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News stories tagged with "courts"

Lunchtime in the mess hall. Photo: Natasha Haverty
Lunchtime in the mess hall. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Special report: A look inside Moriah Shock Prison

Two years ago, Moriah Shock Prison near Port Henry was next on the list of correctional facilities New York State wanted to close. Camp Gabriels near Saranac Lake and the Summit Shock Prison near Albany had already been shut down, and the prisons in Lyon Mountain and Ogdensburg were also on the chopping block.

But the local community and Essex County officials rallied enough support to keep Moriah open. Today, 188 men live on the spartan campus, set in a former mining facility at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

Corrections officers and some inmates at Moriah Shock say the prison's program offers a fresh start to men willing to work hard. But a quarter-century after the state's "shock" program was created, the question of whether it really works remains unresolved.

[CORRECTION: Martin Horn was misidentified earlier as former commissioner of New York's Department of Corrections. He is former commissioner of New York City's Department of Correction and Department of Probation, and headed Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections.]  Go to full article
You have to be living in a vacuum to not understand that the expenditures in this state have to be cut.

Chief judge pushes back on court cuts

Governor Cuomo has not spared any aspect of state government from his budget cuts. That includes New York's judiciary system. The State's chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, gave his State of the Judiciary speech this week. And he denied that any tensions exist between himself and Governor Cuomo over the proposed cuts. Karen Dewitt reports from Albany.  Go to full article

Cuomo wants quick action on pending Senate races

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to New York's chief judge, asking for expedited court action in three disputed state Senate races.
Outcomes of the races will determine which party has the majority in the Senate. So far Republicans are leading. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

Saranac Lake's trustees want to dissolve the village court

Village trustees in Saranac Lake voted unanimously last night to dissolve their village court system. The move, which still has to be approved in a public referendum this fall, means courts in the three towns that overlap the village will have to take over the workload of the village court. It's just the latest in a series of consolidation efforts the village has pursued to reduce the multiple layers of government in the villlage. But, as Chris Knight reports, the decision to dissolve village court isn't without its critics.  Go to full article
James Roche was denied judicial diversion. His judge is less likely than other judges to give treatment people who sell drugs.
James Roche was denied judicial diversion. His judge is less likely than other judges to give treatment people who sell drugs.

Rockefeller law reforms give some addicts a new chance, others get jail

Last year the New York State Legislature voted to give drug addicts a second chance, by doing away with the last remnants of the Rockefeller drug laws. Some considered the old laws draconian and reformers praised the change saying it could stop the addiction cycle by diverting addicts bound for prison and instead send them to treatment. For the last couple months, reporter Charles Lane has been investigating how this judicial diversion has been implemented so far across the state. And he finds that the impact of the reforms largely depends on which county the addict is convicted in. Photos and timeline courtesy of WSHU.  Go to full article

Village judge in Saranac Lake censured for ?improper? activity

A village justice in Saranac Lake has been censured by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct for what it described as "improper activity." The panel stopped short of removing the judge from office. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article

A more diverse court

The state's Commission on Judicial Nominations, heavily criticized by Governor David Paterson for lacking diversity in its selection of potential judges, has issued new rules to address the issue. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article
The political battle between Republican Jim Tedisco (right) and Democrat Scott Murphy is headed for the courts
The political battle between Republican Jim Tedisco (right) and Democrat Scott Murphy is headed for the courts

Tedisco, Murphy race enters a process that could take months

State election officials say Democrat Scott Murphy leads the 20th district election by 47 votes. But as the ballot recount continues, Republicans in the district are trying to disqualify hundreds of ballots, including the vote cast by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand held the House seat until January, when she was appointed to the US Senate. In a statement released last night, Gillibrand called the challenge "frivolous" and "dishonest." Republican Jim Tedisco has argued that too many second homeowners, many of them living in New York City, voted inappropriately in the election. In a statement issued last night, Tedisco's attorney, Jim Walsh, said that a judge should disqualify those votes. "We will continue to make the case that the ballots of hundreds of New York City voters should not be deciding this election," Walsh wrote. But Robert Brehm with the New York State Board of Elections, says the courts haven't restricted voting by snowbird residents and second homeowners in the past. Brehm spoke yesterday with Brian Mann about the ballot-counting process. He says the system works slowly, but will eventually produce a clear result.  Go to full article

Judging North Country courts

Published reports in the New York Times last year exposed wide spread incompetence and abuse in the state's local justice courts. Many of these judges have only a few days' legal training and almost no oversight. This has led to instances of prosecution without defense, imprisonment without bail and other violations of the law. Now a commission has been formed to look into them. Its members have spent this week in Franklin and St Lawrence Counties observing justice courts and their judges. Jonathan Brown talked with commission chair Carey Dunne about what he's finding.  Go to full article

Spitzer urged to consider court diversity

Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer will have the opportunity to change the make up of the state's highest court in the next year and a half. At a hearing today held by Senate Democrats, prominent members of the legal community urged Spitzer to consider ethnic and racial diversity when he makes his decisions. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

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