Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The Post-Journal again reports on attempts to develop new landlord/tenant regulations in the City of Jamestown.

The Jamestown Lawyer would like to highlight the comments of Councilman Rabb. I would never dispute that there are bad tenants. In fact, I have stories that would probably curl your hair. However, the missing piece in these discussions seems to be that Jamestown has some (very vocal and REIA-approved) slumlords who do not maintain properties and are quick to claim poverty due to tenants at every instance. As long as their hyperbole is taken at face value, no constructive changes in the condition of local housing will be made.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Media Watch

Post-Journal headline: Rising Prices Drive Up Welfare Fraud.

Actual content of article: Rising Prices May Increase Fraud and This Is How DSS Deals With It On A Regular Basis.

Was the PJ so pressed for space that they couldn't insert a "may" in the headline?
Or was it reflecting the editorial policies of the paper that seek to repeal the New Deal?

I report. You decide.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Endangering Child Welfare

In the northern stretches of the Fourth Department, a Jefferson County city court judge has recently issued a couple of rulings regarding the sealing of records in EWOC cases. By keeping the records open, even if the plea was to a lesser charge, his goal is to maintain a public record of the original offense as a warning against entrusting children to these persons.

An admirable goal, but the cynical and/or Constitutional rights obsessed amongst us might question whether a plea to another charge should be treated as a plea to the unproven/unadmitted Endangering the Welfare charge.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Public Defenders

The National Legal Aid and DefenderAssociation has released (in 2007 and 2008) fairly in-depth "report cards" of the public defender system in various NY counties. The links are available at the New York State Defenders Association, nysda.org.

Check out Cattaragus County here. One note, though: the magistrate's undertaking request as discussed on page one has been challenged and ended. Unfortunately, the magistrate is still employed by the court system.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Update on Tampering Case

A few posts back, there was a link to a story regarding a JPD officer spitting into seized drugs, apparently to increase the weight and raise the level of offense. Today's Post-Journal contains another story on the matter. New charges have been filed against the former officer.

Although a secondary part of the story, the matter of a confidentiality agreement and a leak seems like the sort of thing that will continue to be in the public eye and perhaps the public interest.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

LL/T law

The City Council of Jamestown, as reported by the Post-Journal earlier in the week, is starting to consider some new landlord and tenant laws. The first step in this process is reviewing a report regarding rules and regs in other places.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Family Court

According to the Post-Journal, one of the judicial seats in the county will be subject to a contested race this year. Phil Cala has announced he plans to run for Family Court. Incumbent Judith Claire has also indicated she will run to retain the Judge position.

Thoughts? Comments?

Sales Tax & Senecas

The Post-Journal reports today that the Appellate Division (The Jamestown Lawyer guesses Fourth Department, but it's not specified in the article) ruled the State cannot collect sales taxes on non-Native reservation purchases.

Being a court decision, of course, the very broad and final-sounding sentence above is not entirely true, although that's what people are reacting to.

What the court actually ruled was that the Supreme Court ruled correctly that, under the existing tax law, the proper steps were not taken to create the necessary mechanism to collect taxes. The law required certain steps to exempt Native purchasers and clarify the process, which were never done.

Based on the failure to follow process, the State can't collect taxes. It isn't a final decision on "ever or never," although that's how the pundits spin such topics to get radio listeners and editorial readers up in arms.