Secured a reversal of Family Court’s declaration of the provision that precluded secure detention in PINS proceedings to be unconstitutional.
Matter of Jennifer G., 26 AD3d 437 (2nd Dept. 2006)
In a PINS proceeding where I represented the child and Family Court declared Family Court Act § 720 (2) to be unconstitutional so that the Court could place the child in secure detention, I secured a reversal. In reversing, the Second Department accepted my arguments that Family Court Act § 720 (2) is not constitutionally infirm. “The Legislature is not precluded from treating different classes of juveniles differently” and the statute is rationally related to the legitimate State interest of precluding the institutionalization of PINS whose “misconduct does not amount to criminal activity and [for whom] the emphasis is on supervision and treatment rather than confinement.” The Court further accepted my argument that the provision is not violative of the separation of powers doctrine since the Family Court’s inherent contempt authority is expressly limited by Family Court Act § 156 and that Family Court Act § 720 (2) is not preempted by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (see 42 USC § 5601 et seq.) which permits, but does not mandate, the secure detention of juvenile status offenders who violate court orders (see 42 USC § 5633 [a]  [A] [ii]) and that, indeed, New York has declined to adopt that optional provision as part of its statutory scheme.