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News stories tagged with "courts"

Top judges propose reform of town and village courts

The chief judges of the state's court system want to overhaul local town and village courts. A New York Times series published in late September savaged the local system. The Times found widespread examples of incompetence and improper behavior, especially here in the North Country.
The local courts are often low-budget operations. Most local justices have no legal background, and minimal training. In cases cited by the Times, some allegedly used racist or sexist language. They were accused of showing bias against defendants. People were jailed without due process.
The chief judges' report released yesterday acknowledges many of the weaknesses. Its authors - at the top of the justice system - also admit they can't mandate change.
Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.  Go to full article

NY Times finds abuses in North Country courts

A report published this morning in the New York Times alleges widespread incompetence and abuse of power in New York's system of town and village courts. The article, based on a year-long investigation by the Times, focuses on six local courts in the North Country. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article

Reforming sex offenders, with Hollywood's help

One of the touchiest subjects about sex offenders is recidivism. Some say that therapy isn't effective because sex offenders will almost always try to repeat their crimes. And that's true--for a very small percentage of sexual predators. But most sex offenders have low recidivism rates, lower than any other criminal except murderers. St. Lawrence County just launched a new treatment program for sex offenders. It's a 16-week program meant to teach so-called "low-risk" offenders to control their behavior. It also prepares them for the next 20 years of probation. Gregory Warner stopped by one class in Potsdam. They had just watched The Woodsman the week before, a 2004 film where Kevin Bacon plays a child molester just released from prison.  Go to full article

NY Court Rules Gay Marriage Unlawful

New York's highest court ruled that marriage of same-sex couples is against state law. In a divided ruling, the Court of Appeals said it's up to the legislature to change the statute. The news came as a great disappointment to the 44 couples who challenged the law. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.  Go to full article

DA Hopefuls Spar Over Experience, Prescription Drugs

The candidates for St. Lawrence County District Attorney are entering the home stretch of what could be a closely contested race. Acting DA Gary Miles is running on the Republican ticket, even though he's a Democrat. He face a strong challenge from Democratic candidate Nicole Duvé. As David Sommerstein reports, the campaign has been a bitter one, with controversy surrounding a crackdown on prescription drugs.  Go to full article

Pataki Nominates Susan Phillips Read to State's Highest Court

For the first time in New York's history, the state's highest court will have a majority of women on the seven-member panel. The court will also be dominated by appointees of Governor Pataki, now that Pataki has appointed Justice Susan Read to the New York Court of Appeals. Karen Dewitt reports.  Go to full article

Appeals Court Says School-Aid Plan Doing a Good Job

A mid-level appeals court overturned a state Supreme Court judge's ruling that declared the state's school aid distribution formula unconstitutional. The appeals court ruled that the present school-aid structure does provide a sound and basic education for New York students. Karen Dewitt reports.  Go to full article

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