Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Winding Down

The fact that the Jamestown Lawyer blog goes a week or so without updates is indicating to me that it may be time for a hiatus, a reworking or straightforward abandonment. Expect little to no activity for the next two weeks as the nature of the beast is under inspection and introspection.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Family Court: NYC

NYC is looking to change the way assigned counsel is provided in Family Court cases. The plan is to move away from the "18-b" (named for the clause in the County Law which also effects upstate county) pool of assigned lawyers toward a system where a nonprofit legal services organization oversees representation.

The image of the 18-b lawyer presented by the advocate for change Mr. Lasner seems a little skewed, but at the same time, there's truth to what he says. Assigned counsel quite often is the mainstay of work for newer or less skilled attorneys. Perhaps, while this change is welcome, we should also be looking at the nature of our profession and figuring out how to deal with a glut that creates lawyers who are churning cases to make a buck.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And now for something completely different...

I'm not a fan of most tv court "reality" shows. This, however, has a lot of potential.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Homicide in Chautauqua County

A link to the Buffalo News' brief coverage of the first homicide of the calendar year in Chautauqua. A sad story that hopefully will provide a cautionary tale for others.

The Post-Journal also covered the story, supplying less detail and identifying it in the headline as "murder." Semantics are important to lawyers and should be to journalists. "Murder" is a technical term under the laws of New York requiring certain intent and actions. "Homicide" is a general term for the killing of a human, which may be by "murder" or "manslaughter" or "negligent homicide" or perhaps other legal terms.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Family Law: Supervised Visitation

Not long ago, an acquaintance was waiting in the hall with her grandchildren when a court officer came out, told her she'd been named as the person to supervise visitation, and told her to go into the court room before the judge where her child and the grandchildren's other parent were appearing on a custody/visitation matter. I chalked it up to one of those one-off situations that sometimes happens, given the collision between strict legal procedures and messy family emotion. However, the NY Times reports on another, somewhat related wrinkle to the area of supervised visitation: the fact that many people who are ordered to have a neutral, non-related supervisor can't afford the rates to have professional supervision.

Editorializing under cover of "analysis" may follow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oh, you mean that arrest?

Today's PJ reports on an interesting matter developing in the Town of Ellicott. It seems the police never released the report of the arrest until the paper FOIL'ed the information. There's no obligation that the police report every arrest to the media, but it certainly creates an appearance of impropriety where they are selective in releasing information on a particular person.