City Bar Rates Primary Election Candidates for Civil Court in New York City
The New York City Bar Association has evaluated the candidates running in the September 13th Democratic Party primary elections for Civil Court in Kings County and New York County.
In examining candidates for the judiciary, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Association seeks to determine whether the candidate possesses the requisite qualifications for judicial office, such as integrity, impartiality, intellectual ability, knowledge of the law, industriousness, and judicial demeanor and temperament.
The Committee advances two ratings: APPROVED and NOT APPROVED. Candidates rated APPROVED have affirmatively demonstrated qualifications necessary for the performance of the duties of the court for which they are being considered.
Kings County Civil Court, Countywide
Cheryl J. Gonzales: Approved
Sharen D. Hudson: Approved
New York County Civil Court, 3rd District
Anthony Cannataro: Approved
Sabrina B. Kraus: Approved
Recent Committee Activity
Insurance Holding Company Regulation
The Model Act of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is one of the NAIC model laws that states must adopt in substantially similar form, in order to be an “accredited” state under NAIC standards. In December 2010, the NAIC amended the Model Act in significant ways. The Committee on Insurance Law issued a report arguing that New York must now amend its NY Holding Company Provisions in order to maintain accredited status. In addition, the report notes that amending the NY Holding Company Provisions is an opportunity not only to ensure that New York is keeping up with the other states in terms of regulatory oversight, but also to refine some of the concepts addressed by the NAIC that warrant reconsideration.
Adoption of a Brady Checklist
The Committees on Criminal Courts and Criminal Justice Operations considered effective methods to improve disclosure practices in criminal cases pursuant to Brady v. Maryland and its progeny. As a result of the review, the Committees issued a joint report
urging the adoption of a law or court rule requiring prosecutors to provide a written checklist to defense counsel that details the information and materials to be disclosed.
Venue for Bankruptcy Cases
In a letter to Congress, the Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization expressed opposition to any proposed amendments to 28 U.S.C. §1408, which governs the laying of venue for bankruptcy cases with the intent of radically altering and restricting the choice of venue rules for business bankruptcy cases. Such potential amendments, the letter argues, would take away the right of corporations to seek bankruptcy protection in their state of incorporation or where an affiliate is located. It would effectively require that all corporate bankruptcy cases be filed in the jurisdiction where the parent company is physically headquartered or holds its principal assets, requiring courts to ignore often more important venue considerations.
Disqualification of Felons and Other Bad Actors
In response to a proposed rule by the SEC that would implement Section 926 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by disqualifying securities offerings including certain felons and other bad actors from reliance on the Rule 506 safe harbor, the Securities Regulation Committee expressed concern with the proposed rules’ retroactive application and the scope of various definitional provisions, which may burden capital formation with no commensurate investor protection benefits, and urged that the new disqualification provisions be clear and simple to administer.
Volunteer for Monday Night Law
The Committee on Legal Services for Persons of Moderate Means is seeking volunteer attorneys to staff the Monday Night Legal Advisory Workshop, which begins its 21st year this fall. New volunteers are needed for the Monday Night Law program year, which will run from October through August 2012. Volunteers are needed to staff MNL one Monday per month during that period. A two-part training will be held in September.
Monday Night Law addresses the need for affordable and accessible legal assistance in a clinic setting each week. During 30-minute appointments, clients and volunteer attorneys discuss problems in the areas of housing, employment, family/divorce, consumer, and personal bankruptcy, as well as small business. The volunteer attorneys do not take cases, but provide clinic-based advice. They distribute materials, explain procedures, and offer suggestions to help clients understand and find solutions to their legal problems. MNL volunteers make referrals, where appropriate, to the City Bar’s Legal Referral Service, City Bar Justice Center, or other legal services providers.
Volunteer attorneys must commit to attending the program one Monday evening per month from October 2011 through the end of August 2012, at the New York City Bar Association. Volunteers also must attend both training sessions, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Monday, Sept. 12, and Monday, Sept. 26, also at the City Bar. Attendees are eligible for continuing legal education for the live trainings, as well as pro bono CLE credits for their clinic work. Volunteers may take the training via CD audio recordings that will be available in late October, but the audio does not carry CLE credit.
No prior experience in the topics covered is necessary; however, volunteers must have been admitted to practice for a minimum of two years. For more information and an application to participate, please provide full contacts including an e-mail address that accepts attachments to MondayNightLaw@gmail.com.
City Bar in the News
New York Law Journal, August 29, 2011
Staged Raise of 27% Is Endorsed for Judges
A special pay commission voted 4-3 on Friday to gradually raise the $136,700 salary of state Supreme Court justices to the $174,000 now earned by federal district judges.…The raise was considerably less than the substantial and immediate increase of between $192,000 to $220,000 that had been supported by court administrators, judges, bar groups and others. Under the proposal, there would be no raise at all in 2015. Judges and bar groups expressed disappointment at the size of the proposed raises, the first since Jan. 1, 1999, for the state’s 1,200 judges.…The New York City Bar and the New York County Lawyers’ Association also issued statements criticizing the size of the recommended raise.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 26, 2011
Judicial Pay Raise
The Brooklyn Bar Association, along with the city and state bars, is calling the planned judicial pay raise inadequate.…The state’s Special Commission on Judicial Compensation voted Friday to increase the annual salaries of state Supreme Court justices from $136,700 to $160,000 in 2012, $167,000 in 2013 and $174,000 in 2014. Brooklyn Bar Association President Ethan Gerber called the pay raise “absurd,” saying that the salary increase is not near what the judges deserve…The city bar responded similarly on Friday with a statement. “While the New York City Bar Association appreciates that the judicial compensation commission approved the first increase in New York judicial salaries in 13 years, we are disappointed at the size of the increase,” city bar President Samuel Seymour said. “We believe a substantially greater salary increase is both justified and appropriate.”
Huffington Post, August 19, 2011
10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Redistricting
10. The reformers don’t necessarily win if the courts draw the lines. According to a March 2007 report from the New York City Bar Association, in 1992 and 2002, when New York’s redistricting plans were drawn by presumably nonpartisan State Supreme Court referees or Federal District Court special masters, the judiciary did not ignore the interests of political parties and incumbents. In fact, the courts tried to arrive at the type of bipartisan compromise the Legislature was unable to achieve through its own deliberations. As a result, the lines, even when drawn through a process that is presumably fair and honest, have been far from the politically neutral, nonpartisan ideal for which reformers are striving. That is because the laws as they are currently written facilitate and institutionalize gerrymandering, which is the chief reason why many good government groups believe that the redistricting process will ultimately have to be reformed through amending the State Constitution.
Thomson Reuters, August 19, 2011
Bar Association Approves Contenders for City Judgeships
The New York City Bar Association has given a thumbs-up to four contenders for judgeships in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The association’s Committee on the Judiciary approved Brooklyn Housing Court Judge Cheryl Gonzales and Sharen Hudson, who are vying for one of two seats in the Kings County civil court. It also approved Sabrina Kraus, a housing court judge in the Bronx, and Anthony Cannataro, a court attorney to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lottie Wilkins. Kraus and Cannataro are competing for a seat in the 3rd district of Manhattan. The judiciary committee, which evaluates candidates on qualities such as integrity, knowledge of the law and impartiality, gives two ratings, approved or not approved.