Weekly Round-Up: July 28th, 2014

Child Neglect

  • A father appealed a Suffolk County Family Court decision, which found that he had neglected his son, Laequise P.  The facts allege that while at a party, a then 8-year-old Laequise P., cursed at an adult.  In order to discipline him, his father spanked him.  At the Family Court fact-finding hearing, the father admitted that he had spanked the boy with an open hand.  There were also allegations that the father had struck the child with a belt once while they were home; the father denied these allegations.  In child neglect proceedings, the petitioner has the burden of proving neglect by a preponderance of the evidence.  The Appellate Division, Second Department, found that the burden had not been met with respect to whether the father had struck the boy with a belt.  Furthermore, “The father’s open-handed spanking of the child as a form of discipline after he heard the child curse at an adult was a reasonable use of force and, under the circumstances presented here, did not constitute excessive corporal punishment.”  The Appellate Division denied and dismissed the petition.


Human Trafficking

  • This past week NY1 News presented a weeklong news segment on the epidemic of Human Trafficking in New York City. Often times when people think of “human trafficking” or “sex trafficking,” they think of immigrant girls coming to the United States who are forced to work in the sex trade. However, the reality is that some young girls, born and raised in the five boroughs, are also being trafficked. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services says about 1,900 girls between the ages of 11-18 are commercially and sexually exploited in the city.
  • The internet has provided for a number of ways for traffickers and the “johns” to conduct business. Some pimps require the girls to post photos online of themselves together in what the pimp calls his “stable.” The NYPD’s Vice Squad has been working to identify the pimps and save the girls.
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Weekly Round-Up: July 21st, 2014

Immigration/NYC Municipal Identification Card

  • If you can prove your identity and residency then you will be eligible for a New York City Identity Card beginning in January 2015. Mayor Bill De Blasio recently signed a bill that will allow those who do not have or cannot obtain a government ID to have some form of identification that will allow them to: cash a check, open a bank account, or obtain a library card, among other things. Some advocates and undocumented immigrants are afraid that this will serve as an obvious sign of undocumented status. However, the Mayor plans to attach other benefits to the card such as discounts for different attractions in the city, in the hopes that the ID will be attractive to a vast array of residents. The documents used to obtain the ID card must be destroyed after 2 years. In a press conference, the Mayor indicated that the New York City Municipal ID Card is likely to be an attractive option for undocumented immigrants. He went on to state that New York is a “beacon of hope and inclusion,” and furthermore, this is an example of immigration reform “since we so often cannot depend on our federal government.” To learn more about the New York City Identity Card, click here.

Mental Health in Prisons

  • The New York Times reported this week that an increasing number of inmates at Rikers Island are mentally unstable and have suffered abuse at the hands of the correctional staff. Some jail staff have said that Rikers is not a facility that is equipped to deal with inmates who have mental illness. In the past, inmates with serious mental illness could be placed in solitary confinement, but this is not always the best answer. It has been shown that this can have an even more deleterious effect on inmates and worsen their symptoms.
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Weekly Round-Up: July 11th, 2014

New Judgeships

On June 26, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that is now in effect adding twenty-five new Family Court judgeship positions for New York. Prior to this legislation, there have not been any new positions added since 1991.  Heavy case loads and lack of personnel were causing long delays leading to children remaining in foster care longer and families waiting to have delicate matters resolved.  Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann and Chief Administrative Judge Gail Prudenti led the push to add more Family Court judges for this budget. Out of the twenty-five new positions, nine will be allocated to New York City to be shared amongst all five boroughs. The next step is for Mayor Bill De Blasio to make appointments for the New York City positions. To view the bill, please click here.


Public Health

Police Assist In Reversing Heroin Overdose ‪

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman created the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program. Under this program, naloxone will be given to police officers who are most likely to come into contact with individuals who are overdosing on some form of opiates – heroin or prescription pills. Naloxone is a drug that has been used for many years to treat individuals suffering from an opiate related overdose.  Police officers will administer naloxone nasally. The COP program will provide training for police officers so that they can learn to effectively administer the antidote, and it will also reimburse participating law enforcement agencies for expenditures related to the program.  For more information, please click here.


Revised Harassment Statute

The legislature has approved a revision of Penal Law § 240.30, the aggravated harassment statute. The Court of Appeals in People v. Golb was troubled by the statute’s language, specifically the part declaring it a misdemeanor to communicate with another “in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.” The statute was declared unconstitutionally vague by the Court of Appeals in a decision rendered on May 13, 2014.… Continue reading

New Editors: Same Great Blog!

Congratulations to the New York Law School class of 2014.  We would like to send a special congratulations to Michael Cabasso, Emily de la Vega and Susan Imam.  This past year, JustFamilies.org was relaunched, thanks to these three Abbey Law Center Associates.  Their hard work and dedication to this Family Law blog is inspiring and sets the tone for the years to come.

As the new editors, we hope to continue building upon their foundation by posting regularly about current events and Family Law related issues.  Some of our goals include: increasing the blog’s readership, interviewing legal professionals, and engaging students to post a range of different articles in order to diversify the blog’s content.    If you would like to contribute to the blog, or if you have any questions about the blog or the Abbey Center, please feel free to contact us.


Happy Summer!

Lori Vergara and Mallory McGee


mallory.mcgee@law.nyls.edu… Continue reading

Raising New York City’s Minimum Wage: Why is this a State Issue?

by Michael Cabasso

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for state legislation for a minimum wage raise in New York City.  Currently, New York State’s minimum wage stands at $8.00 an hour.  De Blasio proposes a City raise to $11.75 an hour.  Last year, the New York State Legislature agreed to a plan that increases the minimum wage rate.  Under this plan, the $8.00 wage will be increased to $8.75 in 2015 and $9.00 in 2016.

Currently, minimum wage is set by the New York State legislature under N.Y. LAB. LAW § 652.  New York City Mayor Wagner attempted to adopt NYC minimum wage laws in the early 1960’s.  The City believed this legislation would not supersede NY State law.  In Wholesale Laundry Bd. of Trade, Inc. v. City of New York, 17 A.D.2d 327 (1962), the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled that the City’s minimum wage law was inconsistent with and preempted by state law.  At the time, minimum wage was set at $1.00 an hour with a planned increase to $1.25 an hour.  The New York City Legislature created a citywide law that increased the minimum wage to $1.25 an hour with a planned increase to $1.50 an hour.  The mayor’s contention was that New York’s law did not limit the state law but ran concurrently.  The City reasoned that the local minimum wage law acted in the way that local penal laws may extend punishment for certain crimes.  The City believed that the minimum wage law acted as an extension to State law and would be permissible.  The Court did not agree.  The Court stated that “where the extension of the principle of the state law by means of the local law results in a situation where what would be permissible under the state law becomes a violation of the local law, the latter law is unauthorized.”  The City’s minimum wage law violated this principle because it prohibited a business from hiring a person at a wage which the State would allow.  Under this reasoning, the City’s law was st ruck down.… Continue reading