Toward Legislative Transparency: A Proposed Change to the New York State Constitution

By Anne Jeliff, Albany Government Law Review

The New York State legislature has become synonymous with inactivity and lack of transparency.[1]  Due to its role as host to this governing body, the city of Albany has seen its name suffer as well, having been labeled as “the capital of inertia,”[2] “Corruption Central,”[3] a town that “has. . .earned a special place” among the “pantheon of ethically challenged politicians,”[4] and a “culture” of “overall dysfunction.”[5]  Sadly, the city and its resident lawmakers have earned this reputation.  Albany has distinguished itself as one of the most inefficient and consistently corrupt seats of State government in the country.[6] Continue reading “Toward Legislative Transparency: A Proposed Change to the New York State Constitution”

Who Is Actually Prejudiced Under Padilla?

By Jason Reigert, Albany Government Law Review Class of 2011

Anyone who watches Law and Order can tell you that in a criminal matter every American is entitled to the right to be represented by an attorney.  This right is better known as the “right to effective assistance of counsel” and it is guaranteed by both the federal and New York State constitutions.[i]  The right to effective counsel has been expanded over the years, and the case of Padilla v. Kentucky is a good example of such expansion.  In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court expanded the notion of effective assistance of counsel to include an obligation by defense attorneys to inform their clients of possible deportation consequences.  As a result of this decision, a wave of defendants have recently sought to vacate their guilty pleas under a theory of ineffective assistance of counsel, due to being improperly informed of the potential deportation consequences.  While Padilla has caused an increase in ineffective assistance of counsel claims, Padilla has not had as much of an impact as some might expect.  Continue reading “Who Is Actually Prejudiced Under Padilla?”

Albany County Candidates for District Attorney David Soares and Roger Cusick Debate at Albany Law School

Robert Magee, staff writer, & Steven Sharp, staff writer,

The Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom at Albany Law School was at capacity tonight, October 6, 2008, for the first debate in the race for the Albany County District Attorney between Albany Law alumni David Soares and Roger Cusick.

The race has been tranquil on its surface.  During the summer it appeared as if Mr. Soares, the incumbent, would run unopposed.  Yet whispers of a challenger had been creeping through the county and on August 17 reached the tenor necessary to put Roger Cusick on the ballot as the Integrity Party nominee.1 Though the petitions which Mr. Cusick needed to put his name on the ballot where challenged,2 his name remained there. Since then, Mr. Cusick’s last-minute campaign has gained a certain amount of momentum among disaffected democrats and insatiable republicans and he’s secured both labor and police endorsements.3 Signs for both have sprouted up around the city to replace flowers retreating into winter.

If Mr. Cusick’s record in this arena lacks indicators of success in this sort of endeavor, it doesn’t lack for experience.  Last summer, Cusick launched a long shot campaign against deeply entrenched Albany County Executive Michael Breslin,4 and in 2004 he ran a similar campaign against Soares.5 Continue reading “Albany County Candidates for District Attorney David Soares and Roger Cusick Debate at Albany Law School”

Nassau County Publishes Photos of Accused Drunk Drivers: An Ethical Quandary

Steven Sharp, Staff Writer, 

      Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi initiated a controversial anti-drunken driving campaign in late May. (1)  The Nassau police asked news organizations to publish the names and photos of people charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) over Memorial Day weekend. (2)  Some news organizations followed suit, and Suozzi deemed the display “The Wall of Shame.” (3)

     Nassau County continues to release the personal information of people charged with drunk driving as an “ongoing initiative.” (4)  To date, Nassau County police have arrested 900 drivers since Memorial Day weekend; the county published photos of these drivers. (5) The sole exception precludes photos of drivers, who are under the age of nineteen, from being published in the media. (6)

     To be sure, Nassau County is flush with drunk drivers and the legal ramifications have not been successful in preventing the proscribed conduct. Last year, 4,013 drivers were arrested in Nassau County for drunken-driving related offenses, including twenty-two fatal alcohol related accidents. (7)  Estimates state that one in ten drivers in Nassau County may be impaired. (8)  Thus, Suozzi is hoping that the Wall of Shame “send[s] a message” that “if you’ve been drinking, and you decide to get behind the wheel of a car . . . we’re going to make sure that their friends, neighbors and families know about it.” (9) Continue reading “Nassau County Publishes Photos of Accused Drunk Drivers: An Ethical Quandary”