Tremendous Successes for Juvenile Rights Clients Thanks to Collaborative Efforts of Appeals Unit and Trial Attorneys
TUESDAY, JULY 07, 2009

Judith Waksberg, Director of the Juvenile Rights Practice's Appeals Unit, reported on some tremendous successes for JRP clients thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Appeals Unit and trial attorneys. The outstanding advocacy of Marcia Egger, staff attorney in the Appeals Unit; Amy Serlin, staff attorney in the Brooklyn JRP office; and Leslie Winston, forensic social worker in the Manhattan office; provided a tremendous outcome for a child who was finally adopted by her grandmother with whom she had been living in South Carolina since infancy.

South Carolina originally had approved putting our client in foster care with her grandmother, but when it came time for the adoption, South Carolina disapproved and insisted that the child should be taken back to New York and placed in foster care. Although the Administration for Children's Services wanted our client to remain with her grandmother, it felt that it had to ask for her return and did so in Family Court. Marcia Egger obtained a stay of the order in the Appellate Division. In what Judith Waksberg believes is unprecedented advocacy, Marcia managed to keep that stay in effect for about three years. During that time, Marcia, Amy, and Leslie put in an unbelievable amount of time and energy strategizing legal issues, going down to South Carolina to visit our client in her home, and continuing to advocate and figure out legal ways of keeping her there. In addition, Tami Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge of JRP (who helped come up with a plan to keep Rashana in her home); Nanette Schrandt, Director of the Juvenile Services Unit; and Dan Greenbaum, Assistant Attorney-in-Charge of the Brooklyn JRP office; consulted and helped strategize on this case.

Congratulations to Judy Stern, staff attorney in the Appeals Unit; Mariella Martinez, staff attorney in the Bronx JRP office; and David Lim, staff attorney in the Staten Island JRP office; for their success in obtaining stays from the Appellate Division. Judy Stern was two for two in two days! She and Mariella successfully obtained the release of our client who had been remanded simply because his father had forgotten about the court date and so they appeared in the afternoon, rather than the morning. Despite our client's having gotten a 0 and -1 on his RAI, Judge Drinane remanded him, commenced fact-finding and then adjourned the case for three weeks! On Wednesday, he was released thanks to Judy and Mariella's advocacy in the First Department.

When Judy returned to the office, she was called about a Staten Island case in which our young clients were released to their non-respondent father, over our objection that we had concerns about the father's criminal history of a sex crime, his current homelessness, and his past failure to care for any of his children. Judy went to the Second Department with David Lim where their application for a stay was granted pending the final determination of the motion. (We are asking for the matter to be sent back for a hearing on the father's suitability pursuant to FCA 1017.)

Congratulations also go to Ray Rogers, who won an appeal in the NY Court of Appeals, and to Judith Harris, who made the record in Family Court, in the Matter of Elvin G. Both are staff attorneys in the Appeals Unit.