November 2019 Archives

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Hundreds of New York State prisoners were locked in cells, denied release or removed from programs when tests erroneously showed they had used narcotics, according to a lawsuit.

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Scott Warren found not guilty by jury in "No More Deaths" case | Tuscan Sentinel

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Paul Ingram

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Warren, 37, faced two charges of harboring two men following a January 2018 raid on the ramshackle building known as "the Barn" on the outskirts of Ajo, an unincorporated town surrounded by remote deserts about 110 miles west of Tucson. Warren was first tried earlier this year, but the jury in that case could not reach a decision and the judge declared a mistrial. That left the Trump administration free to press the case against Warren a second time.

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After a short break, Kuykendall spent an hour laying out his own closing arguments, telling the jury, "Being a good samaritan is not against the law, following the golden rule is not a felony." 

He argued that the agents and prosecutors "assumed" that Warren was a smuggler, and that they operated on a "blind assumption" about the practice of humanitarian aid. 

"The only way to find Scott guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is to believe the purpose motivating him was to break the law," Kuykendall said. And, he told the jury that Warren was trying to "prevent suffering and death" in the desert. 


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motorola US | unlocked cell phones & moto razr

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2004 just called, your new Razr is ready. For those of you still using flip phones, there is no longer any need to use the "dumb" version.  As of January 1, 2020, Motorola will be selling its reinvented smart Razr flip phone, with an OLED screen, which FOLDS in the center.  

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New law lets adoptees obtain their birth certificates in NY--NY POST

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By Bernadette Hogan

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People who were adopted will soon be able to obtain their birth certificates, under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The legislation allows any adoptee upon turning 18 to apply to their local or state health department to get an original copy of their certified birth certificate. Such a request had previously been denied.

That would allow adopted people to figure out who their biological parents are as well as providing valuable information about their family's medical history.

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The law officially takes effect Jan. 15, 2020, but in the meantime the commissioner of the state health department will be directed to sort out the new rules and regulations for how to comply.

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Read more...


Trump admin preparing to take over private land in Texas for border wall

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By Courtney Kube and Julia Ainsley


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The Trump administration is preparing court filings to begin taking over private land to build its long-promised border wall as early as this week -- without confirming how much it will pay landowners first, according to two officials familiar with the process.

Jared Kushner is hosting a meeting with military and administration officials at the White House this Friday, where they are expected to discuss the U.S. government taking over private land to build moresections of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, said two officials.

The commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, is expected to attend, as are two assistant defense secretaries for homeland defense, Kenneth Rapuano and Robert Salesses.

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"The court reaffirms that the border is not a lawless place and that we don't lose our privacy rights when we travel."



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In a development that the Electronic Frontier Foundation declared "an enormous victory for privacy," a federal judge in Boston ruled Tuesday that suspicionless searches of travelers' phones, laptops, and other electronic devices by government agents at U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional.

"This is a great day for travelers who now can cross the international border without fear that the government will, in the absence of any suspicion, ransack the extraordinarily sensitive information we all carry in our electronic devices," EFF senior staff attorney Sophia Cope said in a statement.

The lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, was filed by EFF, the national ACLU, and ACLU of Massachusetts on behalf of 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who had their devices searched without warrants. The suit named as defendants the Department of Homeland Security and two agencies it oversees--Customs and Border Protection as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Read more...


Sandra Tan


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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Erie County Clerk Michael "Mickey" Kearns, who sought to prevent New York State from granting driver's licenses to immigrants living in the state illegally.

Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford, who heard oral arguments last month over his bid for a preliminary injunction, said Kearns does not have legal standing to challenge the law.

"While plaintiff may strenuously disagree with the Green Light Law, he is not the proper party to challenge its legitimacy because he has failed to establish an injury that is recognized under the law," Wolford wrote in her 32-page decision.

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Read more..including Judge's decision .





NYSBA--Ethics Opinion 1176 | Escrow Account

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Opinion 1176 (10/29/2019) 

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Digest:  A lawyer may make nominal deposits of the lawyer's own funds into a trust or escrow account to avoid the account being closed for inactivity or failure to maintain minimum balance.

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Business Development with Legal Checkups - Blumberg Blog

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Michael Goldblatt



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This article provides tips and resources for conducting checkups for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Legal checkups alert clients to opportunities for avoiding problems with a lawyer's help. Legal specialties well suited to checkups include corporate, estate, employment, family, and real estate practices.

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10 actions that will protect people from facial recognition software

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Darrell M. West

Vice President and Director - Governance Studies

Founding Director - Center for Technology Innovation




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Editor's Note: 

This report from The Brookings Institution's Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology (AIET) Initiative is part of "AI Governance," a series that identifies key governance and norm issues related to AI and proposes policy remedies to address the complex challenges associated with emerging technologies.



Facial recognition (FR) software inspires intense reactions from many people. On the one hand, a number of individuals worry that FR will usher in an Orwellian nightmare of mass surveillance and privacy intrusions. They see FR combined with ubiquitous video cameras, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics as a formula for harming humanity and restricting individual freedom.

Yet at the same time, FR has been used to locate missing people, improve the security of schools and airports, help those who are visually impaired, and counter terrorism. It is the ultimate dual-use technology, with a wide range of beneficial and dangerous uses. The very same tools that horrify individuals also can help people and save lives.

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A mailer sent to voters in Sullivan County has labeled a Democratic candidate for county court judge as wanting to "bring socialism" to the county and supporting the legalization of drugs--both claims, the candidate says, are false and a breach of ethics.

The claims were then repeated in an additional eight-page mailer, designed to look like a newspaper, that appeared to offer an endorsement for the candidate's opponent, the Republican candidate.

Those attacks were directed at Cynthia Dolan, a Democrat running to be the next county court judge in Sullivan County. The position opened up this year when Justice Frank LaBuda reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Dolan's GOP opponent, Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell, has claimed full responsibility for the mailer's content and said in social media postings that it is justified by what he terms as "spurious" and "false" allegations about his record as the county's top prosecutor.

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Rear-facing car seat law begins in New York State | RochesterFirst

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by: 


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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) - Parents now have to put their children under two in rear-facing car seats. This used to be just a recommendation but it's now a requirement in New York State.

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"The child's whole head neck, spine, and back is protected by the shell of the car seat. Any crash forces are going to be put onto the shell of the car seat and not onto the child's body," said Jean Triest from the Monroe County Office of Traffic Safety.

Triest said in order for the car seat to do its job it needs to be installed properly. Unfortunately, New York State has a 92 percent car seat misuse rate, which is higher than the national average.

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Cutting-edge technologies like data analytics software and artificial intelligence are here to stay.


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"Judging by the results of two recent technology surveys, my fellow lawyers are in my corner when it comes to resisting the robot lawyers who've come to steal their jobs. For now most are not on board, although they've seemingly succumbed to the allure of artificial intelligence's lesser cousins, data analytics software."

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