February 2010 Archives

Google Fiber for Communities

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To encourage the deployment of better, faster Internet access, Google is
planning to build ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small
number of trial locations across the United States. They'll deliver
Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans
have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home
connections. The service will be available at a competitive price to
at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people. Local
governments, residents and community groups can visit Google's website to
express their interest in being part of this initiative.


Click on "Get Involved" for application forms to submit to Google.

OpenOffice.org 3.2. 0

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If you're looking for an alternative to more traditional office suites, you may wish to look at this version of OpenOffice. Their interface is similar to that of other programs, and it contains a spreadsheet application, a word processor, and a presentation manager. OpenOffice also features blog publishing assistance and compatibility with other applications and file types. This version can be used with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer or Windows 2000 or newer.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2010. http://scout.wisc.edu/

Law Firms Swindled Out of $500K in E-Mail Scam

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Law Firms Swindled Out of $500K in E-Mail Scam - News - ABA Journal

Two law firms in Honolulu were scammed out of $500,000 in an e-mail scheme that's apparently targeting the legal community.

During the past six weeks, six different law firms have been targeted, according to the FBI, which issued a warning today (PDF). Two of the six fell for the scheme and lost a total of $500,000.


Hat Tip to ABA Journal--click here to see related coverage.


Criminal Procedure

Exclusion of Evidence Over Police Officer's Repeated Failures to Appear in Court Upheld

People v. Valentin [full text of decision]


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Grogger|Crowdsource your Content

Grogger is enabling the next evolution of publishing through Grogs--"group blogs"--that enable publishers to crowdsource their content.

NY Judges' No Pay Raise Unconstitutional--But No Remedy Ordered

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Maron v. Silver, 16; Larabee v. Governor, 7;
Chief Judge v. Governor, 18;

PIGOTT, J.—The constitutional arguments raised in these judicial compensation appeals are premised upon, among other things, alleged violations of the New York State Constitution's Compensation Clause and the Separation of Powers Doctrine. Because the Separation of Powers doctrine is aimed at preventing one branch of government from dominating or interfering with the functioning of another co-equal branch, we conclude that the independence of the judiciary is improperly jeopardized by the current judicial pay crisis and this constitutes a violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine.


However, when "fashioning specific remedies for constitutional violations, we must avoid intrusion on the primary domain of another branch of government" (Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. v. State of New York, 8 NY3d 14, 28 [2006]). Indeed, deference to the Legislature—which possess the constitutional authority to budget and appropriate—is necessary because it is "in a far better position than the Judiciary to determine funding needs throughout the state and priorities for the allocation of the State's resources" (id. at 29). The Judiciary may intervene in the state budget "only in the narrowest of instances" (Wein v. Carey, 41 NY2d 498, 505 [1977]), and we do not believe that it is necessary here to order specific injunctive relief. When this Court articulates the constitutional standards governing state action, we presume that the State will act accordingly.


Full Text of Decision

Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals

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Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals

The new Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals Website of the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements is designed to provide reporters, lawyers, educators, and the public with prompt, accurate, unbiased information about newsworthy and legally significant cases pending in and decided by the Federal Courts of Appeals.

Use this website to find short summaries of recent opinions of public interest and noteworthy cases pending oral argument.

Currently, the website covers the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits, and is a pilot program. If successful, they plan to expand coverage to include the other circuits. From time to time, they will also include significant district court cases.

Cases are selected and summarized by distinguished law professors, supported by their students.

Hat tip to Tom Mighell

Ruling Stakes Claim for N.Y. Priority in Resolving Adoption

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Ruling Stakes Claim for N.Y. Priority in Resolving Adoption

"It may be debatable…whether parental rights created by a Cambodian adoption should, under circumstances like these, be treated as valid in New York," Judge Robert S. Smith wrote for the unanimous Court in Matter of Adoption of John Doe, 20 (full text). "But once parental rights have been validly established under New York law, between an adoptive parent and child who continue to live in New York, the choice of law governing the parental relationship is much less difficult: New York law applies."

Read full article at NYLJ

NY: Estate Planning for Domestic Partners and Non-Traditional Families

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For domestic partners, same-sex spouses and their children, proper estate planning is crucial not only to ensure inheritance rights, but also to establish objective proof of the existence of a domestic partnership, as distinct from a more social relationship, and to overcome the many gaps in the legal recognition and status of their families of choice.

This excellent 30-page guide by Erica Bell, Esq. of Weiss, Buell & Bell can be downloaded from PLI for free here.

Mac: Three New Time & Billing Programs

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Three new time and billing programs were shown at Macworld Expo! They
look surprisingly good:

OfficeTime ($47)

Billable/ProfitTrain ($35)

OnTheJob ($40)

Thanks to Randy Singer (MacAttorney)

Dickerson on New York Consumer Law

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The "bibles" of New York (mostly) consumer law are two yearly-updated treatises by Thomas A. Dickerson, an associate justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department of the New York State Supreme Court, and they're free.

Here are links:




Courtesy of:

David Zevin, Esq.
55 Cedar Dr.
Roslyn, NY 11576
Ph: (516) 849-5335
Fax: (206) 333-0228

Google Buzz

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Official Google Blog:

"Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It's built right into Gmail, so you don't have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. If you think about it, there's always been a big social network underlying Gmail. Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with the most. We focused on building an easy-to-use sharing experience that richly integrates photos, videos and links, and makes it easy to share publicly or privately (so you don't have to use different tools to share with different audiences). Plus, Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you're sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time."

Hat Tip to beSpacific

UPDATE: Questions have been raised by users about Google Buzz and the privacy of their email correspondents, specifically about "autofollowing" disclosing who you email and who emails you.

See: Lawyers...Careful with Google Buzz

See: Google's Statement on the issue

Finally: Google Abandons Autofollowing

Sign of the Times: ABA will cut dues for many lawyers not at big firms

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ABA will cut dues for many lawyers not at big firms

The ABA said in a Feb. 9 press release that its House of Delegates at its midyear meeting in Orlando, Fla., had approved a new dues structure that will reduce costs by 50% for solo practitioners and by 25% for the other lawyers. The changes will take effect in May. The organization is also creating new installment payment options that will be offered by August.

Hat Tip to The National Law Journal

McCabe v. Dutchess County (full text from NYLJ)

In Holodook v. Spencer (36 NY2d 35), the Court of Appeals held that a child does not have a legally cognizable claim for damages against his parent for negligent supervision. One question presented to us in this appeal is whether a child may assert such a claim against his foster parent. We answer this question in the negative.

Siri--Personal Assistant in Your Pocket

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The video is self-explanatory and amazing:

Hat Tip to LifeHacker

IRS Debunks Frivolous Tax Arguments

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The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2010 version of its discussion and rebuttal of many of the more common frivolous arguments made by individuals and groups that oppose compliance with federal tax laws.

Anyone who contemplates arguing on legal grounds against paying their fair share of taxes should first read the 80-page document, The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments.

Lawyer Sues Sallie Mae Over ‘Unrelenting’ Student Loan Robocalls

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Seattle lawyer sues Sallie Mae over collection phone calls - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle):

A Seattle attorney said he was “unrelentingly” harassed by automatic-dialed phone calls from student-loan company SLM Corp., or Sallie Mae, over his law school loan and is suing the company.

Mark A. Arthur is the plaintiff in Arthur v. SLM Corp., a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Seattle. The suit is intended to be a class action and seeks injunctive relief and damages.

Hat tip to ABA Journal

Lippman Rallies State Bar Backing for Threatened Judiciary Budget

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The New York Law Journal - Lippman Rallies State Bar Backing for Threatened Judiciary Budget

By Joel Stashenko
February 01, 2010

Facing the prospect of a budgetary showdown with Governor David A. Paterson, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has won support from the New York State Bar Association against what he called the governor's "outrageous" criticism of the court system's new spending proposal.

In his first speech to the state bar's House of Delegates as chief judge, a feisty Judge Lippman on Friday defended the judiciary's $2.7 billion spending plan, especially the $183.5 million increase from the current year that Mr. Paterson had blasted as "business as usual" in the face of crushing state fiscal and economic problems (NYLJ, Jan. 20).

The increase in the judiciary's budget proposal contains $48 million for the first pay raise for state judges since 1999.

"I'll be damned after 11 years…to make any apologies for putting that money into the budget," Judge Lippman said to the applause of the state bar leaders.

Read entire article here.

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