordinance.” Rather than relate directly to the physical use of land, the utilization of land or the potential impact of a particular land use on neighboring properties, this local law provides for minimum lot sizes and setbacks for most properties within the town. It establishes a permitting process, to be overseen by the town clerk and it provides that the law will be enforced by an “enforcement officer” and “alternate enforcement officer,” each to be designated by the town board. The law also sets forth penalties for violations and an appeal process, with such appeals to be made to the town board and requiring a public hearing for each appeal.
A review of the history of this local law appears to suggest that practical and fiscal difficulties exist with the enforcement and administration of this local law.
Further, the Town of Ovid is concerned about uncertainties in the existing New York State tax cap law, including how expenditures mandated by law and expenditures and revenues controlled by the county and state interact with the tax cap, as well as increasing costs, such as unfunded mandates, over which the town’s control is limited. The Town is also concerned about Governor Cuomo’s proposal to implement a two-year freeze on property taxes in school districts and localities that stay within the two percent tax cap. The town board is accountable to prepare a responsible budget, which meets the Town’s obligations while minimizing the tax burden.
The town board is aware that the County of Seneca has adopted the following local laws which are in effect throughout the county and address various concerns related to building permits, land use and building safety:
Seneca County, Local Law No. 2 of the year 2006: “A local law providing for the administration and enforcement of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the State Energy Conservation Construction Code in the County of Seneca,” (Amended By Local Law No. 1-2008 & Local Law No. 1-2010);
Seneca County, Local Law No. 3 of the year 2012: “A local law to provide safe, stable, housing for recipients of public assistance within Seneca County;” and
These Seneca County Local Laws provide for administration and enforcement by county officials, through the offices of Seneca County Code Enforcement and Division of Human Services.
Based upon the foregoing, in order to minimize the tax and regulatory burden on town residents, and in light of existing regulations at the county level, it is currently the opinion of the town board that the “land use ordinance” appears to be unnecessary at this time and unduly burdensome on the town’s finances and operations.
Therefore, the town board proposes to repeal this local law while the town board and the town planning board continue its general study and review of new land use laws.
SECTION TWO: REPEALER
Local Law No. 1, 2004 of the Town of Ovid, commonly referred to as its “land use ordinance” is hereby repealed in its entirety.
SECTION THREE: EFFECTIVE DATE
This Local Law shall take effect immediately upon its filing with the Secretary of State of the State of New York in accordance with the Municipal Home Rule Act of the State of New York.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Portions of New York's "aggravated harassment" struck down as unconstitutional
The state's top court .... struck down a law that's often used against stalkers and domestic abusers.The complete decision is here. In it, the New York State Court of Appeals held:
A significant portion of the second-degree aggravated harassment law, relating to phone calls, emails and other kinds of communication "in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm," is invalid under the New York State Court of Appeals ruling that stems from a case against Dead Sea Scrolls enthusiast Raphael Golb.
The judges said they "conclude that (the law) is unconstitutional under both the state and federal Constitutions, and we vacate defendants' convictions on these counts."
They sided with a case brought by Golb's attorney, Ron Kuby, saying: "We agree with defendant that this statute is constitutionally vague and over broad."
In People v Dietze (75 NY2d 47 ), this Court struck down a similar harassment statute, former Penal Law § 240.25, which prohibited the use of abusive or obscene language with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person. We determined that the statute was unconstitutional under both the State and Federal Constitutions, noting that “any proscription of pure speech must be sharply limited to words which, by their utterance alone, inflict injury or tend naturally to evoke immediate violence.”One columnist has suggested a way to fix the statute to pass constitutional muster, proposing that the law be amended to cover only legitimate threats:
The reasoning applied in Dietze applies equally to our analysis of Penal Law § 240.30(1)(a). The statute criminalizes, in broad strokes, any communication that has the intent to annoy. Like the harassment statute at issue in Dietze, “no fair reading” of this statute’s “unqualified terms supports or even suggests the constitutionally necessary limitations on its scope.” See also People v Dupont, 107 AD2d 247, 253 [1st Dept 1985] [observing that the statute's vagueness is apparent because "[i]t is not clear what is meant by communication ‘in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm’ to another person”]). And, as in Dietze, “we decline to incorporate such limitations into the statute by judicial construction” because that would be “tantamount to wholesale revision of the Legislature’s enactment, rather than prudent judicial construction.”
It is time for states like New York to step in and fix their harassment and stalking laws. As the Golb case rightly found, harassment statutes cannot criminalize harassing speech intended to annoy another person. In 2013 Congress amended the federal telecommunications harassment statute to take out overbroad “annoy” language. New York and other states should do the same.The case is likely to have significant ramifications, both in Family Court and Criminal Court. Anyone accused of violating a harassment statute should contact an attorney to review their legal rights in light of this important decision.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Court tosses Seneca Falls town hall referendum
The New York State Supreme Court has thrown out a petition for a voter referendum on the proposed Seneca Falls town hall.More on the case here.
Ruling on an application from attorney Steven Getman, Acting Supreme Court Justice W. Patrick Falvey held Thursday (May 1) that the referendum petition was in violation of the New York State Election Law and Town Law.
Getman represented Seneca Falls town board member Chad Sanderson. Several weeks ago, Sanderson filed objections to the referendum petition, alleging that the form and content was not in compliance with various legal requirements. These included a failure of the petition to require signers to affirm that their correct residence was next to their names and the failure of the witnesses to the petition to attest that each person who signed it had properly identified themselves to the witness.
Town residents Joyce Brady and Susan Sauvageau had filed the petition. In their response, they argued that the petition had met the technical requirements for a referendum.
However, Falvey held that certain requirements cited by Sanderson were “essential” under the New York State law, to insure that only qualified voters of the Town had signed the petition.
Falvey also questioned Sauvageau on the fact she was a former town board member, whether she had been involved in addressing a prior referendum request and whether that demonstrated she should have been familiar with the requirements for bringing a referendum.
“The petition for permissive referendum is fatally flawed…and invalid,” Falvey concluded.
Getman noted that Sanderson had used his own money to fund the legal challenge to the referendum, thereby saving the taxpayers the cost of the special election.
The petitions sought a vote on the town board’s March 18 decision to transfer $2.55 million from the capital reserve fund to the general fund for the construction of the new town hall. The town has been leasing space in the former St. Patrick’s School.
The board held its first public information meeting April 23 on plans for the new municipal building. It is expected to decide in May whether a new building should be on a town-owned parcel of vacant land on Ovid Street or at a privately owned parcel where the now-demolished former Westcott Rule Co. plant stood at the corner of Spring and East Bayard streets.
According to reports, the town’s timetable calls for construction of the building to begin in October.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Seneca Falls town hall petition challenge headed to court
The challenge filed to the petitions asking for a referendum on the town’s use of reserve funds is heading to court....More on the case here.
The challenge was filed by Town Board member Chad Sanderson, who claims the wording of the heading on the petition was not proper and the petition should be nullified; 350 signatures were obtained asking for the referendum....
Sanderson has retained attorney Steven Getman of Ovid to argue in favor of the challenge.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Notices of Public Hearing on Proposed Local Laws A, B and C of the Year 2014 For the Village of Interlaken, New York
Proposed Local Law A: “A local law to amend the Village Code of the Village of Interlaken § 38-1, ‘Residency requirements for certain officials.’”
Proposed Local Law B: “A local law to amend the Village Code of the Village of Interlaken § 110-4: ‘Brush, grass and weeds; accumulation of trash.’”
Proposed Local Law C: “A local law to amend the Village Code of the Village of Interlaken by repealing Sec. 133-18, ‘Schedule II: Stop Intersections.’”
At such time and place all persons interested in the subject matter thereof will be heard concerning the same.
The complete text of each proposed local law is available during normal business hours at the Office of the Village Clerk, 8369 Main St, Interlaken, New York.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
11-Year-Old Charged In Massive Fire
Seneca County Sheriff's investigators announced Wednesday that they found the person responsible for a massive fire in the Town of Ovid: an 11-year-old boy....The charges against the juvenile are accusations and a respondent is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law, Getman noted.
According to the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, an 11-year-old was playing with a lighter and accidentally set trash on fire behind a Chinese restaurant. He tried to put it out but couldn't, and ran away. Propane tanks behind the buildings turned it into a massive fire. Wednesday, he was charged with arson....
The sheriff's office is not naming the boy, who is charged as a juvenile. He's charged with arson in the fourth degree. The town attorney explained that's because the sheriff says the boy recklessly started a fire, but wasn't trying to set fire to the buildings.
”The judge would be required, if (the boy) is found liable, to do the least restrictive disposition that's consistent with the needs and best interests of the child, as well as the protection of the community,” said Ovid Town Attorney Steven Getman. “So, the judge would balance all of those things.”
The boy’s case will be referred to family court, according to the sheriff’s office. Getman said if the boy is found guilty, he could be sent to a juvenile detention facility, placed on probation, given counseling or treatment—that's all up to the judge.
For more information on the Ovid Fire Victim's Fund, click here.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Schuyler Co. youth gets one-year detention
A fifteen year old Schuyler County boy was found guilty of being a Person in Need of Supervision and placed in custody on Wednesday by the Schuyler County Family Court.
According County Attorney Geoffrey Rossi, the teen was found to have run away from home on several occasions and used marijuana. Other evidence showed that the teen had a history of school misbehaviors, alcohol use, physical aggression, stealing, and other problems.
Based on the evidence, Family Court Judge Dennis Morris directed that the teen be placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services for detention and a therapeutic foster home placement of up to one year.
The county was represented in the case by assistant county attorney Steven Getman. At the hearing, Getman recommended that the teen’s legal guardian be ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, due to reports that there was adult drug use in the teen’s home. Morris granted that request as well.
The teen was represented by assigned counsel from the New York State Attorneys for Children program. The respondent’s name and other identifying information is being withheld due to his age.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Legal links of interest for the week ending February 28, 2014
Arizona Religious Bill That Angered Gays Vetoed: The Republican governor said she gave the legislation careful deliberation in talking to her lawyers, citizens, businesses and lawmakers on both sides of the debate.For more on each of these stories, click the links above.
Calif. student wins $50G in Constitution lawsuit: A California college student who was blocked last year from handing out copies of the Constitution gave his school a lesson in civics and the law, winning a $50,000 settlement and an agreement to revise its speech codes.
Homeland Security wants national database using license-plate scanners: The Department of Homeland Security wants a nationwide database with information from license-plate readers that scan every vehicle crossing their paths, according to a solicitation last week from the agency.
In New Orleans courts, the legal gusher BP cannot contain: the source of much of BP’s ire lies with a legal donnybrook over a settlement designed to compensate individuals and businesses for economic harm caused by the spill. BP alleges that many of the 256,478 claims filed — by a parade of fishermen, hotels, surf shops, law firms, nursing homes, strip clubs and others — are unjustified or even fraudulent.
Justices appear divided over greenhouse gas regulation: this issue could be major test of executive authority, with some groups painting President Obama as misusing his power and ignoring the will of the legislature.
Law professor says US is at “constitutional tipping point”: Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the presidential use of executive orders threatens has created “a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system.”
Man Framed by Detective Will Get $6.4 Million From New York City After Serving 23 Years for Murder: The comptroller’s quick acceptance of liability in the high-profile conviction is also significant because the case is the first of what is expected to be a series of wrongful conviction claims by men who were sent to prison based on the flawed investigative work of the detective, Louis Scarcella.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Suppression ruling issued in case of alleged sexual abuse
WATERLOO — Seneca County Judge Dennis Bender has ruled statements by a town resident accused of sexually abusing two young boys can be used if the case goes to trial.The charges against the defendants are accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
In a ruling issued earlier this month, Bender said police properly gave Ronald Spoor his Miranda rights before statements he made to them in December 2012. The statements, some of which are on an audiotape, were the focus of a suppression hearing last month in Spoor’s case….
Spoor’s attorney, Steven Getman, argued police improperly gave Spoor his Miranda warning …. Getman sought to have the audiotape suppressed and not played at Spoor’s trial, which has not been scheduled.
Spoor said he had several beers before Grbic arrived at his house, had trouble understanding the Miranda rights and has difficulty reading. He claimed police coerced him into a confession after he repeatedly denied the allegations….
Getman said while he was disappointed in the ruling on the statements, he was happy to see Bender rule that uncharged crimes …can’t be used at trial.
“If the jury listens to the recording, we hope they will see the context in which those statements were made,” Getman said.
Monday, January 6, 2014
Getman reappointed to ethics board
Getman was reappointed to the board by the Tompkins County legislature at its meeting December 17, 2013. His term expires December 31, 2017.
Under provisions of the County Code of Ethics, the five-member board meets at least once a year and at other times, as convened by the Chair. Among its responsibilities, the board takes testimony and receives complaints concerning alleged unethical practices, which may be submitted by any individual. It also reviews financial disclosure statements filed by County officials and recommends the manner in which any conflicts of interest may be resolved.
An attorney, Getman is of counsel to the law firm of Franklin & Gabriel, in Ovid, New York, where he represents a wide variety of clients on civil and criminal matters, including municipal law and criminal law. He also serves part-time as an assistant county attorney in the Schuyler County Attorney’s office, located in Watkins Glen, New York.
In addition to his law practice, Getman is an adjunct professor in the Keuka College Criminal Justice program.