March 2010 Archives

Second Circuit Overturns State's Persistent Felony Offender Sentencing Law

Joel Stashenko
New York Law Journal
April 01, 2010

A state statute that permits stiffer sentences for "persistent" felony offenders violates the constitutional rights of defendants to a jury trial, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today.

Citing a series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, especially Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), a three-judge panel unanimously concluded the state scheme vested unconstitutionally broad discretion in judges to set sentences.

"We hold that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, applicable to the states as incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits the type of judicial fact-finding resulting in enhanced sentences under New York's [Persistent Felony Offender statute," Judge Ralph K. Winter wrote for the panel.

The circuit made its ruling today in five cases it heard arguments on at the same time on April 16, 2008: Besser v. Walsh, 05-4375-pr; Phillips v. Artus, 06-3550-pr; Portalatin v. Graham, 07-1599-pr; Morris v. Artus, 07-3588-pr; and Washington v. Poole, 07-3949-pr.

Read the entire NYLJ article here.

ZeuAPP-Some Good Things Are Free

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ZeuAPP | Zeusoft

Pick software that you want, start download and install it.
One click download the application you want to install,

ZeuAPP in its list contains 82 applications.All applications are freeware or open source, and you are free to download them.

ZeuAPP has 12 categories: Archivers, Audio, Video, Chat-IM, Internet, CD Burners, P2P-File sharing, Games, Graphic, Office, Security, Utility.

Sorry...Windows only, so far.

Download here


Hat tip to LifeHacker. Subscribe for free email newsletter..

Scribd: State Attorney Generals" Suit On Health Care Reform

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Findlaw: Va. Sues Over Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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(U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Va., Mar. 23, 2010) - Virginia filed a federal lawsuit today, charging that if its citizens and residents decide not to buy health insurance, then they can't be subject to the new federal health care and insurance law since they are not not engaging in interstate commerce. Learn why Virginia filed its own lawsuit, instead of joining the multi-state lawsuit filed by thirteen other states challenging the new law.

Va. Health Care suit

FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court - 2/23/10

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United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinosa, No. 08–1134

In an appeal from a bankruptcy court order in a Chapter 13 proceeding, enforcing the confirmation of a student loan debtor's plan and directing creditors to cease any collection efforts, the Ninth Circuit's judgment reversing a district court's order in favor of student loan creditor is affirmed where: 1) creditor's actual notice of the filing and contents of the debtor's plan more than satisfied its due process rights, and thus debtor's failure to make the required service did not entitle creditor to relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(4); 2) although the bankruptcy court's failure to find undue hardship in this case was a legal error, the confirmation order was enforceable and binding on creditor because it had actual notice of the error and failed to object or timely appeal; but 3) the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that bankruptcy courts must confirm a plan proposing the discharge of a student loan debt without an undue hardship determination in an adversary proceeding unless the creditor timely raises a specific objection.

New York's Family Health Care Decisions Act

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New York Family Health Care Decisions Act

by David Goldfarb
Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP

On March 16, 2010, New York's Governor David Paterson signed the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) into law. The FHCDA allows family members to make health care decisions, including decisions about the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, on behalf of patients who lose their ability to make such decisions and have not prepared advance directives regarding their wishes.


Read David Goldfarb's entire article here.

JURIST - Paper Chase: New York appeals court rules state can annul same-sex civil unions

New York appeals court rules state can annul same-sex civil unions
Daniel Makosky at 10:22 AM ET

[JURIST] A New York state appeals court ruled [text, PDF] Thursday that the state's courts have jurisdiction to hear requests to annul civil unions performed in other states. The Third Judicial Department Appellate Division [official website] reversed a 2008 Schenectady County Supreme Court [official website] decision, citing multiple protections New York affords to same-sex partnerships as sufficient to establish competency despite the state lacking its own civil union law:
Here, while New York has not created a specific mechanism for dissolution of a civil union validly entered into in another state, neither has it exercised its power, by statute or other legislative enactment, to prohibit an action for dissolution of a civil union. Since Supreme Court's jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action has not been proscribed, and this matter involves a dispute for which "adequate relief by means of an existing form of action is [un]available to the plaintiff," Supreme Court is competent to adjudicate the case.
The case involved a same-sex New York couple that that entered into a civil union in Vermont. Vermont, however, was unable to provide relief since it requires at least one party to be a resident of the state for at least one year.


Subscribe to the FREE Paperchase service.

Lawyers Helping Lawyers: In Good Times and Bad

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Thursday, March 25, 2010
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (registration at 5:30 p.m.)

LaTourelle Resort and Spa
1150 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY

The program is FREE to all attorneys, but pre-registration is required. Dinner is included.

This program has been approved for 2.0 MCLE credits in Ethics for all attorneys, including both newly admitted and experienced attorneys.

Co-sponsored by
The Tompkins County and Broome County Bar Associations; Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committees of Broome, Tompkins, Cortland, Chemung and Tioga Counties; and the New York State Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program. This program is funded through a grant from the New York State Lawyer Assistance Trust.

Program Description
Presenters will share their perspectives on practicing law in a manner that enhances and integrates mental, emotional and spiritual health and development of community.

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Registration
6:00 – 6:15 p.m. Introduction
Mariette Geldenhuys, Esq., Mariette Geldenhuys Attorney at Law
6:15 – 6:40 p.m. A Lawyer’s Family Story of Depression
Hon. Michael J. Miller (Ret.)
Hinda Miller
6:40 – 7:05 p.m. A Lawyer’s Story of Alcoholism
Lenore Le Fevre, Esq.
7:05 – 7:30 p.m. Lawyers Helping Lawyers (panel discussion)
Hon. John C. Rowley, Tompkins County Court Judge
Charles Oliver Wolff, Esq., Law Office of Charles Oliver Wolff
Richard M. Wallace, Esq., Guttman & Wallace
7:30 – 7:55 p.m.
Lawyers Assistance Program
Paul Curtin, Outreach Coordinator, 4th Department New York State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program

7:55 – 8:00 p.m. Questions and Answers
For registration or additional Information please contact Sindy Garey, Director of the Broome County Bar Association

*** The meeting location includes a Spa and is offering a 15% discount on Spa services for attendees and a special $99.00/night room rate as well. For information on Spa services and reservations, go to

Kindle for PC (and Mac)

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Kindle for PC

Read Kindle Books on Your Computer. No Kindle required
Access your Kindle books even if you don't have your Kindle with you, Automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with Whispersync. Create bookmarks and view the annotations you created on your Kindle

View larger image. Shop for Books in the Kindle Store
Search and browse more than 450,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Timesョ Best Sellers. If you are a non-U.S. customer, book availability may vary. Find New York Times Best Sellers and new releases for $9.99, unless marked otherwise. Get free book samples - read the first chapter for free before you decide to buy. Books you purchase can also be read on a Kindle.

NOTE: Kindle newspapers, magazines, and blogs are not currently available for Kindle for PC.

MAC NOTE: There is a Beta edition for your Mac. When you click on the page and link, the automatic download of the PC version will begin; but the page recognizes your Mac and offers you the Mac Beta. Just discard the .exe file.

Download Kindle for PC Beta.

Cell phone radiation levels - CNET Reviews

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Cell phone radiation levels - CNET Reviews

If you're concerned about limiting your SAR exposure, you can take a few easy steps beyond purchasing a handset with a low SAR. You can text instead placing a voice call, use a wired headset or speakerphone whenever possible, and carry your phone at least one inch from your body. Some researchers also caution against using your phone in areas with poor coverage since phones emit more radiation when searching for a signal. Children, which have smaller and thinner skulls, should limit cell phone use, and all users, children and adults, should not sleep with an active phone next to their bedside or under their pillow.

Read the entire article and check your phone.

Shields on Dustin Cole at the Massachusetts Bar Association

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Legal Ease Blog: Dustin Cole at the Massachusetts Bar Association

Legal Ease Blog by Allison C. Shields has an ecellent summary of the key points made by Dustin Cole of Attorneys Masterclass on the business of practicing law at last week's mass Bar Annual Conference.

An excerpt: "Cole cautions that lawyers should stop focusing on the process. Lawyers need to focus on what they are really selling - and it isn't legal work. He emphasized that lawyers need to know not only what makes them different than their competitors, but what makes them better. He admonished lawyers not to focus on what everyone else is doing, because that breeds merely average lawyers. "

FINDLAW: Brooklyn Man Convicted of Beating His Puppy to Death

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(Supreme Ct., Kings Cty., Mar. 12, 2010) - Dudley Ramsay, a 25-year-old Brooklyn man was convicted by a New York City jury today on felony and misdemeanor charges of beating his five-month-old dachshund puppy 'Junior' to death.

Second Circuit Rejects Most Of Attorney Advertising Rules

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Second Circuit Rejects Most Of Attorney Advertising Rules

"The speech that Defendants' content-based restrictions seeks to regulate—that which is irrelevant, unverifiable, and non-informational—is not inherently false, deceptive, or misleading. Defendants' own press release described its proposed rules as protecting consumers against 'potentially misleading ads,'" the panel wrote in Alexander v. Cahill, 07-3677-cv, 07-3900- cv.

The Second Circuit decision appears on page 17 of the print edition of today's Law Journal

The ruling primarily affirms the July 2007 decision by Northern District Judge Frederick J. Scullin.

Courtesy of NYLJ--Noeleen G. Walder--Read full NYLJ article/breaking news.

Federal Criminal Law Update for NDNY

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Attention Members of the Northern District Bar - On Thursday, April 29, 2010 the Federal Court Bar Association and the Office of the Federal Public Defender and the New York State Defenders Association will be hosting a CLE program entitled "Federal Criminal Law Update". The program will be held in Syracuse, new York at the Renaissance Syracuse Hotel. The program will run from 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM.

There is no fee for this program; but registration is required. To register for this program and to view the program agenda, please visit the Court website:

How to skip DVD trailers

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Laura Cucullu
Senior features editor,

I don't know about you, but I can't stand DVD trailers any more than I can stand commercials. Somehow, I always manage to find out about the movies I want to see without needing to sit through 10 or 12 different previews while I get to that movie I want to watch. That said, I obviously dislike disc manufacturers that won't let you skip the trailers. Thankfully, Tom Merritt just showed me this handy tip on how to skip all the intro fluff and go straight to the movie. Watch and learn how.****Post No.1000

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Free Audio Books - Download an audio book in mp3 or iPod format today!

Your source for free audio books. Download
one in mp3, iPod and iTunes format today.

Book listings contain links to free full text versions, as well as iPod and MP3 audiobook downloads.

An audio preview of each book is available before you start downloading it. In addition to a very detailed description about the book, links are also provided to the full text of the book and also related Wikipedia articles. Each book listing also contains user reviews and ratings. The website contains free audio books in over a dozen languages that can be downloaded with a single click.

Hat tip to

**** This is the 1000th post on this NYSBA General Practice Blawg

MacAttorney Newsletter

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The MacAttorney Newsletter is a FREE electronic newsletter sent out via e-mail for attorneys, law students, and legal professionals. It keeps them informed about the latest Macintosh news, events, products for law office use, and special promotions for attorneys.

At this writing there are over 8,000 law firms subscribed to The MacAttorney Newsletter!

To subscribe, send e-mail to:
With the word: "Subscribe"
in the SUBJECT line of the message.

NYLJ: Paterson Charged With Ethics Violation Over World Series Tickets

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;Free Breaking News:</font> Paterson Charged With Ethics Violation Over World Series Tickets

The state Commission on Public Integrity said today that there is reasonable cause to believe that the governor had accepted five $425 tickets from the New York Yankees as a gift in violation of Public Officers Law Ё73(5)(a)(b).

Read the commission's Notice of Reasonble Cause.

Ruby for iPhone

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Ruby Receptionists, a live virtual receptionist company today announced the launch of its Ruby for iPhone application on the Apple App Store. Included in the suite of tools is an instant “whereabouts” updater tool to instantly change where receptionists route calls and relay information to the receptionists to keep callers informed on when to expect a return call.

The app, which is free to current clients of Ruby’s virtual receptionist service, also lets customers see all of their calls and messages in one convenient spot, and the message detail screen features one tap to return calls. For more info contact:

Diana Stepleton
Ruby Receptionists
866-611-7829 office

Randy B. Singer-The MacAttorney Newsletter-PDF's on the Mac

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You can do most of what you need to do with respect to PDF's on your
Macintosh for free!

Any application can export your document as a PDF on the Macintosh.
Just choose Print, and then click on the PDF button and choose Save As

FormulatePro (free)
Formulate will open your PDF forms and allow you to quickly and easily
fill in the blanks, without altering the original PDF. Formulate will
even allow you to fill in *locked* PDF forms, and save the filled-in
form as a template, or save the data you've previously used in a
form. Very easy to use.

PDF2RTFService (free)
(scroll to bottom of page)
allows any program that can read RTF documents (including OS X's
included TextEdit) to open a PDF document as an editable RTF document
and save it in RTF format!
(Assuming that the PDF document isn't a graphic image of a text
document. PDF2RTFService does not do OCR.)

You can just use Apple's included Preview program to combine PDF's:

PDFMerge-X (free)
combine, transform and reorder the pages in your pdf documents

PDFLab (free)
lets you split and join PDF documents as well as insert images and
blank pages, encrypt or decrypt a document, add a watermark, or
interleave several documents.

CocoaBooklet (free)
This program lets you create a booklet out of a PDF file for printing,
which is known as pages imposition.

PS2PDF and Friends (free)
This is a collection of drag-and-drop AppleScripts that convert among
different Adobe file types. The stars of the show are the PostScript
to PDF converters, which emulate different settings of Acrobat
Distiller. There are other useful file converters and optimizers as

You'll need to download and install Ghostscript to use these
AppleScripts. The fastest and easiest way to do so is to download ESP
Ghostscript from the Gimp-Print website at:

Randy B. Singer
Attorney at Law

Author of: The Macintosh Software Guide for the Law Office

Webmaster of: The Macintosh Law Office Software List

Publisher of: The MacAttorney Newsletter

Opera 10.50 for Windows

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Opera browser | Faster & safer internet | Free download

Opera 10.50 Web browser
"The fastest browser on Earth"

Surf the Web with lightning speed, using "the fastest browser ever". Check out the elegant, new design, Windows 7 integration, HTML5 video support, better private browsing, and many other improvements in Opera 10.50 for Windows

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