Legal Minds Converge to Tackle Traffic Justice; Will Team Vance Attend?

In the past 30 days, no fewer than seven pedestrians have been killed by motorists in New York City. True to form, the only drivers to face charges were those found to be intoxicated. The rest were granted instantaneous pardons by NYPD, several without as much as a blemish on their driving record.

alg_children.jpgDiego Martinez and Hayley Ng are among the many victims whose killers never face justice.

Even Novella Bilkerdyka, the unlicensed driver with a history of traffic offenses who ran over 9-year-old Joshua Ganzfried as he walked to temple in Brooklyn, escaped responsibility for taking a life. Last week, high school student Angela Ambrose became the latest city pedestrian to die when she and a friend were struck by an SUV driver at a Queens intersection. As of the most recent reports, her friend was in critical condition. The driver was not charged.

Later this month, Transportation Alternatives, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo
School of Law will hold a symposium addressing the prosecution of
vehicular homicide in New York State. TSTC’s Mobilizing the Region reports:

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and legal advocates will examine the
existing legal framework and discuss innovative or untried techniques
and those in use in other states. The program is free and open to
everyone. Attorneys will be eligible for CLE credit.

"This is a watershed moment," says TSTC’s Kyle Wiswall. "There are too many examples of mayhem on the streets that go unprosecuted. We’ll be discussing why this is so, and, perhaps more importantly, what can be changed to find justice for the vulnerable users and victims of careless driving."

No word yet on whether they will be in attendance, but this would be a great opportunity for members of Team Vance to get a head start on the new Manhattan DA’s traffic justice agenda. Peter Goldwasser, general counsel for TA, is optimistic that the symposium can build on recent progress in the fight against vehicular violence.

"It’s our hope that the discussion will lead to concrete progress in finding justice for the innocent victims of careless and negligent driving," Goldwasser says. "We want to get to the very root of the problems lawmakers, prosecutors and judges encounter when these cases arise. Furthermore, with the recent election of a new Manhattan District Attorney who specifically included a pedestrian safety plank in his campaign platform, we are further encouraged that change is afoot."

Panelists will include Maureen McCormick, a former Brooklyn prosecutor who now works for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, known nationally for her vigorous pursuit of justice for victims of drunk driving.

"With this symposium," says Wiswall, "we will help move the issue of traffic justice from awareness to action."

The symposium will be held on October 27 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Cardozo School of Law, 55 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. RSVP info and other details are here.


Vance to Speak at Traffic Justice Symposium

Photo: New York Times Next Tuesday’s legal symposium on vehicular homicide, presented by Transportation Alternatives, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, will feature a prominent special guest: presumptive Manhattan DA-elect Cy Vance. Vance will deliver opening remarks at the symposium, set to convene at 9 a.m. at the Cardozo […]

Vance Renews Traffic Safety Pledge at Meeting of Legal Minds

Cy Vance, far right, joined by (l-r) Oregon attorney Raymond F. Thomas, TA’s Peter Goldwasser, New York attorney Scott Glen Cerbin, and Nassau County prosecutor Maureen McCormick. Photo: Brad Aaron Judged by statistics on violent crime, New York may be the safest big city in America. But its amazingly low murder rate masks a less […]

Manhattan DA Cy Vance Unveils Strategy to Expand Traffic Safety Resources

During last year’s campaign for Manhattan District Attorney, Cy Vance came out with a broad traffic safety platform, promising to beef up investigations into deaths caused by drivers. Many of those commitments turned into official policy today, as Vance announced a significant expansion of the DA’s vehicular crimes unit. Vance also pledged to support state […]

Will Vance Victory Translate to Tougher Stance on Traffic Crime?

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance scored a significant victory last week, earning a homicide conviction in the case of a driver who killed a pedestrian in East Harlem nine years ago. But the circumstances of the crash, and their striking similarity to a 2011 fatality that resulted in a slap-on-the-wrist plea bargain, […]

This Week: Plazas, Livability, and Traffic Justice

The action this week is tonight and Thursday, with opportunities to get involved in public space planning, dig into what “livability” means, and talk about specific traffic justice cases with Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance. Tonight: DOT sits down for a charette with the Washington Heights community to create a plan for the new 10,000 square […]

DA Candidate Cy Vance Outlines Traffic Safety Platform

Cy Vance has become the second contender for Manhattan district attorney to release a campaign plank on traffic crime. Cy Vance, Jr. Photo: Brad Aaron Vance’s proposals, detailed on his campaign web site, are impressively broad in scope. On the legislative front, Vance says he would advocate for graduated penalties for repeat traffic offenders and […]