Monday, December 30, 2019

New laws for New York in 2020

Gannett News reports on a number of the new laws enacted by the New York State Legislature and scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020. They include:
Adoptees can access birth certificates;
• Farmworkers get overtime pay, mandatory rest;
Cash bail, discovery reforms;
• Safety course requirement for motorboats;
• Teens can 'pre-register' to vote;
For more on these new laws, click here.

Monday, December 23, 2019

New York courts and officials prepare for implementation of bail and discovery reforms. New resources available.

With the discovery and bail reform laws taking effect January 1, 2020, judges, attorneys and other court officers have new resources to help them prepare for and comply with the new procedure:

In addition, the Queens District Attorney's Office has compiled a list of those crimes for which bail no longer will be an option.

For more on discovery reform laws, click here.   For more on the bail reform laws, click here.

Monday, December 16, 2019

National Human Trafficking Summit

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) is hosting the inaugural National Human Trafficking Prosecutorial Summit on January 7-8, 2020.

The summit will focus on the needs of jurisdictions responding to human trafficking cases. Experienced prosecutors and other allied professionals will facilitate discussion and train participants on practical strategies and model policies in the prosecution of human trafficking.

Topics to be discussed include:

Demand Reduction;
Creative Prosecution and Charging Decisions; Working with Victims;
Neuroscience of Trauma;
Task Force Models;
Illicit Massage Parlors; and
Labor Trafficking

For more information, or to register, click here.

Monday, December 9, 2019

New law aims to protect rent-controlled tenants from landlord harassment

New York State enacted A.6188/S.2605 on Tuesday (December 3). According to supporters of the law, it will protect rent-regulated tenants from landlord harassment intended to force tenants out of their homes.

The new law increases penalties for when a landlord seeks to force out two or more rent-regulated tenants by creating unsafe, disruptive, or uninhabitable conditions. A landlord engaging in this conduct against one tenant may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for harassing a rent-regulated tenant. Where the conduct impacts two or more tenants, a landlord may be guilty of a Class E felony. A landlord guilty of multiple convictions for misdemeanor conduct under these new provisions within five years can be charged with a Class E felony.

Previously, supporters say, the law only provided protections to tenants who could demonstrate physical injury and failed to take into account the conditions caused by the landlord.

For more information on the new law, click here.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Schuyler and Chemung Counties prevail in emergency tower site appeal.

Albany, New York--Schuyler and Chemung Counties have again prevailed in their five-years-long court battle against an adjoining landowner regarding the counties’ use of the Terry Hill Emergency Tower site (and right of way), owned by Schuyler County,  near Beardsley Hollow Road in Chemung County.

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman
The County of Schuyler was represented on appeal by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman.  Chemung County was represented by Syracuse attorney Gabrielle Figueroa.   Elmira attorney Scott Moore represented appellant William Hetrick, the adjoining landowner. 

According to court records, both counties had used the site for radio and voice communication for over fifty years. In 2012, the two counties began to update and replace the emergency communications tower at the site.  Hetrick objected to the upgrade, arguing that it violated a restrictive covenant related to his land.  In October 2014, the counties sought a declaratory judgment from Chemung County Supreme Court.  The counties maintained that the use of the property was proper and necessary for public safety.  Hetrick filed a counterclaim thereafter.  In March 2018, Supreme Court Justice Judith O’Shea ruled in the counties’ favor.  O’Shea held that the new tower and equipment were consistent with the deed language, as was continued cooperation between Schuyler and Chemung counties.

O’Shea’s judgment was unanimously affirmed in Thursday’s ruling.

“We are pleased with the appellate court’s decision,”  Getman said.  “A ruling against the counties could have eliminated a critical public service from Schuyler County.”

The site is the single transmission site for the entire Schuyler Public Safety Communication system, Getman explained.  The county uses this system to dispatch nine volunteer fire departments, three ambulance services, multiple police agencies and local highway departments, he noted.

Various Schuyler County agencies assisted in gathering information and providing evidence to support the counties’ case during the litigation, including:  Emergency Management Director William Kennedy, the County Administrator, the Clerk to the Legislature, the County Clerk, the County Treasurer, the Highway Department and Buildings and Grounds.

Hetrick has approximately thirty days to seek leave to appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Genesee County man sentenced in Schuyler County for failure to pay child support

Watkins Glen, NY (November 25, 2019)--A Bergen (Genesee County) man was given a 120-day stayed jail sentence for not paying past-due child support, following an appearance in Schuyler County Family Court on Monday (November 25, 2019).

According to County Attorney Steven Getman, the respondent was found in willful violation of a prior court order because he failed to pay nearly $7000.00 ($6943.22) in back support for his two children, who reside with their mother in Schuyler County.

Court records indicated that the last payment was made June 2016, Getman said.

After hearing from the parties, Acting Schuyler County Family Court Judge John Rowley determined that the respondent should be punished for contempt of court. Therefore, he sentenced the respondent to 120 days in jail, with the opportunity to “purge” the sentence if he paid at least $3000.00 towards the back child support prior to January 3, 2020. If the sentence is not purged, Rowley held, the man would be incarcerated on that date.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Vinton Bovier Stevens. The respondent was represented by Ithaca attorney Nicole Pence.

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 noted.

The county attorney’s office represents the Department of Social Services in prosecuting child support cases brought in the family court by that agency. 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.

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