Preet Bharara starts from “first principles: Are we doing the right thing, and are we doing it for the right reasons?” – Joon Kim, Acting US Attorney, SDNY.

At the 2015 AABANY Annual Dinner, Charting New Frontiers, we presented the Public Service Leadership Award to Preet Bharara, for his extensive and well-known dedication and commitment to public service as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and in the many years before then. In accepting the award, Preet gave a moving and inspiring speech filled with good humor and the spirit of pride and professionalism in public interest and public service that has characterized his distinguished and storied career. Our usually raucous crowd listened in rapt silence for the entire length of his remarks and rose up in an enthusiastic standing ovation at their conclusion.

Preet, thank you for your leadership and your service, for Charting New Frontiers, for daring to Speak Up, Rise Up and Lift Up, and for serving as an exemplary role model as we seek to Take Charge, Lead Change in the coming weeks and months.

U.S. District Court Judge Lorna G. Schofield, New York City
In a four-minute, first-person video, U.S. District Court Judge Lorna G. Schofield, New York City, tells her story of growing up the daughter of a Filipina war bride living in the Midwest. She worked hard to meet the high standards of excellence set by her mother. As a child, she had to adapt to long stays with other families when her mother was frequently hospitalized for treatment of a chronic illness.  As a teen, she shouldered adult responsibilities.  Judge Schofield’s message to young people: “You have to have faith in yourself that you can make a life that you want.”

Judge Schofield’s video is part of a series called Pathways to the Bench, produced by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  In the videos, judges talk about the personal, character-building challenges in their lives that prepared them to serve on the bench.  Each judge has a motivational message for young people that adults find inspiring, as well. 

Judge Schofield made history as the first Filipina American Article III judge in the United States.

The Pathways to the Bench series also created a video about the Hon. Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is available from our blog here.

Thanks to Rebecca Fanning, National Outreach Manager for the Federal Courts, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, for sharing this video with us.

SDNY BOARD OF JUDGES ADOPTS LOCAL RULE 83.10, A PLAN FOR CERTAIN § 1983 CASES AGAINST THE CITY OF NEW YORK

The Board of Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has adopted Local Civil Rule 83.10, which governs how certain 1983 cases against the City of New York are managed.

Initially a pilot program implemented in 2011, the goal of the Local Rule is to improve the administration of justice by standardizing discovery and the dates of production, resulting in more material being produced earlier in the process so as to aid in the required early mediation or settlement conference. The 1983 Plan is responsible for the settlement of 70% of Plan-eligible cases in the first six months after the filing of a complaint.

The Board of Judges extended the pilot program in 2013, and it adopted the plan into the courts Local Rules after soliciting public feedback on the program. The rule will become effective upon approval by the Second Circuit Judicial Council. Prior to the revised rule taking effect, the public is invited to comment. Comments are to be submitted in writing on or at the close of business on Friday, July 20, 2014 to:

Edward A. Friedland
District Court Executive
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street, Room 820
New York, NY 10007-1312

A complete version of the Plan and the codified Local Rule follows this notice and can be found at the court’s website at http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov.

SDNY Notice to the Bar: Pre-Sentence Investigation Reports

NOTICE TO THE BAR
CONTACT: Edward Friedland, 212-805-0513

SDNY BOARD OF JUDGES ADOPTS A SCHEDULE FOR THE PREPARATION OF PRE-SENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORTS, EFFECTIVE JUNE 2

The Board of Judges of the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York have adopted a standing order that
standardizes the timetable for the completion of Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) Reports. The new schedule takes effect June 2.

Highlights of the new schedule include:

  • On the day of a guilty plea or verdict, judges will direct defense counsel to promptly schedule a Pre-Sentence Interview of the defendant with the SDNY Probation Department;
  • The Probation Department will complete its Pre-Sentence Interview of the defendant within 28 days of the plea or verdict;
  • Within 14 days of the Probation Department’s initial disclosure of the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report, the parties must provide the Probation Department with objections.

Please see the standing order that is attached to this notice for a complete schedule.

“The court’s new schedule for Pre-Sentence Investigation Report ensures that defendants can be sentenced no later than 90 days after a guilty plea or the delivery of a guilty verdict,” said Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska. “It improves efficiency, provides some flexibility in scheduling sentencings, and reduces the number of sentencing adjournments—it’s a win-win for all parties.”

Click here to read the notice.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT MENTORING PROGRAM

NOTICE TO THE BAR

CONTACT: Peter Quijano, 212-686-0666; or Anthony L. Ricco, 212-791-3919

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT MENTORING PROGRAM

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is seeking candidates for its Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Mentoring Program. Ideal candidates are attorneys with five or more years of experience litigating in state court, with fifteen felony trials to verdict as lead counsel or comparable in-court experience under their belt. Under the supervision of a member of the CJA Panel, CJA Mentees would represent defendants in federal court who qualify for appointed representation under the Criminal Justice Act.

The purpose of the CJA Mentoring Program is to diversify the composition of the CJA Panel—a roster of private attorneys who are authorized to serve as appointed defense counsel pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A—and to expose experienced state court practitioners to federal practice. While the mentee’s initial 15 hours of service will be done pro bono, mentees may earn a reduced rate of $65 per hour for their services after the pro bono requirement has been fulfilled.

Candidate interviews will be conducted in early June. To apply for the program, please e-mail your resume by June 4 to:

Peter Enrique Quijano
Quijano & Ennis, P.C.
peter@qandelaw.com

“The CJA Mentoring Program offers attorneys a unique opportunity to expand their practice and learn from some of the top criminal defense attorneys in the nation,” said Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska. “The Court is fortunate to benefit from such an excellent program and grateful for the time and attention contributed by the mentor lawyers.”

The mentorship program is open to anyone who qualifies, and women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply. Participation in the mentorship program does not guarantee appointment to the CJA Panel.

SDNY ANNOUNCES A SPECIAL SESSION TO COMMEMORATE THE COURT’S 225TH ANNIVERSARY

MEDIA ADVISORY/NOTICE TO THE BAR CONTACT: Edward Friedland, 212-805-0513

Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska has announced that the United States District Court for the Southern District Court (SDNY) will hold a special session on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 to commemorate the first session of the Court held 225 years ago. President George Washington appointed James Duane, who had been a member of the Continental Congress and first mayor of New York City following the evacuation of British forces, as the Court’s first judge. Judge Duane held the first session on the first Tuesday of November, 1789, making it the first Court to convene under the new United States Constitution. For this reason, it is frequently referred to as the “Mother Court.”

The anniversary celebration will continue through 2015 with re-enactments of historic trials, lectures on some of the Court’s most notable jurists, and exhibits featuring art and historic artifacts such as the Silver Oar of the British Vice Admiralty Court for the Province of New York, the symbol of an admiralty court’s authority. A full calendar of events, under the co-chairmanship of District Judges Deborah A. Batts and P. Kevin Castel, will be published later this year.

Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska said of the anniversary commemoration:

“The history of this Court reflects the history of the nation. The Court has been the venue for civil war prize cases, litigation over the sinking of the Titanic and Lusitania, and the attack on the World Trade Center. It has seen criminal prosecutions from the Tea Pot Dome scandal to Watergate. Today its docket includes white collar and terrorism prosecutions. We are honored and delighted to mark this Court’s 225th year of continued service.”

Currently there are 28 active and 22 senior District Judges on the Southern District bench, in addition to 15 Magistrate Judges and 9 bankruptcy judges.

SDNY ECF SYSTEM UPGRADE: SERVICE INTERRUPTION NOTICE FOR APRIL 25-27, 2014

COURT NOTICE TO THE BAR                                                April 14, 2013

CONTACT: ECF Help Desk, 212-805-0800

SDNY ECF SYSTEM UPGRADE: SERVICE INTERRUPTION NOTICE FOR APRIL 25-27, 2014

For the purposes of upgrading the Southern District of New York’s Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system, ECF will be unavailable beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2014. Service will be restored by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

During this time, users will be unable to file documents on the court’s ECF system or view documents through the PACER electronic public access service. Filers are directed to section 23.7 of the court’s ECF Rules & Instructions for information regarding technical issues that prevent timely filing.

This time will be used to upgrade the court’s ECF system to version 5.1.1. Notable changes include:

Changes to Nature of Suit Codes: To more accurately record the filing of civil actions, thirteen codes have been eliminated and seven new codes added. As a result, a revised civil cover sheet (form JS44C/SDNY) will be required beginning Monday, April 28, 2014. The new form will be made available beginning on April 27, 2014.

ECF Password Strength Requirement: Users accessing the ECF system after April 27, 2014 will be prompted to adopt a new, more secure password.

Details on the Nature of Suit code changes, password changes and the Release Notes detailing additional features available to the public and the bar in ECF version 5.1.1 may be found at http://nysd.uscourts.gov/ecf.php.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT PANEL

NOTICE TO THE BAR
CONTACT: Karen Van Outryve 212-417-8741

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT PANEL

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is seeking applicants for the SDNY Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel.  Applications are available on the court’s website at www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cja.php. Completed applications must be addressed to David Patton, Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of New York, and submitted electronically by May 31, 2014 to karen_van_outryve@fd.org; no paper applications will be accepted.

The CJA Panel is comprised of private attorneys who are authorized to serve as appointed defense counsel pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. To qualify for a position on the CJA Panel, attorneys must be members in good standing of the Southern District and have proven experience and competency in the field of federal criminal defense work. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of attorneys that will forward its recommendations to the Southern District Board of Judges’ Defender Services Committee. The Court is committed to increasing the diversity of the applicant pool and encourages qualified female and minority lawyers to apply for positions.

Candidates can apply to be a member of either the Foley Square or the White Plains CJA Panels, or to both panels. CJA Panel attorneys commit to being “on duty” one day every four to six months if a member of the Foley Square panel and approximately one day every month if on the White Plains panel. On that “duty day,” CJA attorneys represent clients when the Federal Defender has a conflict; the hours of duty are from 9:00 a.m. until the closing of the Magistrate Judges Office, which is sometimes after 5:00 p.m. CJA Panel members serve a three-year term and are reimbursed at the rate of $126/hour for in-court and out-of-court time.

“Our justice system owes a great debt to the efforts of CJA attorneys,” said United States District Judge Cathy Seibel, who leads the Southern District’s Defender Services Committee. “They are instrumental to fulfilling the Constitutional mandate that every defendant has a right to
counsel.”

Southern District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska said, “The Southern District’s CJA Panel is the best in the nation, and we are fortunate that so many capable attorneys take part in this program.”

Attorneys can also apply for membership on panels that represent defendants in capital cases and in non-trial work, primarily habeas corpus proceedings. In addition, the Southern District also sponsors a mentoring program that helps identify and prepare experienced state court
practitioners for appointment to the Panel. While the mentorship program is aimed at increasing the diversity of the Panel, the program is open to all.

Contact Peter Quijano at 212-686-0666 or Anthony Ricco at 212-791-3919 for more information on the mentorship program.

SDNY BOARD OF JUDGES REVISES ITS ELECTRONIC DEVICES POLICY

NOTICE TO THE BAR
CONTACT: Edward Friedland, 212-805-0500

SDNY BOARD OF JUDGES REVISES ITS ELECTRONIC DEVICES POLICY

        The Board of Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has revised its policy regarding the use of personal electronic devices and general purpose computing devices. A copy of the new policy is attached to this notice.

        The new policy allows members of the bar of any court, with the advance written permission from the judge presiding and subject to security screening, to bring one or more personal electronic devices or general purpose computing devices into the courthouses for that trial.

        Attorneys who are admitted in the Southern District of New York and have a valid New York State Office of Court Administration Secure Pass should still apply for an SDNY Secure Pass, which permits the holder to bring a personal electronic device into the courthouse. For more information on how to obtain a SDNY Service Pass, visit the court’s website at http://nysd.uscourts.gov/file/forms/attorney-service-pass-application.