The Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs (“Justice Center”) is a law enforcement agency created by New York State Legislation, which has oversight of six (6) agencies serving “vulnerable people.”
If a PEF member is the subject of a report alleging acts of serious abuse or neglect, the Justice Center conducts an investigation. During the initial stage of the investigation, the member is entitled to representation under Article 33 of the PEF/State collective bargaining agreement.
Once the initial stage is concluded, the Justice Center determines whether the report against the member is “substantiated” or “unsubstantiated.” If the report is “substantiated,” the member may appeal the determination through an administrative review process. Legal representation in the appeals process is covered by the PEF Membership Benefits Program Justice Center Benefit.
The PEF Membership Benefits Program provides legal representation for a Justice Center investigation to active, dues-paying PEF members, through the appeals process of a substantiated finding of the Justice Center. An attorney will be assigned to the member to represent them through the appeals process from the hearing to the administrative decision (Stages 3 through 6). Legal fees are paid in full for the member as long as the member remains an active, dues-paying PEF member throughout the entire process.
The PEF Membership Benefits Program agrees to provide active, dues-paying PEF members legal representation before the Justice Center for Stages 3 through 6 of the Justice Center Investigation. The Stages of the Justice Center investigation are as follows:
If a PEF member is the subject of a Justice Center investigation, or receives a substantiated report from the Justice Center, the member should immediately contact their PEF Field Representative. The Field Representative will help the member through any interrogation and will send the case to an attorney for representation through the Justice Center investigation.
PEF Regional Field Representative Contact Numbers:
|1 BUFFALO||(800) 462-1462|
|2 HORNELL||(800) 724-5001|
|3 ROCHESTER||(800) 724-5003|
|4 SYRACUSE||(800) 724-5004|
|5 BINGHAMTON||(800) 724-4998|
|6 UTICA||(800) 724-5005|
|7 POTSDAM||(888) 498-8532|
|8 ALBANY||(800) 342-4306|
|9 POUGHKEEPSIE||(800) 548-4870|
|10 MANHATTAN||(800) 522-8700|
|11 BROOKLYN||(866) 897-9775|
|12 LONG ISLAND||(800) 832-5284|
All legal fees for Stages 3 through 6 of the Justice Center investigation will be paid in full as long as the member meets all the requirements of the program. Any Article 78 Challenge at Stage 7 of the investigation is not covered by this benefit and the member is solely responsible for any legal fees if the member wishes to pursue the matter at Stage 7.
A PEF member is not required to use the Justice Center Benefit provided by PEF Membership Benefits Program. Members are free, at all times, to select an attorney of their own choosing and make payment to such an attorney for services, but PEF Membership Benefits Program will neither absorb, nor be responsible for, any part of the fees or charges of attorneys other than those provided by PEF Membership Benefits Program.
A PEF member is also free, at any time, to discontinue the services of an attorney provided by PEF Membership Benefits Program and, if they so desire, to secure the services of an attorney of their choice. However, in such an event, PEF Membership Benefits Program will neither absorb, nor be responsible for, any part of the fees or charges of such other attorneys.
The attorney provided by PEF Membership Benefits Program may, under exceptional circumstances, at any time (as is customary in the case of the independent retention of private attorneys) not undertake, discontinue, or withdraw from representation of any PEF member. In such cases, the covered member is free to secure their own attorney; however, PEF Membership Benefits Program will neither absorb, nor be responsible for, any of the fees or charges of that attorney.