August 2012 Archives



This is something that's been a long time coming, and it's finally here. GIMP is an excellent Photoshop-esque open source photo editor. While it's been available on Mac for a long time, it has required the X11 Window environment, which itself needs a separate (and somewhat messy) installation. For a long time, the programmers working on GIMP have been promising to eventually take it native, but it hasn't happened until just recently. As of version 2.8.2, you can now simply go grab the GIMP .dmg file from the main website, and then install and run on your Mac as needed.



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September 12, 2012 Lunch and CLE Program - Stern v. Marshall

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United States Supreme Court Stern v. Marshall decision and its effect on bankruptcy courts' exercise of judicial power--"narrow" question of limited scope or more far reaching implications?

Presented by:

Hon. Margaret Cangilos-Ruiz


Co-Sponsored by the Central New York Bankruptcy Bar Association and Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association



LUNCH AND CLE PROGRAM

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WHEN: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

LUNCH 12:30P.M.TO1:00P.M. CLE 1:00 P.M. TO 2:00 P.M.


COST: $25.00 (includes lunch, gratuity and written materials)


WHERE: P.J.'S PUB AND GRILL 116 WALTON STREET SYRACUSE,NY13202

PHONE: 315-478-3203


CLE CREDIT: 1 HOUR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

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MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO "CENTRAL NEW YORK BANKRUPTCY BAR ASSOCIATION, INC." AND MAIL RESERVATION FORM (EXTENDED) AND CHECK TO:
CENTRAL NEW YORK BANKRUPTCY BAR ASSOCIATION, INC.
C/O MACKENZIE HUGHES LLP
A
TTN: NEIL J. SMITH, ESQ.
PO BOX 4967, SYRACUSE, NY 13221-4967


****





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Conduct Commission Questions If Judicial Plates Violate Code-NYLJ

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Judges whose license plates identify the office they hold may, in effect, be trading on their positions to avoid the consequences of being stopped for traffic infractions, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct has suggested.

Prompted by a recent disciplinary decision, the commission is seeking input for a public report to address the issue of whether the special vehicle plates violate the code of judicial conduct. It sent letters earlier this month to more than 200 judicial and legal organizations seeking input.

The commission initially disclosed in Matter of Schilling that it planned to conduct the study. In that case, the commission recommended the removal of former town justice Diane Schilling of East Greenbush, Rensselaer County, for arranging to fix one traffic ticket issued to herself and another to the wife of a fellow justice (NYLJ, May 11).

***

In his letter seeking input, commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian said the agency's staff is studying how many judicial plates are issued in New York, who holds them and if the plates carry any special privileges for the bearers. The staff is also researching the policies of other states on issuing plates identifying a vehicle as being owned by a judge.


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StayExempt.org

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The IRS office of Exempt Organizations (EO) is pleased to present "Stay Exempt"--a series of dynamic and comprehensive tax courses that can help your tax-exempt organization maintain its exempt status and meet its filing requirements.

As part of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) operating division of the Internal Revenue Service, EO strives to support the IRS mission of ensuring that all customers understand and meet their tax responsibilities.  It does this by offering specialized assistance to the full range of organizations exempt from Federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code.  EO's programs and services help these organizations understand and comply with tax laws and regulations governing their tax-exempt status. 

The Director of EO plans, manages, directs, and executes nationwide activities for EO.  The Director reports to the TE/GE Division Commissioner. The Director also supervises and is responsible for EO's offices of Customer Education & Outreach, Rulings & Agreements, and Examinations.

The EO Customer Education & Outreach office coordinates, assists, and supports the development of internal and external communications, forms and publications, and external education and outreach efforts, including this website.

The EO Rulings and Agreements office processes applications for tax exemption and provides direction through private letter rulings and technical guidance.

The EO Examinations office promotes compliance by analyzing operational and financial activities of exempt organizations.  These activities include developing processes to identify areas of noncompliance, developing corrective strategies, and assisting other EO functions in implementing these strategies.

To find out more about EO, or for more information about exempt organization tax compliance issues, visit the EO pages external link at the IRS website. external link  For account-specific questions, call TE/GE's Customer Account Services, toll-free, at 877-829-5500.


Here's an example of the materials available:


playPresentation 1: Navigating IRS Resources for Tax-Exempt Organizations
Published: June 30, 2011
Ever wonder what the IRS Web site contains for exempt organizations? This mini-course will show you what's available and how to find it.
Download Printable PDF Presentation | Download Playable PDF Presentation



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USCIS - I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification

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English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immi...

English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (English) Español: El logotipo del Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los Estados Unidos (Inglés) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification

Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on the forms section of http://www.uscis.gov. This form should continue to be used even after the OMB control number expiration date of August 31, 2012 has passed. USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of the Form I-9 as it becomes available.

Employers must complete Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States.

Subscribe to I-9 Central to receive Form I-9 updates. This page can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/i-9



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A Judicial Conference Committee has updated the model set of jury instructions (pdf) federal judges use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases on which they serve. The new guidelines provide detailed explanations of the consequences of social media use during a trial, along with recommendations for repeated reminders of the ban on social media usage.

The update comes in response to a national survey of federal trial judges by the Federal Judicial Center at the request of the Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM).

"The overwhelming majority of judges take steps to warn jurors not to use social media during trial, but the judges surveyed said additional steps should be taken," said Judge Julie A. Robinson, CACM Committee chair. "The judges recommended that jurors frequently be reminded about the prohibition on social media before the trial, at the close of a case, at the end of each day before jurors return home, and other times, as appropriate. Jurors should be told why refraining from use of social media promotes a fair trial. Finally, jurors should know the consequences of violations during trial, such as mistrial and wasted time. Those recommendations are now part of the guidelines."

Read the full story
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HelloSign

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 Scan or Import Documents to Sign for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store

Need to sign a document when you are on the go? The HelloSign app saves you from the laborious process of printing, signing and scanning.. All you need to do is:

1) Import any PDF from your email or take a picture of the document you need to have signed.
2) Create a realistic signature with your finger. Looks just like an ink signature.
3) Via email, send the signed document to the desired recipient(s).

Use HelloSign to sign and complete important and timely documents such as consulting agreements, NDA's, sales real estate contracts, financing agreements and more...

Key Features:
• Fingertip document signing 
• Edit any PDF or photo to add text, checkmark or signature
• Upload a document with camera
• Sign unlimited documents
• Open PDF files directly from your inbox
• Signed document are imported back into your email to make sending easy
• Always free and easy to use

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App of the Week: The Bluebook Goes Mobile (Legal Productivity)

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Read entire article by Tim Baran here.

Used by lawyers, judges, paralegals, law students and others in the legal profession,The Bluebook, A Uniform System of Citation, is the authoritative style guide for legal citation in the United States.

The frequently referenced, ever expanding (over 500 pages!) spiral bound 8.3 x 5.7 book in signature blue is now available on all Apple iOS devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch via the Rulebook App. as an in-app purchase for $39.99.


For one day only, August 22, 2012, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence may be downloaded at no charge on the rulebook app . All you need to do is download the free app and then download the federal rules, which will be priced "free" on that day.
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MacMost Now 748: Mac Mail VIPs

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Mountain Lion adds the ability to recognize senders of email as VIPs. Once you indicate that someone is a VIP, their email will also appear in a special inbox just for them. You can view all VIP email at once, or just one VIP, or your regular inbox as before. You can also customize Mail so it only notifies you when you get a new email from a VIP, not just everyone.

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USCIS - Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

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Filing Process

How do I request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
To request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS, you must submitForm I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to USCIS. This form must be completed, properly signed and accompanied by a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and a Form I-765WS, Worksheet, establishing your economic need for employment. If you fail to submit a completed Form I-765 (along with the accompanying filing fees for that form, totaling $465), USCIS will not consider your request for deferred action. Please read the form instructions to ensure that you submit all the required documentation to support your request. 
 
You must file your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals at the USCIS Lockbox. You can find the mailing address and instructions on www.uscis.gov/i-821d. After your Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765 Worksheet have been received, USCIS will review them for completeness, including submission of the required fee, initial evidence and supporting documents. If it is determined that the request is complete, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. USCIS will then send you an appointment notice to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services. Please make sure you read and follow the directions in the notice. Failure to attend your biometrics appointment may delay processing of your request for consideration of deferred action, or may result in a denial of your request. You may also choose to receive an email and/or text message notifying you that your form has been accepted by completing a Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.

Each request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals will be reviewed on an individual, case-by-case basis. USCIS may request more information or evidence from you, or request that you appear at a USCIS office. USCIS will notify you of its determination in writing.

Note: All individuals who believe they meet the guidelines, including those in removal proceedings, with a final removal order, or with a voluntary departure order (and not in immigration detention), may affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS through this process. Individuals who are currently in immigration detention and believe they meet the guidelines may not request consideration of deferred action from USCIS but may identify themselves to their detention officer or to the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office's hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday) or by email atEROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Will USCIS conduct a background check when reviewing my request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals?
Yes. You must undergo biographic and biometric background checks before USCIS will consider whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion under the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process. If you have been convicted of any felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, three or more misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety, you will not be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances.

What do background checks involve?
Background checks involve checking biographic and biometric information provided by the individuals against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies.

If USCIS does not exercise deferred action in my case, will I be placed in removal proceedings?
If you have submitted a request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals and USCIS decides not to defer action in your case, USCIS will apply its policy guidance governing the referral of cases to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA). If your case does not involve a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety, your case will not be referred to ICE for purposes of removal proceedings except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. For more detailed information on the applicable NTA policy visit www.uscis.gov/NTA. If after a review of the totality of circumstances USCIS determines to defer action in your case, USCIS will likewise exercise its discretion and will not issue you a Notice to Appear.

Can I obtain a fee waiver or fee exemption for this process?
There are no fee waivers available for employment authorization applications connected to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process. There are very limited fee exemptions available. Requests for fee exemptions must be filed and favorably adjudicated before an individual files his/her request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals without a fee. In order to be considered for a fee exemption, you must submit a letter and supporting documentation to USCIS demonstrating that you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are under 18 years of age, homeless, in foster care or under 18 years of age and otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support, and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.
  • You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious, chronic disability and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.
  • You have, at the time of the request, accumulated $25,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member, and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.

Additional information on how to make your request for a fee exemption is available onwww.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals. Your request must be submitted and decided before you submit a request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals without a fee. In order to be considered for a fee exemption, you must provide documentary evidence to demonstrate that you meet any of the above conditions at the time that you make the request. For evidence, USCIS will:

  • Accept affidavits from community-based or religious organizations to establish a requestor's homelessness or lack of parental or other familial financial support.
  • Accept copies of tax returns, banks statement, pay stubs, or other reliable evidence of income level. Evidence can also include an affidavit from the applicant or a responsible third party attesting that the applicant does not file tax returns, has no bank accounts, and/or has no income to prove income level.
  • Accept copies of medical records, insurance records, bank statements, or other reliable evidence of unreimbursed medical expenses of at least $25,000.
  • Address factual questions through requests for evidence (RFEs).

Will there be supervisory review of decisions by USCIS under this process?
Yes. USCIS will implement a supervisory review process in all four Service Centers to ensure a consistent process for considering requests for deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS will require officers to elevate for supervisory review those cases that involve certain factors.

Can I appeal USCIS's determination?
No. You cannot file a motion to reopen or reconsider, and cannot appeal the decision if USCIS denies your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS will not review its discretionary determinations. You may request a review using the Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) process if you met all of the process guidelines and you believe that your request was denied due to one of the following errors:

  • USCIS denied the request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals based on abandonment and you claim that you did respond to a Request for Evidence within the prescribed time; or
  • USCIS mailed the Request for Evidence to the wrong address, even though you had submitted a Form AR-11, Change of Address, or changed your address online atwww.uscis.gov before the issuance of the Request for Evidence.

Can I extend the period of deferred action in my case?
Yes. Unless terminated, individuals whose case is deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a period of two years. You may request consideration for an extension of that period of deferred action. As long as you were not above the age of 30 on June 15, 2012, you may request a renewal after turning 31. Your request for an extension will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If my period of deferred action is extended, will I need to re-apply for an extension of my employment authorization?
Yes. If USCIS decides to defer action for additional periods beyond the initial two years, you must also have requested an extension of your employment authorization.

Will USCIS personnel responsible for reviewing requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this process receive special training?
Yes. USCIS personnel responsible for considering requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals will receive special training.



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This is Part Two in a two-part series of columns on two New York State appeals court panel decisions and the law relating to stop and frisk.  Part One appeared on August 8 here on Justia's Verdict. -Ed.

Prof. Colb:  

Shawn Hempel/Shutterstock.com

In the first column of this two-part series, I examined a controversy surrounding two New York state appellate court decisions that ruled evidence inadmissible because it resulted from what a majority of the judges regarded as an unlawful stop and frisk.  I suggested in that column that differences between New York law and federal law governing police-civilian street encounters help explain the negative public sentiment that followed the two decisions.  In this second column of the series, I will explain how I think those differences have contributed to the controversy.


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Nursing Home Inspect Report-ProPublica

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Use this tool to search more than 20,000 nursing home inspection reports, most completed since January 2011, and encompassing nearly 118,000 deficiencies. 


|Related Story: Search Nursing Home Inspection Reports With ProPublica's New Interactive Tool.




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The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation-IRS

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English: Mortgage debt

English: Mortgage debt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.

This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion does not apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home's value or the taxpayer's financial condition.

More information, including detailed examples can be found in Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments. Also see IRS news release IR-2008-17.


Click here for the most commonly asked questions and answers about The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and debt cancellation.




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Problems Riddle Moves to Collect Credit Card Debt - NYTimes.com

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"I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can't prove the person owes the debt," said Noach Dear, a civil court judge in Brooklyn, who said he presided over as many as 100 such cases a day.

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The Complete Guide to Solid-State Drives-Lifehacker

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Adding a solid-state drive (SSD) to your computer is simply the best upgrade at your disposal, capable of speeding up your computer in ways you hadn't thought possible. The even better news: A good SSD is now cheaper than ever. But as with any new technology, there's plenty to learn. Here's everything you should know about your SSD, whether you're interested in upgrading or just like to know the ins and outs of your hardware.

OCZ Solid State Drive

OCZ Solid State Drive (Photo credit: UWW ResNet)


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Palenville's pagans lose religious tax exemption case

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Read entire article by Prof. Colb here.

This is Part One in a two-part series of columns on two New York State appeals court panel decisions and the law relating to stop and frisk.  Part Two will appear on August 15 here on Justia's Verdict. -Ed.


At the end of June and the beginning of July, respectively, two panels of a New York State appeals court (the Appellate Division, First Department) each ruled that police had violated a suspect's state constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, and that as a result, the trial judges should have suppressed the weapons found on the suspects--that is, the judges should have excluded the weapons from evidence that could be introduced against the defendants at a criminal trial.

***

In one sense, the distinctive aspects of New York law have little bearing on the suppressions at issue in the two New York cases, In re Darryl C. and In the Matter of Jaquan M.  In both of those cases, the majorities of the appellate court panels did not dispute that police were justified in taking the first two steps discussed in De Bour: (1) approaching to request information, and (2) posing the more pointed questions that would plainly be aimed only at a suspect.  Both courts found, however, that the police lacked "reasonable suspicion" to believe that the suspects were committing, had committed, or were about to commit a crime, and that the police also lacked reasonable suspicion to believe that the suspects posed a danger or were armed.  On their face, then, it would seem that these two decisions represent fact-specific applications of a standard that is, for the most part, the same under federal and New York State constitutional law.


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Business Stationery and Legal Stationery Printing and Design-FB Discount

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Nine tips for taming text in Pages | Macworld

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Nine tips for taming text in Pages

Discover powerful word processing features in Apple's iWork app

Far more than Apple's "version of Word," Pages () is full of powerful, time-saving features that help you make great word processing documents quickly. Three of the best are styles, templates, and tables. Gain some familiarity with these features and you'll make better documents in less time than ever before. Here are nine tips to get you started.


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Meet Projectbook, An All-Inclusive Notebook App For iPad -- AppAdvice

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Theory.io has announced the arrival of their first app, Projectbook. The iPad application, which launches at a special introductory price of $1.99, offers users an all-in-one solution to become better organized.

Projectbook is capable of holding notes, to-do lists, Word documents, PDFs, Web clips, sketches, and photos. In doing so, users can manage to-dos and projects, and automatically link related information so notes and documents can be found even without tags, folders, keywords, or an Internet connection.

Read Bryan M. Wolfe's complete review here.



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Why Apple TV Just Became Apple's Most Important Product-Gizmodo

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Why would Apple suddenly agree to put Amazon Instant Video and Sky Now on the iPad and Hulu Plus on Apple TV? Because Apple TV is getting serious, and Apple's laying the groundwork for it to finally have apps.



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2012 is the previous archive.

September 2012 is the next archive.

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