Weekly Round-up: December 6th, 2013


~The newly appointed NYPD Commissioner, William Bratton, will now be responsible for school safety in New York City. This February he attended a School Safety Symposium in Purchase, NY that was held in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  The Symposium focused on bringing school officials and law enforcement together in order to discuss working together and integrating mental health services as a way to prevent school related violence. Bratton, a speaker at the symposium, promoted the idea of inter-agency collaboration in order to prevent school shootings. (CBS New York)

~ One of the major issues that mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will face in the upcoming months is contract negotiation with the New York City teachers’ union, The United Federation for Teachers.  The teachers’ contract ran out in 2009 and has yet to be renewed due to a contract dispute.  The following article outlines the larger points of contention. (Education Week)


~Cesar Vargas completed law school and passed his bar examination.  Upon the completion of his bar exam, the  Committee responsible for evaluating his character and fitness rated him “stellar.”  After this rating, the Committee recommended that Vargas not be admitted to the State Bar due to the fact that he is an unauthorized immigrant. Vargas came to the United States from Mexico at age 5. He is challenging the Committee’s decision.  You can read about the story here.  (NY Times)

Juvenile Rights

~ In In Re Edwin S. the Family Court (Queens County) addressed the use of simplified Miranda Warnings for juveniles. The thirteen year old was brought to the police station after the police told his mother that if she did not bring him to the station that the police would have to go to their house to arrest him. The child was read his Miranda warning, however the fourth element of the warning “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you without cost” was further simplified in a pre-printed document to “That means if you want a lawyer but do not have the money to pay for one, the court will give you a lawyer for free.” The court ruled that the simplification is misleading and incorrect because it may confuse the child into thinking they are only able to get an attorney after they have been in court and not during the interrogation.

Matrimonial Practice

~The First Department ruled this week in Venecia V. v. August V. that parents in post-divorce proceedings are able to make malpractice claims against attorneys for their children.  The court also ruled that the father’s claim had no merit and ordered him to pay the fees.

Public Health

~The New York City Council is looking to ban smoking e-cigarettes in public places.  The Council will hold a public hearing next Wednesday before the Council is expected to vote on this issue on December 19. A link to the bill is here.  A discussion about what advocates and opponents think of this proposal can be seen in this article. (NY Times)


~In the Matter of Stafford a New York Appellate court upheld a woman’s will that included a $100,000 bequest to her pet cat “Kissie Meouw” and disinherited her three nephews. The nephews contested the new will on the ground that the decedent was unduly influenced by her house-mate and Kissie Meouw’s designated guardian who will now live rent-free in the decedent’s home to take care of the cat. The Surrogate’s Court granted summary judgment dismissing the nephews’ objections and the Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed. The court considered the testimony of the lawyer who drafted the new will, who stated that the decedent sought to create a new will because, among other things, her nephews’ “heart[s]” are “in their pocketbook.”