The Oneida County Bar Association • New York   

Newsletters > 2009 Newsletters > April 2009


Newsletter Contents:


Honor A Colleague

The OCBA will be recognizing attorneys who have practiced 50+ years (who have not previously been honored) at a special luncheon. We don’t want to miss anyone. Please call Diane Godlewski at the Bar Association office (724-4901) if you are or you know of an attorney who has accomplished this milestone.

Also, OCBA is accepting nominations for honoring an attorney who is currently serving (or) who has served our country in past years. Please contact Norman Deep, Chair at 725-2008.

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Law Day May 1, 2009

The Oneida County Bar Association’s Annual Law Day luncheon will be held on May 1, 2009 at 12:00 noon at the Radisson Hotel, Utica. The theme of this year’s Law Day Program is: THE INTERNET, CYBER CRIME AND EXPLOITED YOUTH: ADDRESSING NEW LEGAL AND SOCIAL RISKS.

Mr. Ed Suk will be our guest speaker. He is the director of the New York office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Youth.

Our morning program will be conducted in the Oneida County Courthouse in Utica for the benefit of area high school students from Oneida and surrounding counties. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the Hon. John P. Balio Ceremonial Courtroom of the Oneida County Courthouse, where a presentation by Mr. Suk, the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, the Child Advocacy Center, the New York State Police, and other attorneys will take place. The students will work through various scenarios of internet crime against children and the challenges of prosecuting and defending cyber crimes, followed by a lecture/panel discussion.

The program will then proceed to the Radisson Hotel for a luncheon at 12:00 noon providing area high school students a valuable opportunity to interact with attorneys, judges and government leaders. Mr. Suk will present his talk.  There will also be a presentation of the Hugh R. Jones award.

We look forward to seeing you at the luncheon.

     DATE & TIME: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 12:00 noon
     EVENT:  Law Day Luncheon
     LOCATION:  Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre, 200 Genesee Street, Utica, NY
     COST:   $25.00 per person*


* The increase in cost of the luncheon will ensure that area high school students may attend free of charge.

Please send in your reservation using a copy of the form in the pdf version of this newsletter together with your check payable to Oneida County Bar Association, 258 Genesee Street, Suite 302, Utica, NY 13502. If you have any questions, please call the Bar Association office at 724-4901.

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President’s Column

If you read the March Bar News President’s Column, you know I love my yellow lab, Lilleigh. I also love children. In my “prior life” when I was a child protective services caseworker for Oneida County I learned April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Now,  as a lawyer in  private practice I devote  some of my time representing the interests of children who have been abused and or neglected in local Family Courts. Even if you don’t practice law in Family Court, I believe you all have an interest in the safety of children and that you can all take steps to prevent child abuse and neglect.  

In New York State any  person can be charged with a crime against a child if they are alleged to have  violated the penal law, most commonly charges  related to an assault, sex offense or child endangerment.  Unlike some states NY does not have a specific criminal statute entitled child abuse. However, in Family Court certain people (respondent’s) can be “charged” with abuse or neglect of a child by the local Department of Social Services with sufficient evidence even if the acts of commission or omission do not meet the elements of a particular criminal statute. Respondents in Family Court are defined as a parent of the child or a person legally responsible for the care of the child at the relevant time (custodian, guardian, or possibly a person continually or regularly found in the child’s household and their conduct caused or contributed to the abuse or neglect of the child). Before a person could be named a respondent in such a Family Court matter, a report must be made to the child abuse hotline. The hotline will only accept a report against a parent of the child or a person who is alleged to be legally responsible for the care of the child and has by acts of omission or commission contributed to the abuse or neglect. Anyone can make a call to the hotline if they SUSPECT abuse or neglect (you do not need proof) and while it is helpful to give your name, calls can be made anonymously. In addition, many professionals including, physicians, teachers, social workers and law enforcement officers are mandated by law to report suspected abuse or neglect of children.  Lawyers (even lawyers for children ) are not mandated reporters.

If you suspect someone has inflicted or allowed another person to inflict physical injury upon a child wherein their physical or emotional health has been harmed or has created or allowed to be created a substantial risk of harm, or has committed or allowed to be committed certain criminal physical or sexual offenses against a child, or if a child’s physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of a person (defined above) failing to supply a child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education, or a child is harmed due to improper supervision, or the respondent’s misuse of drugs or alcohol as described in the Family Court Act under Section 1012, I urge you to be proactive and call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-342-3720.

Many citizens have taken steps to call the hotline in an effort to protect our children. In 2008 Oneida County child protective services investigated 3,667 reports of suspected abuse and neglect. While at this time it is unknown how many reports were determined to be credible, abuse and/or neglect petitions were filed against 213 families which involved 493 children. Further, from January 1, 2009 through March 31, 2009 they received 1,028 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect and filed petitions against 50 families. In Oneida County we also have a Family Treatment Court which may work with a family when abuse or neglect of a child occurs as a result of a parent’s alcohol or drug use. A number of family court practitioners are committed to participating with this speciality court which meets on a weekly basis. With the assistance of a $430,000+ federal grant this Court began operations in March of 2004 initiated by Judge Griffith. Since that date 50+ parents participated in the Court involving 121+ children. The program can take 2+years to complete and thus far 15 parents have graduated. To graduate a parent must have remained drug free for an extended period of time, obtained stable housing and employment and became successful parents. In addition to keeping children safe, local tax dollars are saved by returning children home from foster care 3 to 6 months sooner than in the “normal” Family Court system, and it is estimated that 8 million dollars will be saved over the lifetime of the 8 babies who were born drug free.  Local Oneida County Bar members who are committed to serving in this Court certainly contribute to it’s success in preventing child abuse and neglect.

Many OCBA members serve on the assigned counsel and attorney for children panels and their work helps keep children safe.  If you are not serving in either capacity and are interested in serving, sign up.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 334-5368.  As an attorney you can make a difference in the life of a child and doing so certainly assists in maintaining the honor and dignity of our profession.

- Theresa M. Girouard

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On July 1, OCBA will launch a Brand New Web-Site

Dynamic, up to date, more functional including:

  • A Member Directory accessible by Category of Practice or Attorney Name (listing members only)
  • Up to date News Stories about bar activities
  • A continuously updated Calendar of Events, including CLE, Committee/Board  Meetings, Outings, Parties, Luncheons, —anything related to the bar
  • A CLE Web-Page with details of each course
  • Completely accessible OCBA Newsletters, searchable by keyword
  • Online Membership and CLE Sem-Pass Applicatons
  • Photos and Histories of Oneida County Courthouses
  • A Page of Links to key cites of Courts, government offices, bar associations, online records sites, etc.
  • A listing of all State and Local Courts in the County, with Judges and Justices’ names, Court Phone Numbers, regular court dates, and locations.
  • And much, much more!!!!

Here is your chance to make it even better, before launch date.  Email us or call us ASAP to let us know what other things you would like to see on the web-site.  We want this to be a web-site you will find helpful and useful, and will visit often as a resource of bar related activity in Oneida County.  Email lwgolden@aol.com or call Larry at 732-5134.

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Notes & Reminders

PARKING AVAILABLE: Hage & Hage, LLC has card-access parking places available in its parking lot on the corner of Elizabeth and Charlotte Streets across the street from the Oneida County Courthouse, and in its parking lot located at 283 Genesee Street. The monthly cost is $35 plus tax. For additional information contact Jeff at 797-9850.

LAW STUDENT from the area interested in internship in a local law office for the summer. Resume on file with the Bar Office.

EXPERIENCED LEGAL SECRETARY: Seeking full-time position. Please call Barb at (315) 225-2132.

LEGAL SECRETARY OR PARALEGAL: Full-time position, must have typing and dictation skills, litigation experience preferred but not required. Please call Renee at 735-6162.

ATTORNEY POSITION: Our firm, Compson, Eannace & Pierro, is interested in hiring an energetic attorney with at least 5 years of experience who is interested in working in the fields of: Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration, Elder Law, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Business Entities and Organizations, Real Estate and associated fields. We are seeking a lawyer that has an existing clientele who wants to expand his knowledge, desires to work, become a partner and share the management of our office. We are willing to train the attorney in the use of our specialized software and to become knowledgeable and develop an expertise in these areas. We are looking for someone who is interested in a permanent & long term relationship as a member of our firm. Please contact Richard G. Compson, Compson, Eannace & Pierro, PLLC, 2621 Genesee Street, Utica, New York, 13501, Tel: 315-724-5147, Fax: 315-724-2534; e-mail rcompson@ceplaw.com.

Reminder to Attorneys for Filing Papers with the Oneida County Supreme Court

Please provide an original and three copies of the RJI and Note of Issue as well as a self addressed stamped envelope for return of papers.

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Mark Your Calendars!

April 29, 2009:  Lawyers in the Classroom.

April 29, 2009: Legal Line, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. The 7th Annual Legal Line, sponsored by the OCBA Public Information & Education Committee, during which the public can call with their legal questions, is being held on Wednesday, April 29th from 5-6:30 p.m. at ECR International. Once again, Legal Line will be promoted on WKTV & hosted by ECR International. RONCO is again providing the telephone bank.

May 1, 2009: Law Day, Radisson Hotel-Utica.

June 1, 2009: Reception in honor of Attorney Michael E. Getnick, 112th President, New York State Bar Association, details to be announced.

June 5, 2009: Tri-County CLE and GOLF, SPA, or TENNIS, announcement enclosed.

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Courthouse Attorneys’ Lounge

The Oneida County Bar Association is raising funds to furnish the furnishings for the Attorneys’ Lounge on the 2nd Floor of the Oneida County Courthouse, Utica. The contributions and/or donations should be sent to the Bar Association payable to Oneida County Comptroller, Joseph Timpano, and the contribution will in that form be tax deductible.

If attorneys are seeking to contribute specific dedicated items that would have a plaque on the same the costs are as follows: Tables - $2,061; 1 table - $687; End tables - 1 @ $403, both for $807; Wood side chairs - 18 chairs at $251 a chair; Lounge chairs - 4 chairs at $921 a chair.

The expectation is that the Courthouse will be rededicated on November 20, 2009 which will be the 100th anniversary of its initial dedication and we hope to have the Attorneys’ Room fully furnished at that time.

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NYND CJA Panel Attorneys Increase to Case Compensation Maximum Amounts

Please be advised that as of March 11, 2009, there has been an increase to the CJA Hourly Rates and also the Case Compensation Maximums.

The new hourly rate of $110 per hour in and out of Court apply to work performed on or after March 11, 2009. Where the appointment of counsel occurred before this effective date, the new compensation rates apply to that portion of services provided on or after March 11, 2009. Case compensation maximums have also been increased. For details go to the CJA Panel Attorney page of the courts website www.nynd.uscourts.gov.  The website also includes other helpful information for CJA Panel Attorneys.

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Real Property Filing Fee Increase

RP5217 fee increase was accepted Saturday, March 28, 2009 by the State Legislature. This bill amends Real Property Tax Law #333, which authorizes a real property transfer fee that is paid whenever a deed is recorded. The fee increase is from $75 to $125 for residential or farm property and from $165 to $250 for commercial property. The fee increases take effect June 1, 2009.– Sandy Deperno, Oneida County Clerk, (315) 798-5776.

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Three Proposed OCBA Committees

1). Disability Committee: To address legal issues and rights of disabled individuals in areas including: Workers Compensation; Social Security Disability; Supplemental Security Income; Claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act; and Claims for medical benefits and disability pensions through the VA. Also to work with the other committees of the Bar Association to inform the public with regard to important information.

2). IT Committee: The role of the Information Technology Committee will be to oversee and coordinate issues of information technology as they relate to the operation of the Bar Association and the practice of law.

3). Criminal Justice Committee: The purpose is to anticipate and address issues affecting criminal law, criminal procedure, corrections and the administration of criminal justice (both defense and prosecution). Review and make recommendations on current law and pending legislation. Quarterly meetings.

If you wish to sign up to serve on one or more of the above mentioned committees, or if you would like  further information, please contact Diane Godlewski at the Bar Association office (724-4901).

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Continuing Legal Education

The Oneida County Bar Association has been approved by the NYS Continuing Legal Education Board as a Provider of Accredited CLE programs. This accreditation is for the period of March 2008 through March 2011.

Our thanks to all members of the CLE Committee and Diane Godlewski for all their efforts–  Mark A. Wolber, Chair, OCBA CLE Committee.

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Public Notice

Appointment of Magistrate Judge

The Judicial Conference of the United States has authorized the appointment of a full-time United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York at Syracuse, New York.

Application forms on the Magistrate Judge position may be obtained from the Clerk of the District Court. Further information and application forms are available on the Northern District Internet Website at www.nynd.uscourts.gov. Applications must be submitted only by applicants personally and must be received by the Clerk of Court by Friday, May 1, 2009.

Applications will be kept confidential, unless the applicant consents to disclosure, and all applications will be examined only by members of the Merit Selection Panel and the Judges of the District Court. The panel’s deliberations will remain confidential.

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19th Annual LAP Spring Retreat

The NYSBA Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) and Lawyer Assistance Committee will hold its Annual Spring Retreat May 15 -17 at the Silver Bay Association in Silver Bay (Lake George), NY. The purpose of this event is to bring together members of the legal profession in a spirit of supporting, networking and collaborating to maintain a life of recovery in a serene, relaxed environment. This commitment to emotional and physical well-being is facilitated by participating in 12-step meetings, sharing meals, attending a CLE, and getting involved with yoga and mediation. Participants are encouraged to bring their family members as Silver Bay offers an abundance of recreational activities for both adults and children. View Silver Bay’s website at www.silverbay.org You may also view the event brochure online at www.nysba.org/lap . For additional information, please contact Linda McMahon at lmcmahon@nysba.org or (518) 487-5686.

This year’s event will offer a MCLE program entitled, Stress Hardiness to Resilience: Thriving in the Legal Profession (2 MCLE credits).

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Clothing Donations

The Oneida County Family Court, the Oneida County Department of Social Services, and the NYS Child Welfare Court Improvement Project are diligently planning a full packed day of events for our older youths who will be aging out of the foster care system without a permanent family to return to. Throughout our “Empowering Youth Day” event, the attending adolescents will participate in several activities including and not limited to the following: an Independent Living Skills Expo; a meet and greet with the Judges of Oneida County Family Court; interactive sessions with speakers; lunch and a Dress for Success Closet. 

The purpose of the “Dress for Success Closet” is to allow the youths to search through donated clothing and leave the event with at least one appropriate outfit for an interview. Many of these youths have a limited clothing budget and are not able to obtain such clothing.

If anyone is interested in donating such suitable clothing for this event, donations will be accepted at the Oneida County Family Court, 200 Elizabeth Street, Utica, NY 13501. Items that were previously donated for last year’s event included the following: dress shoes; ties; dress shirts; skirts; slacks; purses and dresses. It would be appreciated if all donations could be dropped off between June 1st and July 1st.

For additional information, please feel free to contact Melinda Walsh at (315) 731-3485.

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