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March 2013 Archives

While Gideon v. Wainwright Turns 50, Most Tenants are still Unrepresented in Housing Court

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's decision Gideon v Wainwright which required states to provide attorneys for indigent people charged with crimes. The case was decided under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Clarence Gideon had been charged with stealing cigarettes, beer and wine from a poolroom in Panama City, Florida. One witness identified him. When his trial began Mr. Gideon told the judge that he was not prepared for trial because he did not have an attorney. The judge explained to him that under the laws of the State of Florida the court could only appoint counsel in capital cases. Mr. Gideon was tried and convicted. His case ended up before the US Supreme Court where he won a great victory for unrepresented criminal defendants.

"New York City's Housing Court at 40: Controversies, Challenges, and Prospects for the Future" Conference at the City Bar

A photograph of the 1968 riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago remained displayed on two large screens in the main hall of the Bar Association of the City New York throughout the day at the conference titled "New York City's Housing Court at 40: Controversies, Challenges, and Prospects for the Future" on March 11, 2013. The photo, which had been used by New York Law School Professor Richard Chuse to illustrate the effect of the 1960s social movements on housing law, seemed an appropriate image to sum up the deep conflict between landlords and tenants which was the subtext of the conference.

Horizontal Multiple Dwellings (HMD) or When Two Buildings Are One

In order for an apartment to be subject to rent stabilization, along with a number of other criteria, it must be located in a building that contains six or more apartments.