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Mar. 31, 2016
News Picks from NYSDA Staff
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News Picks
Extensive
Extensive Collection of DOCCS Directives Now Available Online. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) recently posted an extensive collection of DOCCS Directives on its website. More than 200 Directives, including some category A Directives that are not distributed to inmate libraries, are now online. Categories of Directives that may be of particular interest to defenders include: program services; health services; security services; temporary release; community supervision; and executive clemency, foreign nationals and prosecution.
 
As noted on the main Directives page:
 
Any member of the public who is affected by the guidance provided in a directive may submit his/her feedback by email to DoccsbureauIntControl@doccs.ny.gov or by written submission addressed to:
 
Bureau of Internal Controls
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Harriman State Campus, Building 2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12226.
 
Comments received will be collected and considered during the Department's next regularly scheduled review of that directive.:
 
 
ABA 
ABA Produces Quick Guides on the Intersection of Child Welfare and Immigration . As part of the Child Welfare and Immigration Project, Cristina Cooper and Scott Trowbridge, attorneys at the ABA's Center on Children and the Law, have produced three state-specific reference guides (California, Colorado, and New York) to help practitioners understand the intersection between immigration and child welfare. The New York Quick Guide includes citations to applicable federal and state laws and regulations and links to relevant U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services resources, New York State Office of Children and Family Services administrative directives, and New York City Administration for Children's Services policies.
 
OCFS
OCFS Starts Online Newsletter about Child Welfare. New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has introduced "Child Welfare News and Notes," described as "a new online newsletter about the important work happening in social services districts across the state." The first edition is dedicated to the work done to find and keep foster and adoptive homes. While the focus of parent's counsel may not be in line with what OCFS indicates are the agency's objectives, the information may be useful in preparation for arguments about agency priorities and for a better understanding of funding streams and changes in local practice.
 
NYSBA  
NYSBA Committee to Ensure Quality of Mandated Representation Presents June 3 CLE Program. The State Bar's Committee to Ensure the Quality of Mandated Representation will be presenting a free day-long CLE on June 3, 2016. It will cover a host of topics important to criminal trial and appellate defense practitioners. Leading practitioners will present programs on (1) how attorneys can communicate effectively with, and advocate for, their mentally ill clients; (2) what the State Bar revised minimum standards for mandated representation, and the canons of ethics, require them to do that, perhaps, they were not doing; (3) the latest developments in search and seizure law; (4) how to cross-examine DNA lab technicians; and (5) and how to litigate the validity of accusatory instruments in criminal court. Five and one-half transitional CLE credits will be awarded. The program will be held at the State Bar Headquarters, One Elk Street, Albany, NY and is free for all public defenders, institutional providers, and assigned counsel. For further information, contact Kristen Wagner at the State Bar at kwagner@nysba.org or click here.
 
Sanism  
"How Sanism Poisons the Attorney-Client Relationship in Criminal Cases." The National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) recently hosted a webinar with the above title. The announcement of the webinar described "sanism" this way: "an irrational prejudice of the same quality and character of other irrational prejudices that cause (and are reflected in) prevailing social attitudes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry. It affects all aspects of the legal system, but is most pernicious in its permeation of the legal representation process both in cases in which mental capacity is a central issue and those in which such capacity is a collateral question." The webinar alerts lawyers to how sanism can lead them to "fail to see signs of incompetency to proceed to trial, seek to impose insanity defenses over clients' objections, and inadequately fail to investigate potentially mitigating evidence in sentencing (both in death and non-death penalty cases)."
 
The webinar presenter, Michael L. Perlin, is a Professor Emeritus of New York Law School and co-founder of Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, which provides disability law training and education. He has written extensively on sanism and other mental health topics. Members of NAPD can access the archived Feb. 29, 2016, webinar at www.mygideon.org. Membership is $25; organizations can join for $20 per member (with a cap).
 
There is a growing recognition of the term and topic of "sanism," relating not just to defense lawyers but to other actors in the justice system and to society at large. See, for example, Essay 26 (Oct. 30, 2015) on MentalDisabilityLawReflections.com, addressing the profiling of people with mental disabilities, including the use of risk assessment instruments. And a Dec. 15, 2015, discussion about "Sanism, stigma and mental wellbeing" in a higher education setting can be seen here.


 

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