Councilman: Change courts, honor Nixzmary Brown

A councilman demanded an increase in Family Court judges Thursday on the steps of City Hall, a day before the two-year anniversary of Nixzmary Brown's death.

Police found Brown, 7, beaten to death Jan. 11, 2006 in her family's Bedford-Stuyvesant home. Jury selection began Tuesday for her stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez. Nixzaliz Santiago will be tried separately for her daughter's death.

A judge ruled five pictures showing the girl's battered and bruised body can be shown in court.

Councilman Bill de Blasio says years after the tragedy, little has changed in Family Court. He wants the number of judges increased 50 percent to better handle caseloads.

Figures show child abuse and neglect reports rose from more than 50,000 in 2005 to a record 64,221 in 2007. De Blasio says those reports eventually trickles down to judges.

He says he wants legislation that has been stagnant since 1991 to be revisited to better equip Family Court.

The councilman also believes the Administration for Children's Services, which visited the home after the girl repeatedly missed school, needs an overhaul.

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