Man Shoots Wife Before Divorce Trial

Arguably it can go without being said that a divorce may cause a negative psychological effect on those involved.  While many divorces end without long-lasting complications, many do not.  Dr. Robert Segraves, a psychiatrist that completed his residency at the University of Chicago Medical Center, points out that “divorced men and women had the highest ratings of mental disturbance” when compared to those married, single, or widowed.  For alleged murder suspect from Queens, Guerino Annarumma, 52, the mental affect of an impending divorce lead to a deadly altercation between his stepdaughter and estranged wife, Olga Annarumma.

The couple had been married for five-and-a-half rocky years, though they had been estranged since 2009.  Records show a history of orders of protection against Guerino and in October of 2009, Guerino was arrested and convicted of aggravated harassment for threatening to kill Olga.

According to Guerino’s grizzly account given to police, he shot and killed Olga’s daughter first before shooting and critically injuring Olga hours before their trial was scheduled to start. That trial should have began at 2 p.m. Monday in Queens Supreme Court, however, neither client showed. The NY Daily News reported that despite a history of violence, Olga’s lawyer, Helene Sherman was “in shock” when she heard the news, saying that she never thought Guerino would follow through on his threats.

As horrific as the account may seem, tales of domestic violence occur rather frequently.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, everyday 3-4 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends and 1 in 4 women will experience some form of partner violence during their lifetimes.… <Read More>

Should New York Family Courts be Open to the Public?

Generally speaking, courtrooms across the country are open to the public. On any given day, the average person may sit-in on trials, jury selection, arraignments and the various other happenings of the American judicial system. This is not the case in New York Family Courts.  According to a November 17 New York Times article, a reporter tried to enter more than 40 courtrooms over the period of one week and was turned away from all of them.

In 1997 Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals Judith Kaye issued an order stating “The Family Court is open to the public.” In a statement issued in response to the order, Judge Kaye stated “it is vital that the public have good understanding of the court and confidence in the court.” The new rules were to give the public access to Family Court proceedings, while still helping safeguard and protect the children and families the court serves. Over a decade later, however, the courtrooms remain virtually closed to all but those essential to the proceedings.

According to the New York Family Court’s website, the Family Court is currently open to the public, as mandated by the 1997 order. However “the judge or support magistrate presiding over each case has the authority to exclude the public from the courtroom depending on the nature of the case or privacy interest of the parties.”

Instead of a case-by-case determination of whether the public should be allowed into the courtrooms, many court officers flatly deny the public entry into the courtrooms.… <Read More>

Untreated Sex Offenders: Automatically Presumed Neglectful Parents?

The New York Court of Appeals recently decided a case involving a father of five children who was found to be a level three sex offender after being convicted of various crimes, including “rape in the second degree, sexual intercourse with a person less than 15 years of age, and patronizing a prostitute”. Although none of these crimes involved the father’s own children or any other relatives, the court was faced with the question of whether or not the father nevertheless neglected his own children based on his status as a sex offender. … <Read More>

A Quickie Divorce? Not So Quick.

Everyone has heard of the quickie wedding or the shotgun wedding, but what about a quickie divorce? Even with the enactment of no-fault divorce in every state, many no-fault statutes still require a period of separation or attestation to a period of breakdown. New York’s no-fault statute DRL§170(7) states “The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.” Conversely, to get married in New York, a person must wait 24 hours between the issuance of a marriage license and the solemnization of marriage. Thus, to enter into the institution of marriage you need to only wait one day whereas to get out of the institution of marriage and obtain a divorce you need to have a six month breakdown.

These two notions bring up interesting problems. For example, what if someone enters into a marriage and two months later determines that was a mistake and wants to get divorced? Or what about the young couple who fall in love and elope in Las Vegas, only to realize a month later it was a mistake? If annulment is not an option, what option is available? When you have been married less than six months how do you attest that your marriage has been broken down irretrievably for at least six months? A couple could easily spend more time trying to get out of a marriage and get a divorce then the amount of time they were actually (happily) married.… <Read More>

ACS Agrees to Implement New Unit to Obtain Housing for Children Discharged from Foster Care,r:4,s:24Administration for Children’s Services recently reached an agreement which will settle a class-action lawsuit filed against the agency.  The lawsuit alleged that the city agency allows children who “age out” of foster care (between the ages of 18 and 21) to become immediately homeless.  Children who enter foster care do so for one of two reasons:  there has been a finding of abuse or neglect against their parents or their parents voluntarily placed them into foster care.  The agency contracts out to other foster care agencies which monitor and provide services for the foster care youth. The children are monitored, as well as their parents, and in some cases, the children are returned home; otherwise, the children remain in foster care until they “age out.” Regardless, the agency does not offer services for these children once they “age out.”  State law requires ACS to supervise and assist in providing housing for people who have left foster care until they reach the age of 21.  However, an alarming amount of people who have been discharged from foster care are discharged into homelessness.

In order to settle this lawsuit, after two years of negotiations, the agency has offered to implement a new unit in ACS to oversee that foster care agencies create permanent housing plans for youths living in foster care.  Specifically, ACS will develop permanent housing plans for youths living in foster care.  It will work with foster care agencies to create the plans in time to find adequate housing.  The city and the agencies will monitor the young adults discharged under the plans until they turn 21. … <Read More>