May 2022 Archives



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A New York federal judge Wednesday upheld a New York law that allows victims of gun violence to sue the gun industry.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and gun manufacturers, like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. brought the case because they claimed the state law violated the US Constitution. They also argue that the law preempts the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held liable in gun violence crimes committed with their products. 

In the decision written by US District Judge Mae D'Agostino, the court held that the New York law did not preempt D'Agostino also dismissed the claims that the New York law violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause because it regulated interstate commerce and discriminated against in-state competitors, as well as regulating commerce outside of the state.

The ruling was released in the wake of this week's Texas shooting.


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How Scammers Use Emotions to Persuade | Squared Away Blog

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Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

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In the Social Security imposter scam, someone claiming to be from the agency tells the intended victim that he has been accused of a crime and that his bank account will be frozen. To prevent arrest and preserve the money, the individual is instructed to withdraw the funds and buy gift cards or exchange the cash for virtual currency such as Bitcoin. A government official, the caller claims, will return the funds tomorrow.

More than 300,000 people lost millions of dollars in this scam between 2018 and 2021. At a broader level, imposters purporting to be from various government agencies were the most common fraud reported in 2019 to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which tracks and investigates cases of consumer fraud.

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On Monday, the Supreme Court released an opinion that will cause profound suffering and perhaps even death as people are denied their constitutional rights. No, the court did not release the final version of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case in which a leaked draft revealed that the court is poised to overrule Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which recognize the right to end a pregnancy through an abortion. Instead, the decision today is a little-known habeas decision, Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, involving two men in Arizona who have been condemned to death row. The consequences of Martinez Ramirez will also be disastrous for anyone relying on their constitutional right to effective counsel. And, like the Dobbs leak, today's decision also makes clear that the court's conservative supermajority is hellbent on smashing and grabbing precedent and constitutional rights no matter the consequences.

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Martinez Ramirez held that there is nothing a federal court can do when a defendant received ineffective assistance at their trial in violation of the Sixth Amendment and was then appointed an ineffective attorney during post-conviction proceedings who did not present evidence to support the claim that the defendant received ineffective assistance at trial. Specifically, the court held that the federal statute governing post-conviction review, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, prohibits the federal court from considering evidence that the ineffective post-conviction lawyer failed to uncover. As it did in the case of Jones, this evidence may indicate that the defendant is innocent of the crime for which he was sentenced to death.

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Sarah TaddeoChris McKennaDavid McKay Wilson

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New York's final congressional and Senate redistricting maps were released in Saturday's early hours, bringing the controversial process to a close and throwing the Democrats' bid for widespread congressional wins into uncertainty. 

The process in New York and other states has been under a microscope as Democrats seek to maintain their razor-thin margin in the U.S. House in a year when Republicans are expected to win big across the country. 

New York's Court of Appeals struck down New York's Legislature-drawn maps last month, saying they amounted to a partisan gerrymander in favor of Democrats, and that lawmakers didn't follow a predetermined independent redistricting process that voters greenlit in 2014.


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  • Define an Offer in Compromise
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Registration: To register for the event, visit the Internal Revenue Service Webinar Registration  website. Questions? Email us at: cl.sl.web.conference.team@irs.gov.
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All participants who qualify will receive a Certificate of Completion. Tax Professionals - earn up to 1 CE Credit. Category: Federal Tax.

Closed captioning will be offered.

Date: May 26, 2022
Time: 2:00 p.m. (ET); 1:00 p.m. (CT); 12:00 p.m. (MT); 11:00 a.m. (Arizona and Pacific), 8:00 a.m. (Hawaii)

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Legal advocates sue US over Iranian-born scholar's treatment | AP News

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By MARK PRATT

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BOSTON (AP) -- A Canadian diabetes researcher scheduled to start a two-year fellowship at Harvard Medical School was wrongfully denied entry to the U.S. and discriminated against based on her Iranian heritage, according to legal filings.

Harvard Law School's Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against the federal government as well as a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security's civil rights office on behalf of the researcher, identified in court papers as Maryam Shamloo.

The civil rights complaint alleges that Customs and Border Protection officers denied Shamloo and her husband entry to the U.S. based on their Iranian birth and violated procedures by demanding DNA samples. They and their two children are Canadian citizens.

The lawsuit asks the federal government to issue Shamloo a visa as soon as possible so she can begin the fellowship by June 6, more than a year after it was supposed to start.


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CRYPTOCURRENCIES HAVE LONG been seen as the Wild West of money transfers, but few online payment and money transfer platforms have been as blatant in appealing for illicit cash as one highlighted but not named in a memorandum opinion unsealed on May 13 in the US District Court in Washington, DC. The platform is apparently based in a "comprehensively sanctioned country"--likely North Korea, according to those within the crypto law space--and advertised its services as evading US financial sanctions. It was built using a US front company that facilitated the purchase of domain names, according to court records.

The platform, which was designed to sidestep financial bans aimed at crippling pariah countries, handled more than $10 million worth of bitcoin that was transferred between the United States and the sanctioned country using a US-based crypto exchange, which, the opinion implies, was not aware that it was helping users avoid sanctions.

The opinion, written by Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui, was likely unsealed because someone has been arrested for operating the crypto platform. It all marks a shift in the way US law enforcement--and the law--handles cryptocurrencies.


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Proposed New York maps create House battleground | The Hill

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BY REID WILSON 

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A special master tasked with redrawing New York's congressional district lines released a proposed draft Monday that would make the Empire State an epicenter for the national fight to control the U.S. House of Representatives. The proposal, offered by Carnegie Mellon political scientist Jonathan Cervas, would create 15 districts that favor Democratic candidates and five that favor Republicans, according to data posted on the nonpartisan Dave's Redistricting App.

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Cervas's proposal is not yet final, and New Yorkers have until Wednesday to offer comment on his draft. The special master faces a Friday deadline to turn in his work; New York's congressional primaries are scheduled for Aug. 23.

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Alito Calls Decision Expanding LGBTQ Rights 'Indefensible'--TPM

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Justice Samuel Alito is evidentially toting around an old grudge. 

At a Thursday night event at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, he had harsh words for the two conservative justices who joined the majority in Bostock v. Clayton County

The 2020 opinion said that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination, extends to gay and transgender workers. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, in which he was joined by the liberals and Chief Justice John Roberts. 

Speaking via a video feed Thursday, Alito called Gorsuch a "colleague and friend," but said that grounding the decision in the text of the 1964 law was "in my view indefensible," according to the Washington Post.

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Plunge in crypto values boosts calls for regulations | The Hill

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BY SYLVAN LANE

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A plunge in cryptocurrency values and the collapse of popular tokens are stoking panic among some investors and boosting pressure on Washington to act. 

Rising interest rates and recession risks have caused sharp sell-offs across financial markets, including the stock market. Many crypto investors have seen their holdings evaporate -- along with major players in the burgeoning digital asset space.

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Cryptocurrencies and the platforms used to exchange and hold them often straddle the gaps between different rules and regulators at both the federal and state levels. Lawmakers in both parties generally agree on the need for adjusting current financial regulations to better fit the unique ways crypto blurs traditional lines between securities, commodities and currencies.

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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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A Houston family court judge has been publicly reprimanded for ordering two lawyers to be escorted to the jury box by a bailiff who shackled them to a chair while court proceedings continued.

Texas' State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Judge Barbara Stalder of the 280th Family Protective Order Court in Texas in an April 20 document.


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Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont Tuesday attended a ceremonial signing of House Bill 5414, the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (RFDA). RFDA, which Lamont officially signed into law on May 5, provides significant protections to individuals providing or seeking abortions in Connecticut from restrictive abortion laws in other states.

The bill includes the following protections: 

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Alabama's law is the first in the country to actually take effect. The Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act makes it a felony to provide puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries for the purpose of helping transgender minors, people under 19, transition to the gender they identify with. Violators of the law would face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

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Repro Legal Helpline

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The Repro Legal Helpline is a free, confidential helpline where you can get legal information or advice about self-managed abortion, young people's access to abortion or judicial bypass, and referrals to local resources.

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If you have been arrested, questioned by the police, or charged with a crime for your abortion, we may also be able to help you by finding you a lawyer in your state, or working with your lawyer to help with your defense.

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How to Protect Your Digital Privacy if 'Roe v. Wade' Falls | WIRED

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A critical component of Roe v. Wade is its determination that the "right of privacy ... is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether to terminate her pregnancy." But comprehensive digital privacy is challenging to achieve in an age of widespread user-tracking, location-tracking, and corporate data retention. 

Organizations like Digital Defense Fund and Electronic Frontier Foundation offer detailed guides for steps you can take to protect your digital privacy while researching and seeking an abortion or related services. When it comes to a potential dismantling of Roe, though, it remains to be seen how far criminalization will extend in different states and what exactly the landscape will look like. In the meantime, researchers and reproductive health experts note that incorporating a few basic privacy strategies could go a long way later.


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By  and 

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Many of the country's major retailers -- Target, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's and Publix supermarkets -- now employ former police officers and sheriff's deputies who go to such lengths as secretly tailing people whom they believe are part of a shoplifting enterprise, according to a NBC News review of more than 50 organized retail theft prosecutions over the last 10 years. 

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Josephine Wenson | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US

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A press conference was held Wednesday to announce a constitutional challenge against the redistricting of the New York State Assembly's electoral districts. Gary Greenberg and his legal counsel, Jim Walden of Walden Macht & Haran, filed a lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative officials alleging that State Assembly maps were gerrymandered "to protect Democratic incumbents."

On April 27 the New York Court of Appeals held that the Congressional and Senate maps adopted by the New York Legislature were procedurally unconstitutional. However, according to a memorandum filed with the Court by Greenberg, the Legislature used the same unconstitutional procedure to adopt the current State Assembly map, rendering it equally invalid. Nonetheless, the Court of Appeals was compelled to refrain from granting relief as to the Assembly map because the current petitioners did not seek such relief in their petition. Therefore, Greenberg is making such a challenge in his motion.


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BY CHRIS MILLS RODRIGO 

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Concerns that data gathered from peoples' interactions with their digital devices could potentially be used to identify individuals seeking or performing abortions have come into the spotlight with the news that pregnancy termination services could soon be severely restricted or banned in much of the United States.

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This is not a theoretical threat -- prosecutors have already used phone data to establish intent to terminate a pregnancy.

In a 2017 case in Mississippi, Latice Fisher was charged with second degree murder after showing up to a hospital after having lost her pregnancy. An investigation was launched based on suspicions tied to her failing to return for an ultrasound after admitting to being pregnant during a check up. Prosecutors used searches for the medical abortion pill misoprostol on her phone, which she turned over voluntarily, as evidence in their argument that she had "intentionally" terminated her pregnancy.

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Millions of dollars worth of John Deere agricultural machinery stolen from a dealership in Ukraine by Russian Federation forces has been traced to the Chechen Republic and bricked, it is reported.

In this instance, the Moline, Illinois-based Deere & Co.'s penchant for proprietary digital access controls may have worked out well from a public-relations standpoint, if the account is true. The looted tractors and combine harvesters have been remotely disabled, according to an unidentified Ukrainian interviewed by CNN, leaving those responsible looking for ways to bypass the machinery's digital locks.


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By JOSH GERSTEIN and ALEXANDER WARD

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The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wadedecision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

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Greg Abbott Is Considering Declaring Texas Under 'Invasion'--VICE

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By Greg Walters

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is openly musing about declaring Texas under "invasion" in what would be a radical, legally dubious attempt to address the state's migrant crisis.  

The plan would involve invoking war powers and allowing state police to begin rounding up migrants and asylum-seekers and then dispatching them over the border into Mexico--at a moment when federal authorities are bracing for the number of migrant crossings to potentially triple this summer. 

Constitutional experts say this loopy "invasion" scheme has little chance of surviving the legal challenge that would, in all likelihood, be launched instantaneously by President Joe Biden's Department of Justice.  

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by Conor Wight

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Carrier previously held the naming rights for 42 years - paying $2.5 million in an agreement with the university in 1979, one of the first of its kind.

Syracuse University has spent years trying to renegotiate the "in perpetuity" part of the deal, which in legal terms means "forever." While the naming deal was unique at the time, they are commonplace now, and can cost tens of millions of dollars.

SU and Carrier now have a settlement over the naming rights, and the Carrier name will be dropped and replaced with JMA Wireless, according to reporting from Eben Nov-Williams at Sportico, which has not been confirmed by SU.

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