Monday, September 16, 2019

Schuyler County Honors Sept 17 as Constitution and Citizenship Day

The Schuyler County Legislature has enacted a resolution recognizing Tuesday September 17 as Constitution and Citizenship Day.

The resolution, submitted by County Attorney Steven Getman, urges civil and educational authorities of states, counties, cities and towns to make plans for the proper observance of the day and “for the complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and of the State and locality in which they reside.”

It was unanimously passed by the legislature at its September 9 meeting.

September 17 marks the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, which, the resolution notes, "is the supreme law of the land and the document by which the people of this country self-govern."

In remembrance of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition of the Americans who strive to uphold the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, the Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated September 17 as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day."


Friday, September 13, 2019

Congressman Tom Reed Endorses Steven Getman for Schuyler County Court Judge!

"I'm proud to support Steven Getman in the November 5th election for Schuyler County Court Judge. While extremists play the part of being pragmatic, Steven Getman is committed to fairness. Steve is a lifelong Republican who stands for our values and principles. He also is exceptionally qualified, and I urge every voter in Schuyler County to support Steven Getman." -Congressman Tom Reed

Monday, September 9, 2019

Schuyler County schedules medication take back days

County residents can bring their old or expired medications to a secure drop off location on the dates listed below.

Monday, September 2, 2019

New York's 'red flag law' drawing mixed reviews

Stepping in before it's too late. That's the goal of New York's red flag law.

With the law now in effect, gun control advocates like Sarah Dumrese say the law could prevent future mass shootings....But not everyone sees it the same way.

"Boom, your guns are gone," Ken Mathison said.

Mathison co-chairs the Monroe County chapter for the gun education group Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE). He says the law is unconstitutional and that it lacks the right protections for legal gun owners.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Happy National Dog Day

About National Dog Day:
National Dog Day celebrates all breeds, pure and mixed and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, either from public shelters, rescues and pure breed rescues.

National Dog Day honors family dogs and dogs that work selflessly to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort.

Dogs put their lives on the line every day - for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for the disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.

Monday, August 19, 2019

New York's new Domestic Violence laws take effect

New York state officials have enacted three new pieces of legislation that aim to expand protections for victims of abuse and domestic violence.

These measures are intended to:

broaden the definition of domestic violence to include forms of economic abuse, including identity theft;
give victims the choice to vote by mail-in ballot, even if they remain within the county where they are registered to vote; and
allow victims to report abuse to any law enforcement agency in New York State, regardless of where the violence originally took place.

For more on these new laws, click here.

Monday, August 12, 2019

New York State passes law allowing emergency responders to remove distressed pets left in cars

Under the new law, firefighters and other emergency personnel will be allowed to remove pets from unattended cars under conditions that endanger the animals' health or well-being, such as extreme temperatures.

The law goes into effect immediately.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Savona man jailed on family court’s child support warrant

A Savona man was remanded to jail on a Family Court warrant, tied to his failure to pay child support, on Wednesday (August 7, 2019).

According to County Attorney Steven Getman, the respondent was previously found in willful violation of an existing court order because he failed to pay $475.00 in back child support for his two children, together with an additional $344.00 in judgments.  According to court records, the respondent was scheduled to appear for sentencing on the violation July 16, but failed to do so, resulting in Family Court Judge Joseph Cassidy issuing a warrant for his arrest.
The respondent was later located in Steuben County, after the Schuyler County Attorney’s office determined he was on probation in that county for an unrelated criminal offense, Getman noted.    He was taken into custody in Steuben County and transferred to Schuyler County for further proceedings on the warrant.

The respondent was arraigned before Montour Falls Village Justice Donald Spaccio, who continued bail at $475.00 and remanded the respondent to jail pending the next Family Court date.

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman
Getman represented the petitioner at the court appearance.   The respondent was represented by Schuyler County Assistant Public Defender Valerie Gardner.

“Under New York State law, parents who willfully fail to obey court orders of child support can be sentenced to up to six months for contempt of court,” Getman said.  “Furthermore, support violators who do not appear in court as ordered, can be subject to a warrant of arrest.”

The county attorney’s office represents the Department of Social Services and Probation Department in prosecuting child support cases brought in the family court by those agencies.  In addition, the office provides support collection services for eligible custodial parents seeking assistance in establishing and enforcing orders for child support.

The man’s name was not released to protect the privacy of his children and family.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Article: The Shocking Lack of Lawyers in Rural America

The Atlantic writes that "while cities are trying to reform their criminal-justice systems, smaller, more far-flung locales are struggling to provide basic services."

While it is well known that public defenders’ caseloads are untenably high in jurisdictions nationwide, prompting lawsuits, the situation is particularly dire in largely rural states such as Louisiana. These so-called legal deserts may have only one or two defense attorneys, who are usually near retirement with no one to take their place. In Mississippi, defendants routinely wait up to a year to even get assigned counsel. In Minnesota, counties can span hundreds of miles and court may sit only twice a month, requiring staff and lawyers to drive an hour each way.

Meanwhile,several counties in New York, including Schuyler County, "have been implementing the historic reforms to public criminal defense set forth in the 2014 Settlement Agreement in Hurrell-Harring v. The State of New York (Settlement) which received court approval in March 2015."

By ensuring counsel at every arraignment, utilizing uniform criteria and procedures for assessing financial eligibility for assignment of counsel, and taking steps to reduce attorney workloads, the Hurrell-Harring counties and providers have worked tirelessly for four years with the aid of $23.8 million in State funds annually to improve the quality of representation provided in criminal cases.

For more on Schuyler County's work to improve the quality of legal services for indigent defendants, click here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Changes to New York's landlord-tenant law

Some of the biggest changes are:
• If a tenant is ordered evicted, instead of 72 hours, the court order must give the tenant 14 days.
• If the tenant can pay up, in full, at any time during the eviction process, the landlord has to accept.
• Landlords who unlawfully evict tenants can now be fined and charged with a misdemeanor.
• Landlords cannot use a tenant’s history of evictions or judgments from landlords to refuse to rent to them.
• Landlords have to give written notice when they start eviction proceedings. They cannot start court proceedings for at least 10 days after the tenant is served.
• If the tenant shows up to court and asks for an adjournment, the judge has to grant it and the minimum is two weeks.
For more on the new laws, click here.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Elmira man jailed for failure to pay child support, probation violation

Watkins Glen, NY (July 16)--An Elmira man was given a 60-day jail sentence for not paying past-due child support and violating his probation, following an appearance in Schuyler County Family Court on Tuesday (July 16, 2019).

According to County Attorney Steven Getman, the respondent was found in willful violation of a prior court order because he failed to pay over $2500.00 in back support for his two children and absconded from probation supervision.

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman
At Tuesday’s court appearance, Getman noted that the respondent had been placed on probation in 2018 for prior violations of the court’s support orders.    However, Getman said, the respondent continued to miss payments and then absconded to California, causing a warrant to be issued for his arrest.

The last payment was made in September, 2018, Getman said.

Based on the evidence, Getman argued, the respondent should be sentenced to jail.

The respondent was represented by Schuyler County Assistant Public Defender Mark Raniewicz. Raniewicz asked the court to consider releasing his client on a suspended judgment, giving him time to make payments.

After hearing from the attorneys, and the respondent, Acting Schuyler County Family Court Judge Joseph Cassidy determined that the respondent should be incarcerated.  Therefore, he sentenced the respondent to sixty days in jail, with the opportunity to “purge” the sentence if he paid at least $1000.00 towards the back child support.      Cassidy then ordered the man immediately taken into custody by court security.

Getman said he was pleased with the court’s decision.

“This jail sentence sends a message that will hopefully resonate,” Getman said. “Under New York State law, parents who willfully fail to obey court orders of child support can be sentenced to up to six months for contempt of court.”

“Parents who refuse to support their children can, and will, be punished when appropriate.”

The county attorney’s office represents the Department of Social Services and Probation Department in prosecuting child support cases brought in the family court by those agencies.  In addition, the office provides support collection services for eligible custodial parents seeking assistance in establishing and enforcing orders for child support.

The county attorney’s office was assisted in the prosecution and presentation of the case by employees of the county’s child support enforcement unit and county probation department.

The man’s name was not released to protect the privacy of his children and family.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Schuyler County Clerk Theresa Philbin endorses Getman for Judge

Schuyler County Clerk Theresa Philbin is the latest local leader to endorse Republican nominee Steven Getman in this year’s election for Schuyler County Court Judge.

“As your County Clerk, I've seen Steve's work up close for years. He is always level-headed and focused on achieving a fair and just result. He is knowledgeable, understanding and fair in all of his dealings with county employees, elected officials and the public. Steve is right for this position in every way.”

“Theresa is one of Schuyler County’s finest public servants and it’s an honor to have her support in this important election,” said Getman.

Getman and Philbin have worked together extensively to help residents of Schuyler County. For example, earlier this year, they teamed up to help warn residents about a possible deed scam involving a company that sells public information to homeowners about their own properties at inflated costs.

Philbin also noted that, “Anyone who cares about Gun Rights should support Steven Getman. He has been extremely helpful to me by providing advice and counsel related to the Second Amendment and he is a lifelong supporter of our Right to Bear Arms.”

Getman, a resident of Watkins Glen, has been the Schuyler County Attorney since 2015. Prior to that, he served as the assistant county attorney. He has practiced law since 1992, in areas including criminal law, family law, and municipal government. He has helped teach our next generation as an Adjunct Instructor at Keuka College, leading courses focused on criminal justice and constitutional law.

Getman has previously been endorsed by Schuyler County Republican Chairman Van Harp, former County Republican Chairman Lester Cady, former County Republican Chairman and current County Legislator Phil Barnes and Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, among others.

In late June, Getman also earned the endorsement and nomination of the full Schuyler County Republican Committee. Getman will be the only county court judge candidate to appear on the Republican line on this November’s ballot.

He has been cross-endorsed by the Libertarian Party as well.

The General Election is slated for Tuesday, November 5.

Schuyler County Clerk Philb... by on Scribd

Monday, July 8, 2019

Schuyler Co. towns agree to work toward agreement with Humane Society

WENY News:
Schuyler County officials say they all have agreed to work toward an agreement to keep their animal control partnership in place with the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

This came after several towns – Montour, Dix, Hector, Catharine, Reading and Tyrone – had all voted to cancel their contract with the Humane Society and create a new agreement with a different animal control entity.

Read the full statement from the Humane Society and the towns here.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Steven Getman Wins Republican Nomination For Schuyler County Court Judge

(Watkins Glen, NY) Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman is the Republican nominee for County Court Judge following a contested vote tonight.
The Schuyler County Republican Committee met Thursday, June 27, and voted to nominate Getman over fellow Republicans Jess Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons and Democrat Matt Hayden. 
In endorsing Getman, Republican Committee Chair Van A. Harp stated, “During my time serving in the FBI, and on the County Legislature, I worked with countless attorneys from all over the place. Steve ranks among the best attorneys I’ve seen in action. As our current Schuyler County Attorney, he handles some of the most complex and important cases that come into our court system. He understands criminal court proceedings, family court proceedings, and surrogate court proceedings – all of which will be the responsibility of our next County Court Judge.”
“I am humbled and honored by the support of my fellow Schuyler County Republicans,” Getman said. “I plan to run a clean, positive, campaign, based on education, training and legal experience.”
In addition to Harp, Getman gained the written endorsements of past County Republican Chairs Phil Barnes and Lester Cady prior to the committee vote.
“It is my opinion that there is only candidate who is uniquely qualified to effectively serve in all of the roles required of a Schuyler County Court Judge: Steven Getman,” Barnes stated in a letter to the committee.
“Steve is smart, ethical and understands the U.S. Constitution,” Cady wrote. “He is the right person for this job.”
This is Getman’s second endorsement in this year’s judicial race. He obtained the backing of the New York State Libertarian Party earlier this month.
An attorney since 1992, Getman has practiced in each of the courts over which the County Court Judge presides: County Criminal, Civil, Family and Surrogate’s. He has also handled dozens of criminal and civil appeals in the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division. As Schuyler County Attorney, Getman is 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.
Beyond his service as an attorney, Getman has taught criminal justice and constitutional law as an Adjunct Instructor at Keuka College for the past eight years. 
Getman, age 54, is a graduate of Hofstra University, Ithaca College and Cornell University. He is an endowment life member of the NRA and a member of Schuyler County SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education), 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, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and New York State Defenders Association. He resides in Watkins Glen.
This year’s election will feature the seat for County Court Judge based on the May 30 retirement of Judge Dennis Morris. Due to the timing of Morris’s retirement, candidates are required by law to be nominated by the County Party Committees, rather than through a Primary Election. The Republican Committee consists of thirty local republicans from throughout the county, selected by voters.
The General Election is slated for Tuesday, November 5th.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New York Court allows opioid claims to go forward against current, former directors of Purdue Pharma

Central Islip, NY--A New York State Supreme Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss cases brought by multiple New York municipalities, including Schuyler County, against current and former directors of opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.

In a ruling filed Friday (June 21), Justice Jerry Garguilo found thirty-one counties and two cities had alleged sufficient facts to move forward against various members of the Sackler family in order to recoup millions of dollars in costs tied to the opioid crisis.

Among the local counties and cities making claims are Schuyler County, Seneca County, Steuben County, Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca.

According to Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, Schuyler County's claims include public nuisance, negligence, fraud and false advertising. 

Pursuant to the June 21 decision, the Sackler family had argued that they were not vicariously liable for the acts of Purdue’s board of directors and that the cities and counties had failed to allege that any of them participated in making the alleged misstatements in the complaint.

However, Garguilo found that, under New York law, directors may be held individually liable for a company’s tort action if they “directed, controlled, approved or ratified” the decision that lead to the injuries.

The complaint, the judge noted, alleged the Sacklers, as “controlling directors” of Purdue, oversaw the company’s marketing and targeting of doctors.  The Sacklers include former Purdue Chair and president Richard Sackler and seven other members of the family.

A public nuisance claim, the judge wrote, “may be an appropriate tool to address the consequential harm from the defendants’ concerted efforts to market and promote their products for sale and distribution, particularly as such efforts are alleged to have created or contributed to a crisis of epidemic proportions.”

Therefore, Garguilo allowed the cases to go forward, pending further discovery and other pretrial proceedings.

One such case was recently brought by Schuyler County. In August 2017, the County Legislature voted to retain the firm of Napoli Shkolnik to work with Getman, as special counsel, to bring an action against the manufacturers and distributers of prescription opiates for damages to the County. In May 2018, Getman filed a nearly 250-page Summons and Complaint for damages to the county. That case was transferred to Suffolk County Courts shortly thereafter, to join other cases brought by various New York state counties.  The counties later added the Sacklers as individual defendants.

“We applaud the court’s decision,” Getman said. “Schuyler County’s lawsuit will move forward to seek reimbursement for its expenses allegedly related to the opioid crisis as well as to provide the County with financial aid to fight addiction, overdoses, drug-related crimes and drug deaths.”

According to Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, the lawsuit was filed at no risk to the county, as Napoli Shkolnik will work on contingency basis that will cover all costs associated with the lawsuit.

“By going forward with litigation, the County Legislature hopes to lessen the burden to taxpayers and hold manufacturers and distributors responsible for any role in the opioid epidemic,” O’Hearn said.

Schuyler County is one of several New York municipalities to file lawsuits against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid pain killers. At least thirty-three municipalities across the state are suing pharmaceutical companies for what they claim are deceptive marketing practices.

In addition, in February 2018, New York State officials filed a lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics, Inc., alleging that Insys deceptively promoted prescription opiate Subsys for unsafe uses and violated state law by downplaying drug’s addictive risks.

A copy of the court’s decision can be found here.

A copy of Schuyler County’s Summons and Complaint can be found here

Note: The allegations in a civil complaint are merely accusations and defendants are not considered culpable unless and until accusations are proven by a preponderance of evidence in a court of law.

Monday, June 24, 2019

New York legislature ends session: some of the major laws passed this year

Gannett News service lists the “20 major laws passed at the New York State Capitol this year.” The bills related to a number of areas, including:
1) Abortions
2) Rental laws
3) Marijuana decriminalization
4) Voting law changes, including early voting
5) Sexual harassment, rape law changes
6) Equal pay for equal work
7) Child Victims Act
8) The religious exemption for vaccinations
9) Driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants
10) More Gun control
11) Permanent property-tax cap
12) Immigrants brought into the country illegally as children are now eligible for college tuition aid from New York if they attended high school in the state
13) Eliminating Cash bail for most crimes
14) Gravity knives
15) Climate change
16) LGBTQ rights
17) LLC loophole
18) E-scooters
19) Cat-declawing ban
20) Standardized tests
Governor Cuomo said the new laws make New York the “social progress capital of the United States of America,” while Republic Senator Jim Tedisco predicts the new policies will only intensify the pace of New Yorker’s outmigration to other states.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

New York passes the SHIELD Act: law aims to strengthen data security and consumer privacy protections

The New York State legislature has passed The Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act, related to enhanced protections against data breaches and identity theft.

According to the New York State Attorney General’s office, the bill:

• Expands the scope of information subject to the current data breach notification law to include biometric information, email addresses, and corresponding passwords or security questions and answers; • Broadens the definition of a data breach to include unauthorized “access” to private information from the current “acquired” standard;
• Applies the notification requirement to any person or entity with private information of a New York resident, not just to those that conduct business in New York State;
• Updates the notification procedures companies and state entities must follow when there has been a breach of private information; and
• Creates reasonable data security requirements tailored to the size of a business.
The SHIELD act now goes to Governor Cuomo for his review.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

Monday, June 10, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: you can't restrict political yard signs

The New York Civil Liberties Union has stated that a unanimous 2015 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court "clearly called regulating yard signs based on content unconstitutional."

Based on such rulings, the New York Secretary of State has advised: “Some local governments have attempted to deal with the clutter of election campaign signs by limiting the period in which they may be posted. …such local regulations are likely to be struck down by the courts as an unlawful interference with the right of free expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

As James Madison once said, “Our First Amendment freedoms give us the right to think what we like and say what we please. And if we the people are to govern ourselves, we must have these rights, even if they are misused by a minority.”

Monday, June 3, 2019

New York enacts Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act

New York State has passed legislation to expand the situations in which judges can consider domestic violence survivors’ abuse when determining appropriate sentences for victims.

The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA) will, according to one report, allow judges to impose an alternative sentence if he or she finds that:

1) the defendant, at the time of the offence, was a domestic violence victim subjected to substantial physical, sexual, or psychological abuse inflicted by a member of the same family or household;
2) the abuse was a significant contributing factor to the criminal behavior; and
3) a sentence under the general sentencing provisions would be ‘unduly harsh.’”

The provisions dealing with resentencing become effective August 12, 2019. For sentences imposed going forward, the law became effective immediately.

The complete text of the law can be found here.

Monday, May 27, 2019

New York State to hold hearings on eligibility for counsel in family court matters

The New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services (OILS) is seeking the views and experiences of public defense providers, litigants, judges, county officials, and others, related to criteria and procedures for determining whether someone qualifies for assigned counsel in family law matters.

Four hearings have been announced:

• May 31, 2019, First Department, New York, NY
• July 17, 2019, Second Department, Brooklyn, NY
• June 19, 2019, Third Department, Albany, NY
• August 14, 2019, Fourth Department, Rochester, NY

Hearings will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Requests to testify must be received at least fourteen days before the scheduled hearing. For information on applying to testify in person and/or submitting written testimony, click here.

For more information on OILS, click here.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Schuyler County gives tax-foreclosed property owners another chance

Schuyler County’s annual property tax auction is scheduled for Friday, June 28.   However, county officials are giving foreclosed property owners one last chance to avoid the loss of their land.

On Monday (May 13), the Schuyler County Legislature voted to allow former owners who lost their properties in this year’s foreclosure to submit offers to County Treasurer Holley Sokolowski to buy back the land.  If accepted, County Attorney Steven Getman is authorized to prepare a deed to the former owner, returning the property.

The offer must be accompanied by payment of “the full amount of taxes, penalties, interest and other county expenses involved with the property,” the legislature held. 
County Treasurer Holley Sokolowski and County Attorney Steven Getman
Offers can be accepted up to two weeks prior to the auction, or June 14, Sokolowski said.

“After the deadline, any remaining properties will be sold to the highest bidder at the county’s tax auction,” she explained.  

Prior to the deadline, the county provides written notice of the opportunity to the former owners, Getman noted.  

“The notice reminds them of the foreclosure and provides options to avoid the sale,” Getman said. “Notices are sent by mail and, in addition, copies of the court’s foreclosure judgment are served on the properties by the sheriff’s department.”

The foreclosure order transferring ownership of each property to Schuyler County was entered by County Court Judge Dennis Morris on March 29, Getman said.

The May 13 resolution is the latest step in the county’s efforts to collect overdue taxes while keeping people in their homes, Sokolowski said.

According to Sokolowski, each November, the county mails out Foreclosure Notices and Petitions to properties with back tax liens from the prior year.  Those notices go out by both regular and certified mail to property owners, mortgage holders and others with identified interests in the delinquent properties.  The notice warns that failure to pay the back taxes can result in a court order foreclosing on the property.

The county also publishes a list of the delinquent taxes in two local newspapers and, in certain cases, posts warnings on the properties that they could be sold for back taxes, she noted.

In addition, though not required by law, in February, Sokolowski and Getman sent letters, with handwritten notes on the envelopes, to property owners who still had not paid their back taxes, in an effort to prevent foreclosure.

“That cut the delinquent list by more than half,” Sokolowski said. “A lot of people came in and paid when they got the letters.”

Only after each of those steps occurs, Getman explained, does the court enter a judgment foreclosing on the property.  

“Under the law, after the foreclosure order, the county conducts a tax auction in order to satisfy delinquent property taxes,” Getman said.  “At the auction, the successful bidder must pay the taxes due together with any other lawful charges and fees and is given a quitclaim deed to the property.”

The properties to be auctioned will be posted on the county's website as well as in a binder in the treasurer's office, Sokolowski said.

As County Treasurer, Sokolowski is the chief fiscal officer of county government and enforcement officer for unpaid property tax liens. 

As County Attorney, Getman is the chief legal advisor for county government and responsible for the prosecution and defense of civil actions brought by and against the county, including tax matters.

The current chair of the Schuyler County Legislature is Dennis Fagan.   The resolution to allow the buy-back was introduced by the county’s “Management and Finance” committee, chaired by legislator Phil Barnes. The resolution passed unanimously among the members present.

For more details on the buyback program, the tax auction and other aspects of the foreclosure process, interested persons can contact the county treasurer (607-535-8181) or visit the county’s website (

Monday, May 13, 2019

New York Court of Appeals rules Ohio gun seller not subject to injury lawsuit in New York

A gun dealer from Ohio who sold a firearm that was later trafficked into New York and used illegally in a shooting cannot be sued in state court by the victim of that crime, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled May 9.

The court held that Charles Brown, an Ohio gun dealer, couldn’t face the litigation in New York court because he sold the gun in Ohio and had no control over where it would end up after the sale, even if the buyer alluded that he may bring it to New York.

“Despite (the buyer’s) stated aspiration to open a gun shop in Buffalo, the record is devoid of evidence supporting plaintiffs’ theory that, merely by selling handguns to (the buyer) Brown intended to serve the New York market,” the court ruled.

Brown, in this case, was not part of a scheme to traffic guns into New York, the court held. The judges said there was no way for him to know what would happen to the firearms after they were sold so he did not purposefully enter into the New York market at the time.

The buyer later pleaded guilty to federal gun trafficking charges.

Brown's attorney said that "the case's main significance was that this was the lawful sale of a lawful product."

The complete decision can be found here.

Monday, May 6, 2019

New York expands Shock incarceration eligibility, effective May 12.

New York State lawmakers have expanded eligibility for the Shock incarceration program to include persons convicted of certain forms of second-degree burglary and second-degree robbery.

The Shock program provides selected inmates a special six-month program of shock incarceration, that stresses a highly structured routine of discipline, intensive regimentation, exercise and work therapy, combined with substance abuse treatment, education, pre-release counseling and life skills counseling.

A person becomes eligible for Shock when he or she is within 3 years of parole or conditional release, and eligibility is determined on a rolling basis (i.e., the initial sentence can be longer than 3 years).

The changes apply to judicial Shock orders (where the sentencing judge expressly directs that the defendant be enrolled in Shock) and discretionary Shock placement (where the Department of Corrections selects for participation). Judicial Shock orders are otherwise available only for drug and marijuana offenses.

These changes go into effect on May 12, 2019 and do not depend on the date of the offense.

For more information on New York State's shock incarceration program, click here.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Schuyler County Commemorates May 1 as “Law Day”: Law Day 2019 Will Focus on Free Speech, Free Press.

Watkins Glen, New York—The Schuyler County Legislature has recognized as the Law Day 2019 theme “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”

The legislature passed a resolution at its April 8, 2019 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 First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to free speech and a free press, along with other rights that recognize the ability of persons to think and communicate how they wish without fear of punishment or oppression,” Getman wrote.

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.”

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, 2019 as ‘Law Day’ in Schuyler County is available here.

Schuyler County Legislature: RECOGNIZING AND COMMEMORATING MAY 1, 2019 AS “LAW DAY” IN SCHUYLER COUNTY by Steven Getman on Scribd

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

$20 million federal fine against Rochester-area opioid distributor announced

One of the “big pharma” distributors of prescription opiates being sued by Schuyler County for fraudulent and negligent marketing and distribution of opiates will pay a $20 million fine under an settlement unveiled in federal court on Tuesday (April 23).

Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc. (RDC), one of the nation's largest pharmaceutical distributors, was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to distribute controlled narcotics — oxycodone and fentanyl — for non-medical reasons and conspiracy to defraud. Prosecutors allege that, from 2012 through March 2017, RDC knowingly and intentionally violated federal narcotics laws by distributing opioids to pharmacy customers that it knew were being sold and used illicitly.

According to court documents, the company has agreed to enter into a “consent decree,” under which it accepts responsibility for its conduct by making admissions and stipulating to an extensive "Statement of Facts," paying a $20 million penalty, reforming its controlled substances compliance program, and submitting to supervision by an independent monitor.

RDC is one of the big pharmaceutical companies being sued in state court by various New York municipalities, including Schuyler County. In May of last year, Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman filed a nearly 250-page Summons and Complaint in New York State Supreme Court for damages to the county arising out of the fraudulent and negligent marketing and distribution of opiates in the county.

Getman said his office would be carefully reviewing the statement of facts for evidence that could be used to support the county’s lawsuit.

“Schuyler County’s complaint alleges increased opioid use has fueled an illegal secondary market for opioids and the criminals who support it,” Getman said. “It also alleges that the defendants flooded the county with suspiciously large amounts of opioids.”

“To date, county officials have expended significant resources to help its residents battle opioid addiction and prevent further deaths,” Getman said. “Schuyler County’s lawsuit is moving forward to seek reimbursement for expenses related to the opioid crisis as well as to provide the county with financial aid to fight addiction, overdoses, drug-related crimes and drug deaths.”

In 2017, the County Legislature voted to retain the firm of Napoli Shkolnik to work with Getman, as special counsel, to bring an action against the manufacturers and distributers of prescription opiates for damages to the county.

According to Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, the lawsuit was filed at no risk to the County, as Napoli Shkolnik will work on contingency basis that will cover all costs associated with the lawsuit.

“By going forward with litigation, the County Legislature hopes to lessen the burden to taxpayers and hold manufacturers and distributors responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic,” O’Hearn said.

Schuyler County is one of several New York municipalities filing lawsuits against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid pain killers. At least 14 counties across New York are suing pharmaceutical companies for what they are claiming are deceptive marketing practices.

The consent decree is subject to final approval by the court. Any charges contained in complaints, indictments and other court documents are merely accusations, and any defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Odessa Mayor endorses Getman for Judge

Schuyler County Court Judge candidate Steven Getman has picked up another endorsement, this time from Odessa Village Mayor Gerry Messmer.

Messmer, who was returned by the voters as Mayor just last month, said "I've known Steve my whole life. I'm proud to call him my friend, and I hope to call him Judge Getman if he is elected as our new County Judge.”

“As our Schuyler County Attorney, Steve has shown a masterful knowledge of the law. I urge all residents of Odessa and throughout Schuyler County to join me in proudly supporting Steve in this year's election for Schuyler County Judge.”

Getman thanked Messmer for his endorsement, stating “Support from someone like Gerry, a public servant and honored veteran, is especially humbling. Prior to taking office, Gerry retired from the Army after 31 years of service so he knows how important it is to have effective and honest leadership from the top. I am extremely proud that a friend with his knowledge and abilities of organization and management, has endorsed my candidacy for Schuyler County Judge.”

Getman, a resident of Watkins Glen, has been the Schuyler County Attorney since 2015. Prior to that, he served as the assistant county attorney. He has practiced law since 1992, in areas including criminal law, family law, and municipal government. He is a graduate of Hofstra University, Ithaca College and Cornell University.

Beyond his service as an accomplished 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.

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 5.

Schuyler County joins fight against New York gun law

Elmira Star-Gazette:
Schuyler County has joined several other upstate New York counties, including Chemung and Steuben, in supporting a Supreme Court challenge to a New York City law that officials say could have statewide implications.

The county legislature unanimously authorized county attorney Steven Getman to assist in an upcoming case filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association against the city and state of New York.

At issue is a New York City law that prohibits licensed handgun owners from carrying their weapons outside the city, even if they are locked and unloaded....

Getman and the other litigants argue the law is unconstitutional in that it violates the right to travel, interstate commerce, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Schuyler County officials recognize April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

Members of the office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman assisted with the county’s “Pinwheels for Prevention” program to raise awareness of April 2019 as “Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

Under the campaign, officials promote preventing child abuse by distributing pinwheels and hosting educational events.

Schuyler County has set up a Pinwheels for Prevention garden outside the County Courthouse at 105 Ninth Street, Watkins Glen.

The county attorney’s office, which prosecutes civil cases of child abuse and neglect for the Department of Social Services, assisted DSS staff and Glove House employees in setting up the garden and distributing pinwheels.

Top photo: From left to right are: Secretary Maryann Friebis, County Attorney Steven Getman, Assistant County Attorney Vinton Stevens and Secretary Brandy Bower (absent: Deputy County Attorney Kristin Hazlitt).

Bottom photo: Steven Getman helps to set up the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign outside the courthouse.

For more on "Child Abuse Prevention Month," click here.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Judgment of Foreclosure with Notice of Entry: Schuyler County Real Property Tax Foreclosure Index No. 17-201

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that annexed hereto is a true and correct conformed copy of the Judgment of Foreclosure dated March 29, 2019 that was entered in the office of the Clerk of the County of Schuyler on March 29, 2019, in The Matter Of Foreclosure Of Tax Liens By Proceeding In Rem Pursuant To Article Eleven Of The Real Property Tax Law by the County of Schuyler.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Schuyler County considers joining U.S. Supreme Court challenge to New York gun law

The Schuyler County legislature will vote at its Monday (April 8) meeting whether to join a constitutional challenge to a New York City law that could have broad implications for the state’s gun control measures.

The proposed resolution, which has passed both the county’s management and finance committee and its legislative resolution review committee, authorizes County Attorney Steven Getman to “render aid, where possible and practicable, to the various states listed as Amicus Curiae in the pending United States Supreme Court case of the New York Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. et. al. v. City of New York, State of New York et. al.

Those states have joined the New York Rifle and Pistol Association in arguing that New York City’s general prohibition on transporting even licensed, locked and unloaded handguns outside the city is unconstitutional, in that it violates the right to travel, interstate commerce, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

They also argue that the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, which covers New York, applied an incorrect standard in upholding the law. The appeals court, the plaintiffs argue, erred by failing to subject to the law to a “strict scrutiny” test.

“Strict scrutiny is the highest standard of review a court may use to evaluate the constitutionality of governmental action,” Getman explained. “It is often applied when a law infringes upon a fundamental right or involves a suspect classification.”

“Under that test, a law must further a compelling governmental interest, and must be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

According to Getman, this is the first significant Second Amendment case the Supreme Court will hear since ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) that the Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and further that this right applies against the states as well as the federal government, in McDonald v. Chicago (2010).

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association challenged the city’s ban on taking a licensed handgun out of the licensee’s home except to a gun range within the city. The Second Circuit upheld the ban based on “intermediate scrutiny,” even though that standard requires that a restriction actually works to achieve a legitimate goal. Under the law, a city resident licensed to possess a handgun cannot transport their handgun to a weekend second home (even for self-defense), to another county to participate in a shooting competition, or even to a neighboring city for target practice. This, opponents argue, amounts to requiring a handgun owner to leave a firearm in a vacant house in the city while traveling, where it is more susceptible to burglary. They further argue that the city was unable to explain how a legal gun owner inflicts any risk on society when transporting a firearm outside the city, but not when transporting the identical firearm under identical conditions by identical means within the city itself.

How the Supreme Court rules could have broad implications for Schuyler County residents in terms of what sort of gun control measures the state might impose going forward, Getman noted. In recent years, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a vocal advocate for increased firearm restrictions.

This is not the first time that the Schuyler County legislature has weighed in against Cuomo’s strict gun control laws. In 2013, the legislature passed several resolutions opposing the controversial SAFE act, arguing that the law violated the Second Amendment and created an unfunded mandate on the counties.

If the county joins the action, it would be at no cost to the county, the resolution notes.

Schuyler County is not the first county in New York to join the amicus filing. As of Wednesday (April 3), the following counties are known to have passed resolutions supporting the law’s challenge on Second Amendment grounds: Cortland, St. Lawrence, In addition, the following upstate counties are currently considering joining the action: Steuben, Montgomery, Lewis, Tioga, Chemung, Schenectady and Jefferson.

The states currently filing in support of the Amicus Curiae, and against the law, are: Louisiana, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. A brief in opposition to the New York law has also been filed by: The Western States Sheriffs’ Association, International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, Law Enforcement Action Network, Law Enforcement Alliance of America, and International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers.

The current resolution was sponsored at management and finance by legislator Phil Barnes (R), District VI, Town of Dix.

A copy of draft resolution, submitted to the legislature by Getman, can be found here.

Resolution (Draft): Adoptin... by on Scribd

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

LETTER: Getman endorsed for Schuyler County Judge

To the Editor and voting residents of Schuyler County:
Supporting Steven Getman for Schuyler County Court Judge is an easy endorsement. Why? I have known Steve since 2005, when he came on board as the legal adviser for the Route 414 Scenic Byway Designation Committee. He served on the Board of Directors until the Byway was designated in September 2012.
Steve’s expertise on how to cross all the “T’s” and dot all the “I’s” came in handy when the committee was putting together the nomination package. Working with the NYS Transportation Department’s NY Advisory Board for the Scenic Byways was not easy. After a couple of meetings with the state it was quite evident that the committee needed someone familiar in dealing with the State Advisory Board and the numerous rules and regulations that we had to deal with.
There were times when we felt a bit defeated by all the documents that were required by the Advisory Board. Many Scenic Byway committees hire a consultant to help them, but the Designation Committee agreed we could do this without adding the expense of a consultant. We were able to accomplish everything we needed because of Steve’s help and dedication to this project. Even dealing with designing a logo for the sign was a bit tricky. However, Steve was able to help us in that regard.
When the Board found out that Route 414 would be designated as a Byway, all of us were excited. It had been a long 10 years since the conception of the idea of the 18 miles of Route 414 becoming a designated Scenic Highway.
I personally know that this would not have happened without Steven Getman and the other members of the committee. His expertise in working with the state to help us achieve our goal was enormous.
I highly endorse Steven Getman and all residents should vote for him come November. You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mobile Food Pantry coming to Schuyler County

Foodbank of the Southern Tier’s Mobile Food Pantry will be at the Schuyler County Human Services building every fourth Thursday of the month.

The event will be held “rain or shine” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY 14865.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier “is committed to creating a future without hunger where access to healthy food by all is recognized as fundamental to the well-being and success of individuals and the foundation of a strong, vibrant society.”

Their service area includes Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties, covering nearly 4,000 square miles. Through partnerships with member agencies in 2016, the Food Bank distributed 11,553,304 pounds of food and grocery items.

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 25, 2019

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 2018 are:

• Reducing Backlogs and Delays
• Providing Access to Counsel
• Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility
• The New York State Justice Task Force
• Transforming Litigation with E-Filing
• Embracing Electronic Testing
• Ensuring Access for Persons with Disabilities

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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

$62.5 Million announced in settlement credits for Spectrum customers

New York State officials have announced that Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) has begun to issue credits to New York consumers under Charter Communications, Inc.’s 2018 settlement agreement.

Under the terms of the settlement, Charter is required to issue monetary relief to qualified subscribers and offer certain video streaming services at no charge:

• Current subscribers who subscribe to both internet and cable television from Spectrum will have a choice of either three (3) months of HBO OR six (6) months of Showtime. (Note: This benefit is available to subscribers who do not already subscribe to both of the offered services through Spectrum.)

• Internet only subscribers will get one (1) month of Spectrum TV Choice streaming service—in which subscribers can (depending on their location) access broadcast television and a choice of 10 pay TV networks—as well as access to Showtime for one (1) month.

It is estimated that qualified subscribers will receive $62.5 million in bill credits. Subscribers will not have to fill out any documents to obtain the credit, but must contact Spectrum to receive the streaming services.

Consumers will have until May 30, 2019 to select the no extra charge premium services.

Charter delivers its TV, internet and voice services to residential and business customers through the Spectrum brand.

For more information, on this settlement and your rights thereunder, click here.

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