Albany Law School student, clinics helping with Third District Crawford Hearing Training

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Kristen Davis '22

With a top-notch student, two clinics in the Justice Center at Albany Law School are teaming up with the Rensselaer County Domestic Violence and Integrated Domestic Violence Courts this April to help train legal professionals throughout New York’s Third Judicial District involved with a new kind of court hearing.

Last June, in Crawford v. Ally, New York’s First Judicial Department held that when a proposed order of protection threatens to immediately and significantly deprive defendants of substantial interests — such as access to a home or their children — a court must conduct a hearing before or shortly after the order is issued to determine whether it is truly necessary. On the surface orders might seem like a straightforward measure to stop abusers, but the Crawford case showed that mistakes are possible.

Professionals throughout New York’s Third District (Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties) will learn what kind of hearing evidence is sufficient for these “Crawford Hearings,” which are routinely being requested by the defense.  With the hearings being a new procedural step, training is needed as these cases are unique, sensitive, potentially volatile, and could cause traumatic upheaval far beyond the courtroom.

Albany Law School has a long history of training legal professionals through its connections in the field often made by clinical work done within the Justice Center. This particular virtual training is scheduled for Thursday, April 28 from 1-2:30 p.m.

“I have been interested in issues affecting women since I began at Albany Law School,” said Kristen Davis ’22 who is spearheading the training presentation along with Director of the Family Violence Litigation Clinic Professor Hayat Bearat and Director of the Domestic Violence Hybrid Clinic Professor Mary Lynch.

“After working in the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic and the Domestic Violence Seminar, Professor Lynch chose me to be one of her research assistants for the clinic. She knew I was interested in this case and asked me to work on the presentation with her. I'm excited for this amazing opportunity to present at this training,” Davis said.

Davis, originally from Florida, is set to graduate in May 2022. Beyond her clinic work, she is Editor-In-Chief of the Government Law Review and Co-Chair of the Women's Law Caucus. She has served as a teaching assistant for Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and in the clinic.  

During the training, an Assistant District Attorney from New York City will offer a practitioner perspective as Crawford Hearings began in and around the city almost immediately after the decision was made last year. Local judges, ADAs, public defenders, and advocates will also discuss how these hearings can impact family court filings and survivors of domestic violence in civil matters.

“Attorneys need this training to understand the legal decision and how this may impact their clients’ lives and safety,” Bearat said.

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, family court litigators, judges, leaders of domestic violence agencies, crime victim service providers, local police and sheriff departments, and probation officers from all over the district are invited and expected to attend.