Making Democracy Work

Judicial/ AT Court Committee Report

Balancing Justice

May Judicial Report

It is good to announce that two of our state advocacy issues have made substantial progress. The Raise the Age is already addressed in this year's budget and changes will be gradually implemented, keeping sixteen and seventeen year old juveniles out of the adult prison system, with non-violent crimes referred back to Family Court and more serious crimes handled by a youth component of the court.

The issue of more adequate funding and consistency between counties for indigents defense will also be addressed, with more specific plans presented by the Office of Indigent Defense Services by the end of the year. It still leaves out funding for Family and Surrogate Court proceedings, but it is a significant step forward in addressing the issue.

At the local level, the committee continues to follow up on improvements in the Civilian Police Review Board and implementation of the state-wide reforms at the local level.

Helga A. Schroeter, Judicial Chairperson

March Judicial Committee Meeting

The committee will meet from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, to get updates on the progress in Civilian Police Review Board issues and to help prepare for the March 21 program on a panel to address the "Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility" and the need for adequate funding and services for indigents' defense services. Please look for further information on the meeting place.

Human Rights Award nomination submitted by the Schenectady County LWV

At its April Board meeting, the League voted to nominate SAFE Inc. for the annual Human Rights Award under the group category. SAFE has provided 30 years of service helping run-away and sexually exploited youths of both genders as well as LGBT youths. SAFE provides counseling, advocacy, shelter and case management to get kids off the street into self-sufficiency, helping with many issues, including mental health and drug abuse problems. At any given time, 12 youths can be housed at the shelter with follow-up services when they leave. The population served is very diverse across racial, gender and socio-economic lines. The last five years have seen a shelter expansion. SAFE has given shelter to around 1000 kids and has conducted outreach and follow-up services to 800-1000 youths. The program helps the kids out of the cycle of exploitation and homelessness and assists them to heal from serious trauma, empowering them to become self-sufficient and to give back to the community. The Awards breakfast is from 7-9 AM on May 19th at the Glen Sanders Mansion. Please come to honor our nominee.

Helga A. Schroeter, LWVNYS Judicial Specialist