June 24, 2010

New York County District Attorney: New Policy Regarding Prosecution of Business Entities and Organizations

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., has announced the District Attorney's Office's (DANY) new policy on the prosecution of businesses and organizations. Below are links to the DANY Press Release announcing the new policy and the May 27, 2010 DANY memorandum which contains the actual policy

http://www.manhattanda.org/whatsnew/press/2010-06-01d.shtml Press Release June 1, 2010

http://www.manhattanda.org/whatsnew/press/ProsecutionofOrganizations.pdf Memorandum "Considerations in Charging Organizations" May 27, 2010

May 21, 2010

U.S. Department of Justice Audits New York Police Interaction With Non-English Speakers

An abstract prepared for the Criminal Law Library Blog by Michael Chernicoff.

 Are language barriers playing a role in law enforcement?  The Justice Department has begun a “routine audit” in New York to determine whether federal civil rights laws were being complied with in police dealing with non‐English speakers. Such reviews have been regular since 2002 when the Justice Department required recipients of grants to provide services to no‐English speakers

CLICK HERE TO SEE COMPLETE ABSTRACT

May 19, 2010

Department of Technology NYC: How Are We Doing?

An Internet Society NYC update with video:

ISOC-NY on May 8 2010, hosted a seminar "dot nyc - How are we doing?" at NYU. NYC Council Member Gale Brewer delivered keynote remarks, then vendor Eric Brunner-Williams of CORE Internet Council of Registrars revealed details of their proposal to the City, and Antony Van Couvering of Minds + Machines and Public Advocate Beill DeBlasio’s earlier comments to the City Council were shown in video. There was a discussion "What’s it for?" about possible applications - civic, community, commercial, and "outside the box" - for a local top level domain. Speakers included Tom Lowenhaupt of Connecting .nyc and Richard Knipel of Wikimedia NYC. Audio/video is available .

http://www.isoc-ny.org/?p=1515

May 7, 2010

Postcard Campaign to Save New York City Libraries

The following is being posted as an urgent message at the request of a law librarian colleague :

As I am sure you know this year is on track to produce a budget disaster for libraries in New York City. The cuts currently proposed will result in massive layoffs and cuts in public service. A small group of library workers and concerned citizens has started a postcard campaign to highlight support for public libraries and ask the City Council to restore as much funding to library budgets as possible.

The idea is that we are going back to an old fashioned postcard writing campaign. Individuals are encouraged to write postcards in support of libraries and mail them to the offices of City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. His office will collect the postcards and present them to the City Council, en masse as a sort of Miracle on 34th Street statement. Any postcards will do. We suggest being creative, but inexpensive postcards, ten for a dollar in Time Square, work great too.

This effort was started by the group Urban Librarians Unite and is now being endorsed and supported by Queens Library Guild Local 1321, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), and Desk Set. It is not a part of the formal campaigns by the city public libraries, and it is our intention to augment, not compete, with those official efforts. We are asking you to pass the word to your members, encourage them to solicit postcards, and promote the campaign. As we move forward we hope to organize events including a possible read-in to support New York City libraries.

The deadline for sending postcards to Council Member Van Bramer is Tuesday, June 15. But, of course, there is no time like the present for information profession and librarian colleagues to support one another.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope that you will ally yourself with us as we fight for every dime we can get for public libraries in the city.

Sincerely,

Christian Zabriske
Urban Librarians Unite

January 15, 2010

Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau Retires at 90

David Badertscher*

A giant of New York politics and law enforcement recently retired from public office– Robert Morgenthau. Scion to a powerful family, Robert Morgenthau’s grandfather served as United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and his father was Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. While his famous name and lineage may have helped to open doors, Robert Morgenthau was determined to find a profession where he could navigate his own path in life.

After honorable combat service in the navy during World War 2, where his ship was torpedoed, Robert Morgenthau proceeded to law school and rose to partner in a major law firm. However, Robert Morgenthau largely dedicated his professional career, and indeed his life, to public service. He served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for an eight year period from 1961 -1969. But he will surely best be remembered for his longstanding and legendary tenure as New York County District Attorney that spanned a thirty-five year period from 1974 - 2009. In this latter capacity, he resuscitated the office which was ravaged by budget problems and made it, what many law enforcement officials consider, the finest district attorney’s office in the nation and possibly the best overall law enforcement office in the nation.

Robert Morgenthau certainly accomplished much in his professional life. Many noteworthy prosecutions and convictions were won by his office, and staff members consisted of many notable figures ranging from John F. Kennedy, Jr to Linda Fairstein to Eliot Spitzer to Andrew Cuomo. Indeed, many rose to higher positions in government and the private sector. Most people would consider it amazing to continue effectively working until the age of ninety as Robert Morgenthau did. Nonetheless it is even more amazing that Robert Morgenthau does not plan to retire but intends to open an office to remain active in retirement. This is truly a model we should all hope to be able to emulate.

Those interested in learning more about his life and accomplishments can find much information on the web and elsewhere. One of possible statring point for an overview is: Real Life "Law and Order" DA Robert Morgenthau Retirees at 90.

On a personal note, I did not know Robert Morgenthau well. However, many years ago, Justice Murphy, then Presiding Justice of the New York Appellate Division, First Department, introduced us at a social function, and we chatted briefly. Working in the same building where the New York Supreme Court (Criminal Term), New York County Criminal Court, and New York County District Attorney Office share space at 100 Centre Street, I would occasionally see Robert Morgenthau on an elevator. He always made time to say hello, trade small talk, and ask how business was even though he was involved in steering a large office with many high level prosecutions and complex organizational issues. This repeated kindness over the years to an acquaintance met in passing demonstrates another dimension of Robert Morgenthau that is not well known by the public. However, I saw it many times over the years we worked in the same building. No longer will we sometimes share the same elevator. The torch has been passed to a new district attorney: Cyrus Vance. Yet, I certainly wish Mr. Morgenthau all the best in his future endeavors and, indeed, his working retirement.
______________________________
* Principal Law Librarian, New York Supreme Court Criminal Term Library, New York County. He would also like to thank Theodore Pollack, Senior Law Librarian, New York County Public Access Law Library for his assistance.


January 11, 2010

Letter to OMB Director Peter Orszag from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The following is from a letter sent by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to OMB Director Peter Orszag requesting full federal funding to reimburse the City for security costs associated with Terrorism Trials to be held in Manhattan.

January 5, 2010
The Honorable Peter R. Orszag
Director
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Orszag,

As you are well aware, the suspected perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil
will soon be brought to New York City to face criminal prosecution. The City of New York will
provide the security necessary to ensure public safety, not only while the suspects are on trial, but throughout the entire time the suspects are detained in New York City.

I want to express my strong support of Senator Charles E. Schumer's proposal that
President Obama include a separate line in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 budget that devotes
federal funding to reimburse the NYPD and other local law enforcement for the full costs of
providing security for the upcoming trials.

The City of New York's financial resources are in short supply, and we have been forced
to reduce our Police Department's headcount. Thus, securing the trial will require us to pull
existing personnel from crime prevention efforts around the City and require significant overtime
expenses. As 9/11 was an attack on the entire nation, we need the federal government to shoulder the significant costs we will incur and ease this burden.

We estimate the cost for security operations will be approximately $216 million for the
first year and $206 million annually in subsequent years. This includes personnel costs of more
than $200 million annually and equipment costs of $12.5 million in the first year and $2.5 million
in subsequent years. We have shared our security plans and estimated costs with the Justice
Department as we work with our federal partners to prepare for the trials.

I want to assure you that our estimates, while significant, are real and not the result of any
expectation that we will receive a "blank check." For the sake of comparison, the cost of policing the Republican National Convention in 2004 was $50 million and that event was less than a week long. The security arrangements for the incarceration and trial periods will be need to be in place around the clock over a period of years....

November 5, 2009

Criminal Court Facilities Management in 1909

David Badertscher

One hundred years ago last Tuesday (November 3, 1909) the criminal court building in Manhattan (bounded by Centre, Lafayette, Franklin, and White Streets) was declared unsafe for human occupancy and everyone in the building at the time was ordered to leave immediately.

According to a New York Times article Written the following day, "when the last man was out a squad of thirty policemen under Inspector Daley and Captain Galvin took charge of the building, roping it off on all sides and remaining on guard outside the building to forbid anyone to enter or even pass through any of the flanking streets".

Courts housed in the building at the time included the Criminal Branch of the Supreme Court, the various parts of General Sessions, the Court of Special Sessions, the Coroner's Court, the Tombs Court, and the District Attorney of New York County offices.

Judge Mulqueen of General Sessions said the condemming of the building had been expected. By 1906 the building had been settling, cracks were appearing in the walls, plaster fell, and many doors and windows were out of plumb.

According to the New York Times article, Judge Mulqueen also remarked that for months before the condemnation "...the holding of court in any of the rooms of the building was a nerve testing feat". He declared that when a subway train passed through Layfayette street the vibration in the building "caused the chair in which he sat hearing cases to tremble under him."

October 7, 2009

History of the New York County Supreme Court Libraries

Histories of libraries are important because they help to both validate the existence of libraries and authenticate their records of service over time. This is why we are so grateful to our colleague Julie Gick for writing and granting us permission to post her meticulously researched article, HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK COUNTY SUPREME COURT LIBRARIES, on this blog. It includes information about both the Civil Term and the Criminal Term libraries of the New York County Supreme Court and certainly meets the criteria mentioned above regarding the importance of library histories. We encourage you to read this very informative and entertaining article

David Badertscher.

Note: This article has been updated to include additional information provided by the author on October 27, 2008

History of the New York County Supreme Court Libraries

BY Julie Gick*

Beginnings
The New York County Supreme Court Law Library’s enabling statute was Chapter 722, Laws of 1865, effective May 12, 1865, although Griswold gives a starting date of 1852. (1)
The library was first known as the New York Law Library, and justices of the Supreme Court of the First Judicial District were its trustees.

The statute required trustees of the State Library to place in the new library any duplicate books in their possession which they deemed proper and the Clerk of the Court of Appeals was required to send one copy of the printed cases and points in all Court of Appeal cases. Any person who willfully injured any of the books, furniture or property of the new library was guilty of a misdemeanor. The sum of $5000 was appropriated for the use of the library. In 1879 the librarian’s salary was $1,500. The New York Times expressed concern about the court’s expenditures. (2)

Buildings

32chambers1.JPG

The law library was first located at 32 Chambers Street. This building is variously known as the Court of General Sessions, Marine Court and City Court. (3) The architect may have been John McComb,Jr. who designed the new City Hall and other buildings in the area.

52chambers.jpg

Architects John Kellum and Leipold Eidlitz designed the Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street at an estimated cost of $11-12 million. Also known as the Old New York County Courthouse, the library relocated to this new facility when it was completed in 1881. Over the years the library served as a lounge room, reference room, and sometimes as a courtroom. Although a handsome edifice the courthouse suffered from inadequate space and unsanitary conditions. The deaths of several justices and many clerks and court officers had been attributed to a malodorous and pestilential atmosphere pervading certain courtrooms. (4)

ad1.jpg

After the appellate branch was created effective January 1, 1896, the books and the Supreme Court librarian were assigned to the new court’s temporary quarters on the third floor at 111 Fifth Avenue corner of 18th Street. The Supreme Court Library was replaced by books from other courts, and an assistant librarian was hired to maintain its collection. In 1900 the Appellate Division 1st Department moved to its present quarters at 27 Madison Avenue. James B. Lord was the architect. He completed the building under budget for approximately $630,000. He died of a lingering illness said to be directly caused by a court proceeding. (5)

43chambers.jpg

In 1907 the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, located at 49 Chambers Street, purchased the adjoining property at 43 - 47 Chambers Street. An architect named Raymond F. Almirall was hired to design a new building for the entire expanded lot. This was completed in 1912. At seventeen stories it was one of the tallest of the early skyscrapers in the downtown area. On March 15, 1912 the justices of the Supreme Court decided to move their offices and the library to this building. The library was located on the 12th floor. It was 25 x 100 feet and contained 5110 feet of shelving. (6)

60centre_1.jpg

The present day New York County Courthouse, 60 Centre Street, was completed in 1927 at an estimated cost of $30,000,000. It was modified into a hexagonal structure from the original plan. The architect was Guy Lowell who in 1913 won a competition for his striking circular design. A week before the scheduled opening, Mr. Lowell died suddenly in Madeira, Spain. This is the home of the Supreme Court Civil Term Law Library. (7)

100centre.jpg

The New York County Supreme Court Criminal Term Law Library is located in the Criminal Courts Building. This edifice was completed in 1938 at a cost of $14 million, and was designed by architects Wiley Corbett and Charles B. Meyers. Until the merger in 1962 the Law Library served as the library for the Court of General Sessions which had its own impressive history. The first Presiding Judge (then called a Recorder) was James Graham who served from 1683 to 1688. At the time it was discontinued and made part of the Supreme Court in 1962, the Court of General Sessions was known as the oldest continuously functioning criminal court in the United States. (8)

bronx.jpg

Prior to the creation of the 12th Judicial District Bronx Supreme Court Library was a part of the New York Supreme Court 1st JD. The courthouse was built in 1933 at a cost of $8 million and designed by Max Hausel and Joseph H. Freedlander. It is also known as the Mario Merola Building. (9)

pubacc.jpg

The New York County Courts Public Access Law Library opened February 14, 1995 and provides legal materials and information to the public. It is located at 80 Centre Street. The building, completed 1928-1930 at a cost $6 million was designed by William E. Haugaard, the state architect, under a height restriction so that it would not overshadow the nearby courthouses. (10)


Continue reading "History of the New York County Supreme Court Libraries" »

August 27, 2009

New York City: Special Event Permit Application Information

People often ask about procedures for obtaining approval to staging secial events in the City, especially those involving some form of street activity. New York City requires that a "Special Event Permit Application be submitted to the City of New York Street Activity Permit Office prior to any special event involving street activity held in the City. Depending on the type of event planned, other City agencies may also require approval. The below information includes a list of Application Sponsor Rules and Responsibilities, Support Permit Requirements, and a link to the City of New York Special Permit Application form:

APPLICANT/SPONSOR RULES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

IT IS THE APPLICANT’S/SPONSOR’S RESPONSIBILITY TO:
􀂃
MAINTAIN ONE LANE ON EVERY STREET FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES.
􀂃
KEEP ALL FIRE HYDRANTS AND ALARM BOXES FREE OF OBSTRUCTION.
􀂃
SUBMIT EVIDENCE OF INSURANCE PRIOR TO FINAL PERMIT APPROVAL. PLEASE PROVIDE A CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE WHICH NAMES THE CITY OF NEW YORK AS AN ADDITIONAL INSURED AND SHOWS A MINIMUM OF $1MILLION IN COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE AND A POLICY ENDORSEMENT WHICH INDEMNIFIES AND HOLDS HARMLESS THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
􀂃
PLEASE NOTIFY THE COMMUNITY OF THE EVENT BY POSTING “INFORMATIONAL” SIGNS 48 HOURS PRIOR TO CLOSURE OF THE STREET OR USE OF PARKING (THESE SIGNS WILL BE ISSUED WITH YOUR PERMIT). AND CONFIRM WITH THE NYPD THE POSTING OF “NO PARKING SIGNS” FOR ENFORCEMENT AND TOWING.


SUPPORT PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL COMPONENTS OF THE EVENT ARE SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE STREET ACTIVITY PERMIT OFFICE AND MAY REQUIRE APPROVAL BY AND/OR PERMITS FROM OTHER CITY AGENCIES. THE STREET ACTIVITY PERMIT OFFICE APPROVAL DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PERMISSION FROM OTHER AGENCIES. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE APPLICANT/SPONSOR TO SECURE ALL NECESSARY CITY OF NEW YORK PERMITS AND PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION TO THE STREET ACTIVITY PERMIT OFFICE PRIOR TO PERMIT ISSUANCE.

CITY OF NEW YORK SPECIAL EVENT PERMIT APPLICATION FORM