S00006 Summary:

Amd S153-c, Fam Ct Act; amd S212, Judy L; amd S648, Exec L
Establishes a pilot program for the filing of petitions for temporary orders of protection by electronic means and for issuance of such orders ex parte by audio-visual means.
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S00006 Actions:

01/12/2015referred to judiciary
04/22/2015substituted for a6262
04/22/2015ordered to third reading cal.160
04/28/2015passed assembly
04/28/2015returned to senate
10/21/2015SIGNED CHAP.367
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S00006 Memo:

Memo not available
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S00006 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     January 9, 2015
          HANNON -- read twice and ordered  printed,  and  when  printed  to  be
          committed to the Committee on Rules
        AN  ACT to amend the family court act and the judiciary law, in relation
          to establishing a pilot program for the filing of petitions for tempo-
          rary orders of protection by electronic means and for issuance of such
          orders ex parte by audio-visual means and to amend the executive  law,
          in  relation  to  review and reports by the chief administrator of the
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1. Section 153-c of the family court act, as added by chapter
     2  416 of the laws of 1981, is amended to read as follows:
     3    § 153-c. Temporary order of protection. (a) Any  person  appearing  at
     4  family  court  when  the  court  is open requesting a temporary order of
     5  protection under any article of this act shall be  entitled  to  file  a
     6  petition  without delay on the same day such person first appears at the
     7  family court, and a hearing on that request shall be held  on  the  same
     8  day  or  the next day that the family court is open following the filing
     9  of such petition.
    10    (b) As provided in  this  section,  the  chief  administrator  of  the
    11  courts, with the approval of the administrative board of the courts, may
    12  promulgate  rules  to  establish  and  implement a pilot program for the
    13  filing of petitions for temporary orders  of  protection  by  electronic
    14  means and for the issuance of such orders ex parte by audio-visual means
    15  in  order  to accommodate litigants for whom attendance at court to file
    16  for, and obtain, emergency relief would constitute an undue hardship  or
    17  to  accommodate  litigants,  for  whom traveling to and appearing in the
    18  courthouse to obtain emergency relief, creates a risk of  harm  to  such
    19  litigant.
    20    (1) Definitions. As used in this section:
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 6                                2
     1    (i) "Electronic means" means any method of transmission of information
     2  between  computers or other machines designed for the purpose of sending
     3  and receiving such transmissions, and  which  allows  the  recipient  to
     4  reproduce   the   information   transmitted  in  a  tangible  medium  of
     5  expression.
     6    (ii)  "Independent audio-visual system" means an electronic system for
     7  the transmission and receiving of audio and visual signals, encompassing
     8  encoded signals, frequency domain multiplexing or other  suitable  means
     9  to  preclude  the  unauthorized reception and decoding of the signals by
    10  commercially available  television  receivers,  channel  converters,  or
    11  other available receiving devices.
    12    (iii) "Electronic appearance" means an appearance in which one or more
    13  of  the  parties are not present in the court, but in which, by means of
    14  an independent audio-visual system, all of the participants  are  simul-
    15  taneously able to see and hear reproductions of the voices and images of
    16  the judge, counsel, parties, witnesses, if any and other participants.
    17    (2)  Development of a pilot program. A plan for a pilot program pursu-
    18  ant to this section shall be developed by the chief administrator of the
    19  courts or his or her delegate in consultation with  one  or  more  local
    20  programs  providing  assistance  to  victims  of  domestic violence, the
    21  office for the prevention of domestic violence, and attorneys who repre-
    22  sent family offense petitions.   The plan  shall  include,  but  is  not
    23  limited to:
    24    (i)  identification of one or more family justice centers or organiza-
    25  tions or agencies or other sites outside of the local family court  that
    26  are equipped with, or have access to, an independent audio-visual system
    27  and  electronic  means for filing documents that are compatible with the
    28  equipment in the local family court, with  consideration  given  to  the
    29  location of such site or sites and available resources; and
    30    (ii)  identification  of  one or more licensed and certified organiza-
    31  tions, agencies or entities  with  advocates  for  victims  of  domestic
    32  violence who are trained, and available to assist petitioners in prepar-
    33  ing and filing petitions for temporary orders of protection and in their
    34  electronic  appearances  before  the family court to obtain such orders;
    35  and
    36    (iii) identification of the  existing  resources  available  in  local
    37  family courts for the implementation and oversight of the pilot program;
    38  and
    39    (iv)  delineation  of procedures for filing of the petitions and docu-
    40  ments, if any, by electronic means, swearing in the petitioners and  any
    41  witnesses,   preparation   of  a  verbatim  transcription  of  testimony
    42  presented and a record of evidence adduced and  prompt  transmission  of
    43  any orders issued to the petitioners; and
    44    (v)  a  timetable for implementation of the pilot program and plan for
    45  informing the public of its availability; and
    46    (vi) a description of data to be collected in order to  evaluate  and,
    47  if  necessary,  make  recommendations  for  improvements  to  the  pilot
    48  program.
    49    (3) Filing by electronic means.  In  conjunction  with  an  electronic
    50  appearance under this section, petitioners for ex parte temporary orders
    51  of  protection  may,  with the assistance of trained advocates, commence
    52  the proceedings by filing petitions by electronic means.
    53    (i) A petitioner who seeks a temporary order of protection ex parte by
    54  use of an electronic appearance must file a petition in advance of  such
    55  appearance  and may do so by electronic means.  The petitioner shall set
    56  forth the circumstances in which traveling to or appearing in the court-

        S. 6                                3
     1  house would constitute an undue hardship, or create a risk  of  harm  to
     2  the  petitioner.  In  granting or denying the relief sought by the peti-
     3  tioner, the court shall state the names of all participants, and whether
     4  it  is  granting  or  denying  an appearance by electronic means and the
     5  basis for such determination; provided, however, that  nothing  in  this
     6  section shall be construed to compel a party to file a petition or other
     7  document  by  electronic  means  or to testify by means of an electronic
     8  appearance.
     9    (ii) Nothing in this section shall affect or change any existing  laws
    10  governing  the  service  of process, including requirements for personal
    11  service, or the sealing and confidentiality of court records  in  family
    12  court  proceedings,  or  access  to court records by the parties to such
    13  proceedings.
    14    (4) (i) All electronic appearances by  petitioners  seeking  temporary
    15  orders  of  protection  ex  parte  under  this section shall be strictly
    16  voluntary and the consent of such petitioners  shall  be  given  on  the
    17  record at the commencement of each appearance.
    18    (ii)  Appearances  taken  through  the use of an electronic appearance
    19  under this section shall be recorded and  preserved  for  transcription.
    20  Documentary  evidence,  if any, referred to by a party or witness or the
    21  court may be transmitted and  submitted  and  introduced  by  electronic
    22  means.
    23    §  2.  Subdivision 2 of section 212 of the judiciary law is amended by
    24  adding a new paragraph (t) to read as follows:
    25    (t) Have the power to establish  pilot  programs  for  the  filing  of
    26  petitions for temporary orders of protection by electronic means and for
    27  the  issuance  of such orders by audio-visual means pursuant to subdivi-
    28  sion (b) of section one hundred fifty-three-c of the family  court  act.
    29  The chief administrator shall maintain an up-to-date and publicly-avail-
    30  able  listing  of  the  sites, if any, at which such applications for ex
    31  parte temporary orders of protection may be filed, and  at  which  elec-
    32  tronic  appearances  in  support  of such applications may be sought, in
    33  accordance with such section one hundred  fifty-three-c  of  the  family
    34  court  act.    In developing such pilot program, the chief administrator
    35  shall strive for a program that is regionally diverse,  and  takes  into
    36  consideration,  among other things, the availability of public transpor-
    37  tation, population  density  and  the  availability  of  facilities  for
    38  conducting such program.
    39    §  3. Section 648 of the executive law, as added by chapter 893 of the
    40  laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows:
    41    § 648. Review; report and implementation. 1. The  chief  administrator
    42  of  the  unified  court system shall review court practices, procedures,
    43  services, regulations and laws to determine the adequacy  and  appropri-
    44  ateness of its services with respect to crime victims, including victims
    45  with  special  needs,  particularly  the elderly, disabled or victims of
    46  child abuse, domestic violence, sex trafficking or sex-related offenses.
    47  Such review shall include reasonable opportunity for public comment  and
    48  consultation  with  crime  victims  or  their  representatives,  and may
    49  include public hearings.
    50    2. After the review, and not later than two hundred seventy days after
    51  the effective date of this section, and no later than two hundred seven-
    52  ty days after the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thou-
    53  sand fifteen which amended this section, and every five years  thereaft-
    54  er,  the  chief administrator of the unified court system shall submit a
    55  report to the governor and the legislature, setting forth  the  findings
    56  of  the  review, including a description of the services provided by the

        S. 6                                4
     1  components of the unified court system and recommendations  for  changes
     2  in  its  procedures,  services,  regulations  and  laws  to  improve its
     3  services to crime victims and to establish and implement fair  treatment
     4  standards for crime victims.
     5    3. Subject to the direction of the chief administrator, the components
     6  of  the unified court system shall expeditiously implement the recommen-
     7  dations of its report.
     8    § 4. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
     9  sion, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by a court of compe-
    10  tent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect,  impair
    11  or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its opera-
    12  tion  to  the  clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part
    13  thereof directly involved in the  controversy  in  which  such  judgment
    14  shall  have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of the
    15  legislature that this act would have been enacted even if  such  invalid
    16  provisions had not been included herein.
    17    § 5. This act shall take effect April 1, 2016.
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