Weekly Testing in NYS Courts Begins Today

By Brandon Vogel

Weekly Testing in NYS Courts Begins Today

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Good evening members,

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced in her biweekly address that mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for judges and non-judicial employees, without proof of vaccination, begins today.

The court system will implement a statewide mandatory vaccination program for judges and nonjudicial staff effective, Sept. 27. Absent a valid medical or religious exemption, all judges and nonjudicial staff will be required to provide proof of having received at least one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27. Weekly testing is required thereafter until two weeks after full vaccination.

“Our decision is fully supported by all of the science and public health guidance,” said DiFiore. “We have determined that this is the best and most responsible action that we can take at this time.”

Access to Justice

DiFiore announced that she will preside over the 12th Annual Public Hearing on Civil Legal Services in New York. NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown, Chief Administrative Judge Larry Marks and the four presiding justices of the Appellate Division will join her at the Court of Appeals Hall. The event will be live streamed at www.nycourts.gov.

This year’s hearing will focus on the “access gap” as a result of the pandemic, including the needs of tenants facing eviction, the legal problems of communities of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and the importance of bridging the digital divide for litigants seeking access to the virtual courts.

DiFiore said that the Office of Justice Initiatives, led by Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina Mendelson, has intensified its operational efforts to ensure court access for unrepresented litigants, especially those facing a “digital divide” in accessing virtual courts. The office recently partnered with John Jay College to launch a “Virtual Court Navigator Pilot” program. Students received training to assist unrepresented litigants in virtual courts with child support, custody and visitation, divorce, housing and Surrogate’s Court matters.

DiFiore also announced that the third annual “Indian Child Welfare Act Conference” will be held on Sept. 24. Entitled “Bringing and Keeping Our Children Home,” the conference will provide important updates affecting child welfare practice and litigation under the ICWA. She said the courts have been a national leader in improving the administration of justice for tribal nations.

20 years after 9/11

Lastly, DiFiore asked New Yorkers to take a few minutes on Friday to join the courts for its “20th Anniversary of 9-11” commemoration.  The courts will honor its three Court Officer heroes – Captain William “Harry” Thompson, Sergeant Mitchel Wallace and Sergeant Thomas Jurgens – who gave their lives to rescue and protect innocent victims at the World Trade Center.

The courts will debut a new video documenting the personal recollections of eight of the court officers who were awarded “Medals of Valor” in 2002 for their heroic actions. The event will be livestreamed at nycourts.gov at 11 a.m. on Friday.

Upcoming CLE Webinars

Thursday, Sept. 9– Business Development Q&A: Boost Your Reputation, Relationships, And Referrals Using LinkedIn.

Friday, Sept. 10 – Rochester/7th JD Networking Reception & CLE Program For Labor And Employment Law Practitioners.

Tuesday, Sept. 14 – The UN Singapore Convention – Two Years Later

Latest NYSBA.ORG News

We continue to add new content to our website related to the coronavirus public health emergency and its impact on the legal community.

Our Committee on Professional Ethics issued a new opinion on submitting a draft complaint with a demand letter.

In addition to coronavirus updates, we are adding other interesting new content to our website.

NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown issued a statement about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a Texas law that bans abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.

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