Monday, March 27, 2023

New York Courts’ Equal Justice Initiative Issues Progress Report

The New York State Office of Court Administration has released a report updating the status of the court system’s Equal Justice Initiative.

“Equal Justice in the New York State Courts: 2022 Year in Review,” highlights the court system’s statewide efforts over the past year "to promote diversity and inclusiveness on the bench and in the courts’ workforce and foster a safe, welcoming and bias-free environment."

Initiatives highlighted in the March 8 report include:

▪ Mandating comprehensive racial bias training for all judges and nonjudicial staff.
▪ Expanding the resources of the court system’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).
▪ Revising human resources and interview practices.
▪ Creating Equal Justice Committees in each of the court system’s 13 judicial districts to implement reforms at the local level.
▪ Developing a bench card for judges, with tips on using LGBTQ+-inclusive language and pronouns.
▪ Expanding Virtual Court Access Network (VCAN) sites to help bridge the digital divide by providing remote access to courts in locations such as libraries, houses of worship and community centers.
▪ Appointing a Statewide Equal Justice Coordinator.

The full report is available online here.

Monday, March 20, 2023

NYS Judicial Conduct Commission releases annual report

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has released its 2023 Annual Report, covering activities throughout the calendar year 2022.

Among its latest activities:

• The Commission also rendered 25 public decisions, the most in a single year since 2009.
• Thirteen judges were publicly disciplined: three judges were removed from office, seven were censured and three were admonished.
• Twelve judges resigned and publicly agreed never to return to judicial office.
• Six other judges resigned while complaints were pending, where it had not been determined permanent departure from office was warranted or appropriate.
• Twenty-seven judges were issued confidential cautionary letters.
• One hundred and eighty-seven matters were pending at year’s end.
The Commission is the disciplinary agency constitutionally designated to review complaints of judicial misconduct in New York State. The Commission's objective is to enforce the obligation of judges to observe high standards of conduct while safeguarding their right to decide cases independently.

The Report is available at here. An accompanying press release is available here.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Schuyler County: Gideon's Day Celebration is March 17

The Schuyler County Public Defender's Office is holding an Open House on Friday, March 17th from 2pm to 4pm. It will be celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision in Gideon v. Wainwright:
Gideon v. Wainwright is a landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 18, 1963, that the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires U.S. states to provide attorneys to criminal defendants who are unable to afford their own.

Clarence E. Gideon was charged with felony breaking and entering in a Florida state court. He requested an attorney, but the judge denied him because it was not a capital case. With only an 8th grade education, he represented himself and was convicted after a trial. He appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court who ruled the 6th Amendment requires the state to provide an attorney because he could not afford one. Upon retrial Mr. Gideon was acquitted by the jury after only an hour of deliberation.

Please stop by to enjoy some treats, talk with our staff, and learn more about the important role public defenders and defense attorneys have in our criminal justice system and the service they provide to our community as a whole.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Second Amendment Legal Update: March 2023

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 copy of this month's report, click here.