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News stories tagged with "law"

Mary Rain, St. Lawrence County's Public Defender, shows her staff's overbooked schedules.
Mary Rain, St. Lawrence County's Public Defender, shows her staff's overbooked schedules.

Year of Hard Choices: public defenders swamped

Tonight, the St. Lawrence County legislature takes up a measure to increase the salaries of its public attorneys. The vote comes after more than half of the county's 21 lawyers have resigned in the last year. Many cited low pay and high workload for their departure. St. Lawrence may be an extreme example. But across the North Country, the recession is putting increased stress on lawyers in public defenders and district attorneys' offices. For our series, A Year of Hard Choices, David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

State conservation officials still at odds with key Adirondack environmental law

In the latest issue of the Adirondack Explorer magazine, our reporter Brian Mann tells the surprising story of the Adirondack Park's State Land Master Plan.

The "SLUMP," as it's known, shapes nearly every activity in the Adirondack forest preserve, from hiking and snowmobile trails to the building of roads and lean-tos.

While researching the story, Brian learned that the regulations developed in the 1960s have been a source of friction and animosity among state officials for decades - often pitting the Department of Environmental Conservation against the Adirondack Park Agency.

Brian spoke about his report with Martha Foley.  Go to full article
Salim "Sandy" Lewis (middle) and Barbara Lewis (right) talk with supporters in Elizabethtown
Salim "Sandy" Lewis (middle) and Barbara Lewis (right) talk with supporters in Elizabethtown

Essex County farmer, APA meet in NY Supreme Court

A farmer in Essex County squared off against the Adirondack Park Agency yesterday in an Elizabethtown courtroom. Sandy Lewis, who runs an 1,100-acre organic farm in the town of Essex, says the APA overstepped its authority in trying to regulate three new houses built for workers on his farm. As Brian Mann reports, the case now before the state Supreme Court has emerged as a major confrontation between farm-rights advocates and state officials.  Go to full article

Judge admonishes "boathouse" owner

A state Supreme Court judge has fined and admonished a lakefront property owner in the Adirondacks for building a "floating boathouse" without a permit. In a March 13 ruling, Judge David Demarest assessed a $200,000 fine on J. David Beneke, who owns a waterfront lot on Upper Saranac Lake, to cover legal fees incurred by the Town of Santa Clara in the case. As Chris Knight reports, Beneke's lawyer is asking the state's highest court to hear the case.  Go to full article
SLU student Adam Falcon died after a night of drinking in 2004 (Source: SLU website)
SLU student Adam Falcon died after a night of drinking in 2004 (Source: SLU website)

North Country colleges confront "gray zone" between alcohol and adulthood

Paul Smiths College has drawn criticism in recent weeks, following the alcohol-related deaths of two students in May. But academic and law enforcement officials across the region say the problem of underage drinking is complicated, with few easy answers. In the final part of our series on alcohol and campus safety, Brian Mann reports that the debate often winds up in a legal and ethical gray zone.  Go to full article
Tax protest leader Robert Schulz from Queensbury (Source:  We The People website)
Tax protest leader Robert Schulz from Queensbury (Source: We The People website)

Federal government targets North Country tax protester

The deadline for filing state and federal income taxes hits next Tuesday. It's a day that millions of Americans dread. Around the country, a small group of tax protestors claim that the collection of income taxes is illegal and violate the U.S. Constitution. One of their leaders, Robert Schulz, lives in Queensbury and runs an organization called "We the People." Critics say Schultz's arguments amount to little more than an urban myth. But according to the Federal government, thousands of people have been misled by Schultz's amateur tax advice at a cost to the treasury of more than 20 million dollars. As Brian Mann reports, the Justice Department is now suing Schultz in an effort to end what they call a "tax scam."  Go to full article

UPS truck safety questioned

The state attorney general's office is investigating the condition of UPS delivery trucks in the North Country. The probe follows allegations from a whistleblower in Watertown. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Transition in New York: criminal justice

This week, North Country Public Radio is speaking with North Country members of Eliot Spitzer's transition team. These are the people who are helping the Governor-elect formulate his policies going forward. Lee Clary of Black River sits on the criminal justice transition committee. Clary retired as a Jefferson County Court judge in 1999. He served as Jefferson County's district attorney for 10 years. He spoke with David Sommerstein about the Rockefeller drug laws, civil confinement of sex offenders, and the local justice court system. Clary says rural communities deal with a different mix of crimes than cities.  Go to full article

Local justice scrutinized in North Country

Town and village judges hold a lot of power over the people who come before their courts. They can send people to jail or levy fines. But a New York Times report published this week found widespread examples of incompetence and improper behavior, especially here in the North Country. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Court change needs legislature, Governor

State officials have begun implementing reforms to the local court system in New York, including a new measure requiring local courts to keep records of legal proceedings and more training for local judges. Lawrence Marx is administrative director for the State Office of Court Administration. He's the man who will make those changes. He spoke with Brian Mann.  Go to full article

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