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. Following this decision, domestic violence victim advocates and district attorneys lobbied for the legislature to revise the statute to make all terms clear and to illustrate what behaviors will fall under this statute. The new bill proposes to change the language to include behavior in which an offender “knows or reasonably should know that such communication will cause such person to reasonably fear harm to such person’s physical safety or property, or to the physical safety or property of a member of such person’s same family or household.”  The bill also replaces the telegraph as a form of communication used to convey a threat and adds the “computer and any other electronic means.”


Animal Rights ‪

After a Brooklyn tattoo artist bragged about tattooing a sedated dog with a heart and his wife’s name, animal lovers were outraged.  “Mistah Metro,” the tattoo artist, instagrammed a photo of his dog with the caption, “My dog is cooler than yours.”  This act prompted New York lawmakers to unanimously vote on a bill to make tattooing or piercing dogs or cats illegal. Linda Rosenthal, an Upper West Side Assemblywoman introduced the bill in 2011, but after “Mistah Metro” bragged about his dog on social media, it inspired lawmakers to officially take a stand.  For an article on this, please click here.  (Huffington Post)