Position Statement – 2014
S.3831A / A.2602B
Due Process in Family Court for JD/PINS
Support with Recommendation
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”), hereby states its support of the above referenced Bills but for the following exception to which we recommend that “reasonable” as it appears on page 2, line 23, be defined as “no more than sixty days.”
WBASNY believes that failure to define the word “reasonable” as recommended would cause a negative impact on these cases and many problems, particularly:
(a) it may lead to a miscarriage of justice: there is likely to be inconsistency in how the law is applied since different judges are likely to interpret “reasonable” quite differently with the result that some parties might not have their cases adjudicated in a timely manner, whereas the attorneys of other parties might not be given sufficient time to prepare;
(b) it may amount to a due process violation: youth do not have time to wait for courts to determine the definition of “reasonable;” and
(c) there will be inconsistency between this Part and other Parts of the legislation which set time limits.
WBASNY’s recommendation balances the need for cases to be heard in a timely manner with the need to give counsel sufficient time to prepare cases and obtain witnesses and records such as records from schools or therapists, it avoids a due process violation; and it brings the wording in line with other Parts of the legislation which set time limits.
WBASNY consists of approximately 4,000 members, both women and men attorneys in private practice, public interest attorneys, State and Federal judges and law professors. Since our formation in 1980, the mission of our association has been and continues to be the advancement of women in society and women in the legal profession and the equal administration of justice for all. As an Association, our work often focuses on issues particularly relevant to women, children and families.
Thank you for your interest in our organization’s position on this important legislation.