State of the Judiciary Address
Statement by State Bar President Seymour W. James, Jr.
In Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's State of the Judiciary address, he
stressed the need to end wrongful convictions of innocent people.
“If we truly are to fulfill our duty to let justice be done,
we must do more to prevent wrongful convictions in our state,” he
said during his February 5 speech at the state Court of Appeals.
He again endorsed mandatory videotaping of police interrogations and
reforming eyewitness identification procedures, two longtime legislative
priorities of the State Bar Association.
The chief judge also renewed his call for raising the age of criminal
liability from 16 to 18 years old, saying that “it is high time
that we join the rest of the nation in recognizing that adolescents
cannot be judged the same way as adults.” The State Bar’s
House of Delegates has endorsed raising the age of criminal
responsibility to 18.
He urged the state Legislature to open all court proceedings to cameras
at the discretion of the presiding judge. Currently, cameras are
permitted on a limited, case-by-case basis. The State Bar
Association supports opening trials to still and video cameras.
Judge Lippman also announced that the Administrative Board of the Courts
has approved a measure “to require attorneys to report the number
of pro bono hours they performed and the amount of monetary
contributions they have made to legal services providers as part of
their biennial attorney registration process.”
The State Bar actively encourages our members to voluntarily provide
pro bono services to low-income New Yorkers. However, our House of
Delegates is on record as opposed to mandatory pro bono as well as
mandatory reporting and we have expressed our opposition to both.
In announcing the new reporting requirement, Judge Lippman noted that he
does “not intend to mandate that all New York attorneys perform
pro bono work.”
The State of the Judiciary address also offered proposals on bail reform
and mortgage foreclosure and announced creation of a permanent
Commercial Division Advisory Council