Monday, May 16, 2022

Sexual Harassment Complaint Hotline Established for New York

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 9, 2022

Crime, courts addressed in New York State Budget

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

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

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

Monday, May 2, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: May, 2022

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

Monday, April 25, 2022

Schuyler County Commemorates Sunday May 1 as “Law Day”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 18, 2022

Schuyler County announces 2022 Life Planning Seminar

Schuyler County officials are sponsoring the 2022 Life Planning Seminar.

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 11, 2022

New York State Court system’s annual report released

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

Among the issues addressed in the report for 2021 are:

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

A complete copy of the report is available here.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: April, 2022

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

Monday, March 28, 2022

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

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

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

The provisions include:

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

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

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

Monday, March 21, 2022

2022 National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference Announced

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

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

Learn more and register here.

Monday, March 14, 2022

New York State Judicial Conduct Commission Releases Annual Report of Activity

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

The 2022 annual report is available here.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: March, 2022

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State.

For a complete PDF copy of this month's update, click here.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Senate proposal would change OTB representation

Copyright © 2022 FINGER LAKES MEDIA. All rights reserved
The state has proposed legislation that will change how Off-Track Betting (OTB) is overseen and operated. Under the proposed bill introduced by state Sen. Tim Kennedy, instead of each member county having its own representative, membership would be distributed by population.

"And Schuyler County would be forced to share a single representative with Cayuga, Chautauqua, Genesee, Livingston and Seneca Counties," said County Attorney Steven Getman. "Larger, western counties, such as Monroe and Erie, would gain representation on the board."

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Western Regional Off-Track Betting is a public benefit corporation that is owned by 15 counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester. Currently, there are county and city representatives that comprise the board of directors. The proposed bill would drastically change that structure with one member representing Chautauqua, Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Schuyler and Seneca counties, one member representing Oswego, Cattaraugus and Wayne counties, three representing Monroe, Wyoming and Orleans counties and four would represent Erie County. Additionally, one representative would represent Niagara County, another one would be appointed by the governor, one would be appointed by the Senate majority leader, and finally one would be appointed by the Assembly speaker.

While the new legislation is noted to help address prior problems, officials question if shifting the power to fewer areas of the state will actually accomplish those goals.

"Schuyler County, through its representation on the OTB board of directors, has been very vocal in trying to unravel these alleged deficiencies in the current OTB operations and this legislation would, paradoxically, weaken its voice in OTB governance," said Getman. "Had this legislation been in effect during the past several years, Schuyler County's ability to challenge these alleged deficiencies would likely have been seriously curtailed."

Monday, February 21, 2022

Remote Meetings Authorization Extended by NY Governor

On February 14, Governor Kathy Hochul issued Executive Order 11.3, which extends the State disaster emergency (and, therefore, the remote meeting authorization for public bodies) through March 16, 2022.

For more information on conducting public meetings during this period, click here.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Valentine's Day 2022: Avoid these "romance scams."

Romance scams in 2021: Fraudsters to the left of you, fakers to the right
Love happens year-round, not only on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, romance scams are the same. So, along with sharing (or not) some chocolate, make Valentine’s Day a time to share with people you care about some ways to spot and avoid romance scams. Because, according to a new FTC report, people sent $547 million to online romance scammers last year.
How can you avoid a romance scam?
If someone appears on your social media and rushes you to start a friendship or romance, slow down.
Don’t send a reload, prepaid, or gift card; don’t wire money; and don’t send cryptocurrency to someone you met online.
If you suspect a romance scam, cut off contact. Tell the online app or social media platform right away, and then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: February 2022

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

Friday, February 4, 2022

Raise the age: lawmakers raise concerns

© Copyright 2022 Press-Republican:
Sounding off at a state budget hearing, several lawmakers said the New York law that raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18 has been implemented with inadequate access to secure housing for offenders and may be a factor in the spread of gang violence.

The Raise the Age law was intended to keep young lawbreakers out of adult courts and prisons and provide them with programming so they won’t end up being mired in lives of crime.

Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said there are indications from law enforcement officials that criminals have been enlisting 16- and 17-year-old juveniles in their schemes because the youths face minimal legal consequences.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Schuyler County Tax Foreclosure: Judgment of Foreclosure

SUPREME COURT: STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF SCHUYLER

NOTICE OF ENTRY: Judgment of Foreclosure, Index No. 18-224

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.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that annexed hereto is a true and correct copy of the Judgment of Foreclosure dated January 20, 2022 that was entered in the office of the Clerk of the County of Schuyler on January 21, 2022.

Schuyler County RPTL Art 11 Judgment of Foreclosure 2022 01 20 by Steven Getman on Scribd

Monday, January 17, 2022

Martin Luther King Day

Ronald Reagan:
"Each year on Martin Luther King Day, let us not only recall Dr. King, but rededicate ourselves to the Commandments he believed in and sought to live every day: Thou shall love thy God with all thy heart, and thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. And I just have to believe that all of us -- if all of us, young and old, Republicans and Democrats, do all we can to live up to those Commandments, then we will see the day when Dr. King's dream comes true, and in his words, "All of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning. . . land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

(President Reagan, Coretta Scott King, Bob Dole and others at the signing ceremony for HR 3706 making the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday. 11/2/1983)

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 10, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 3, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update: January 2022

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

Saturday, January 1, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schuyler County Proclaims J... by Steven Getman