Legal Aid's Juvenile Rights Practice Wins Court Of Appeals Ruling Clarifying State Statute
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

This week, The Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Appeals Unit won a significant victory in the New York State Court of Appeals. The question before the Court was the interpretation of the statute permitting findings of severe abuse in child protective cases.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the interpretation presented by the Society's Juvenile Rights Practice attorney, Claire Merkine, that the statute must be read in a way that is consistent with the purpose of the statute, which was to "to expedite permanency for children who suffer . . . the 'aggravated circumstance' of severe abuse." The Court also agreed that the meaning of "depraved indifference" in the relevant Family Court statutes must be interpreted differently from the interpretation given to that phrase in the criminal context.