December 2017 Archives


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IR-2017-210, Dec. 27, 2017

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service advised tax professionals and taxpayers today that pre-paying 2018 state and local real property taxes in 2017 may be tax deductible under certain circumstances.
 
The IRS has received a number of questions from the tax community concerning the deductibility of prepaid real property taxes. In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018.  A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.  State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed.
 
The following examples illustrate these points.


Cash Might Be King, but They Don't Care - The New York Times

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The other day at Dig Inn, a just-opened lunch spot on Broadway and 38th Street in Midtown Manhattan, Shania Bryant committed a consumer faux pas. She placed her order for chicken and brown rice and yams, and when she got to the register, she held out a $50 bill.

"Sorry," the cashier told her. "We don't take cash." Not, "We don't take $50s." No cash. Period.


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By Andrew Denney 


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A federal judge has tossed out a suit against President Donald Trump alleging that his vast network of businesses are creating conflicts prohibited by the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution, finding that the plaintiffs lack standing.

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- Dec. 15th 2017 11:18 am PT



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Then Killian, who wears his Apple Watch to bed three to four nights a week for sleep tracking, says his Apple Watch woke him up around 1 am with an alert from a third-party app called HeartWatch saying his resting heart rate was elevated while sleeping (Apple recently introduced a built-in feature that can do this with Apple Watch Series 1 and later). Killian experienced mild indigestion which can be a sign of a heart attack, but says he generally didn't feel sick.

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

A former president of the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia bar associations has sued sheriff's deputies who tackled him at the courthouse last summer, causing him to fracture his shoulder.

Clifford Haines, 72, claims "extraordinary misconduct" by the officers whose actions were "unprovoked, unjustified, and clearly excessive and abusive," report Philly.comand the Legal Intelligencer.

video of the incident shows Haines pointing his finger at an officer, then spreading his arms. The officer appears to slightly push Haines' chest, and Haines moves his arm as if to deflect the officer's hand. At that point four officers shove Haines onto the conveyor belt on the metal scanner, and a fifth officer joins in to push Haines off the machine and onto the ground.


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Cop Stop Coach

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Cop Stop Coach is a social justice site and mobile application that provides awareness, visibility, information, and community involvement to help improve relations between citizens and law enforcement. The app gives citizens who have been detained by the police in any capacity to quickly inform others of their stop, record the situation and review the officer, among other in app options.

Whether it's a routine traffic stop or an on-foot detainment, a person, in an instant has the control to inform their family, record the situation, and/or review their interaction with the police officer.

CSC makes it very easy and fool proof for someone to use. As soon as a person is stopped by a law enforcement officer they can open the app and by the click of one button send a preset text message to their designated list of people informing them where and when they have been stopped. The person can also begin recording their interaction with the cop and directly upload it to the community. Lastly once their situation has subsided the person can then review their entire stop and rate their cop


Watch the Video



An appeals court in New York has affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed Donald Trump defamed a guest television commentator in his tweets during the presidential campaign.

The Appellate Division, First Department, upheld dismissal of the suit filed by public relations consultant Cheryl Jacobus in a short order on Tuesday, report Bloomberg News and the Hollywood ReporterHow Appealing links to the decisionand additional coverage.

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No Waiting for This: Here Come the 'Net Neutrality' Lawsuits | Law.com

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By C. Ryan Barber

Democratic state attorneys general and advocacy groups Thursday said they were gearing up to fight the Federal Communications Commission over its move to scrap the Obama-era net neutrality rules that were adopted to ensure equal access to the web. As protestors outside the FCC pronounced the death of an open internet, the FCC, led by Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, voted on party lines Thursday to repeal so-called net neutrality rules.


By Keith L. Alexander

The D.C. Superior Court judge overseeing the trial of six people charged in Inauguration Day protests that turned violent has dismissed one of the most serious charges of inciting a riot.

After hearing the cases presented by prosecutors and defense attorneys during the past three weeks, Judge Lynn Leibovitz on Wednesday said there was not enough evidence against the four women and two men to prove they urged others to riot and destroy property along 16 downtown Washington blocks.

"None of them engaged in conduct that amounted to urging other persons to destroy property," the judge said.

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By Andrew Denney


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By Colby Hamilton 


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed and remanded a suit dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein of the Eastern District of New York, finding the failure of the plaintiffs' attorney to show for a pretrial hearing wasn't sufficient grounds for the "extreme sanction of dismissal with prejudice," according to the panel.



Editor's Note: The below summary was prepared by the NYS Committee on Open Government,  See: https://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil_listing/findex.html

Motion by plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants (Town) from enforcing an amendment to a Town building zone ordinance granted on the basis that plaintiffs had shown enough of a likelihood of success on the merits in establishing good cause for their claim of violation of the Open Meetings Law. At the outset of a public hearing regarding a controversial amendment to a local building zone ordinance, the proposed amendment was itself amended to delete a "24/7 time requirement" for free compressed air at local gasoline stations and only require the service station provide free compressed air "when the gasoline station is opened for business." Members of the public that wished to speak to the "24/7" issue were reminded that the Town was not seeking a 24/7 time requirement. The Board reserved decision at the end of the public hearing. However, the resolution adopted several months later included the 24/7 requirement. The Court held that "[t]he express amendment to the amendment at the outset of the public hearing, to delete the '24/7 time requirement,' followed by the unexplained reinsertion of that requirement in the resolution approved months later, appears on its face to be an attempt to circumvent the purpose of the Open Meetings Law."

McCabe v. Town of Hempstead, Supreme Court, Nassau County, Index no. 6892/2016 (January 5, 2017)


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State comptroller pushes savings program for disabled--Poughkeepsie Journal

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Amy Wu


Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed NY ABLE into law at the end of 2015. Since its launch in New York, 163 accounts have been opened at an average of two or three a day. Many of those who signed up are 35 and under, although the oldest participants are in their 80s, said Anne Del Plato, who is overseeing the program.

On Tuesday, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was in Poughkeepsie to make a push for the program and spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at The Arc of Dutchess, a nonprofit that offers resources and support to the developmentally disabled. Attendees included parents of children with disabilities, caregivers, agencies and nonprofits that focus on the disabled, and a handful of disabled adults



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The program's requirements include being a state resident and have been diagnosed with a disability before 26.

The program's key features include:

  • It is tax-free when used with qualified expenses such as education, transportation and personal support services.
  • Accounts can for opened by an individual, parent or guardian with $25 or $15 with payroll deduction.
  • Participants can deposit up to $14,000 annually this year, and $15,000 starting in 2018.
  • The program has a cap of $100,000 for the accounts.  

NY ABLE is structured similarly to the state's 529 College Savings Program, which has more than $27 billion invested currently, DiNapoli said. In addition, the program offers several investment options.


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May judges search the internet for facts? ABA ethics opinion sees problems

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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS


Judges can conduct legal research online for cases not cited by the parties, but using the internet to find facts concerning the parties or subject matter poses ethical problems, according to an ABA ethics opinion.

Finding "adjudicative facts" about a case online is generally banned by the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, according to ABA Formal Opinion 478. An exception allows judges to go online for facts that are subject to judicial notice because they are generally known and not subject to reasonable dispute.

Adjudicative facts concern the immediate parties, including who did what, where, when, how, and with what motive or intent, the ethics opinion explains.


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Read more...review examples from opinion


by , Staff Writer  @cs_palmer  cpalmer@phillynews.com


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The City of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $250,000 to two people who claimed that police officers violated their First Amendment rights by blocking them from taking photos of police activity.

The settlements, announced Tuesday, ended years of legal wrangling over civil suits filed on behalf of Amanda Geraci, a local activist, and Richard Fields, formerly a Temple University student. The ACLU of Pennsylvania, which brought the claims for the pair, said it hoped their cases served as a "warning sign" against those who would seek to prevent recordings of cops.

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"Simply put, the First Amendment protects the act of photographing, filming, or otherwise recording police officers conducting their official duties in public," the opinion said, calling such a view "a growing consensus."

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A Teen-Ager in Solitary Confinement | The New Yorker

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In October, 2014, Prisoners' Legal Services of New York reached a settlement with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (doccs) in Cookehorne v. Fischer, which stipulated that minors in restricted confinement should be allowed out of their cells for six hours a day on weekdays--two for recreation time, and four for educational programming--and for two hours a day on weekends. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against county jails in upstate New York: one in Onondaga County, which was settled in June and led to an end of solitary confinement for inmates under eighteen; and a second in Broome County, which was filed in July. In October, New York State's Commission on Correction issued new standards for solitary confinement, which would mandate that local jails provide at least four hours of out-of-cell time for all inmates in isolation, including adults, and that jail officials notify the state when placing someone under the age of eighteen in solitary. Those rules, if approved, would not go into effect until January. So, for now, most county jails continue to determine their own rules for juvenile solitary confinement.

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By Josefa Velasquez and Colby Hamilton


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As arrests at courthouses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers continue, a report released Tuesday by the Fund for Modern Courts suggests New York's courts should limit their cooperation and assistance with civil immigration law enforcement.

So far this year ICE agents have arrested 52 people while they were in court in New York state, the majority in New York City, Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, told the New York Law Journal Tuesday. This is the first year the state's court system has tracked ICE activities and arrests in courthouses. Expanded immigration enforcement actions under the Trump administration have resulted in increased arrests at courthouses nationally since the beginning of 2017, the report states.

The 24-page report issued by the justice system reform organization examined the impact of ICE arrests on New Yorkers' access to state courthouses. It suggested actions that Chief Judge Janet DiFiore should take to mitigate the "negative impact on individuals and the courts resulting from ICE's actions in courthouses."

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Abelove charged with felony perjury, official misconduct - Times Union

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By Brendan J. Lyons

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Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel E. Abelove was charged with felony perjury and two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct on Friday following a grand jury investigation into his controversial handling of the fatal police shooting of a DWI suspect.

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The indictment unsealed Friday charges Abelove with withholding evidence from the grand jury that investigated the fatal shooting. The Times Union reported last year that Abelove did not subpoena two civilian witnesses who were at the scene of the shooting and told investigators they did not believe the officer was in imminent danger when he opened fire on the motorist.

The second misconduct count accuses Abelove of unlawfully allowing the officer who fired the fatal shots to testify with immunity from prosecution when he appeared before the grand jury that cleared him. The perjury charge alleges that Abelove lied in front a special grand jury investigating his conduct when he testified that another Troy police officer was given immunity when that officer testified in front of a grand jury in an unrelated fatal police shooting.

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Read the Michael Flynn Plea Agreement, Statement of Offense | Law.com

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New Bankruptcy Form, Rules Take Effect | United States Courts

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Individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 must use a new form that presents their payment plan in a more uniform and transparent manner, and creditors will have less time to submit a proof of claim, under new bankruptcy rules and form amendments that took effect Dec. 1.

Read more.



 by Sarah Gonzalez

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Over the summer on Long Island, immigration agents started picking up teens, known as "unaccompanied minors," and accusing them of being members of the international gang, MS-13. Local police made many of the allegations based on the clothes they wore and who they spoke to in and out of school.

"It's almost as though the police are saying we know [a gang member] when we see it, trust us. And the whole point is that's not enough," said William Freeman, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California who represented three teens in a class-action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, the Office of Refuge Resettlement and others.

The ACLU said at least 32 teens, mostly from Long Island, have been held in immigration detention over allegations that they are gang members. 

According to court hearings attended by WNYC, immigration judges were saying over and over again that they were not convinced many of the teens were gang members. But they didn't have the jurisdiction to release them from detention. Now, under a federal ruling, they do.

A federal judge in Northern California granted immigration judges temporary authority to release unaccompanied minors from detention if they are convinced they do not pose a danger. 

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The Department of Justice declined to comment on the judge's decision. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Suffolk County Police Commissioner, who has been collaborating with immigration agents to combat the presence of MS-13 on Long Island, did not respond to requests for comment. But police commissioner Timothy Sini told News 12 he stands by "every single detention" his department collaborated on, and said he makes no apologies for his strategy.

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The iPhone Upgrade Program: A Year in Review - TidBITS

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by Josh Centers Send Email to Author 

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Now, to take some of the mystique out of all of this: the iPhone Upgrade Program is actually an interest-free loan administered by Citizens One. Every year, when you order a new iPhone through the program, Citizens One checks your credit (a "hard pull," which can negatively affect your credit score) and issues you a new loan if you're approved.

Despite being administered by a third party, the iPhone Upgrade Program has some uniquely Apple pros and cons.

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Read more, including reviews abd comments on Apple iPhone Upgrade...

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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