Recently in Cases to Watch Category

By Dan M. Clark 

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A town justice in Wayne County, New York, has resigned after he was accused of making public statements criticizing the state's criminal justice system and implying that he ignored the presumption of innocence for defendants that appeared before him.

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"To start with, the whole system, quite frankly, sucks," Stone said, according to the commission.

He went as far in his statements as to show a lack of faith in those brought up on criminal charges, saying at one point that he thought they should "swing," according to the complaint against him from the commission.

"Most of these individuals, if I had my way, you'd see them probably swinging outside the door, OK?" Stone said. "That's the way I was brought up."

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Tesla Sentry Mode leads to another arrest, says police - Electrek

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Building on its previously released dashcam feature, Tesla enabled the use of more cameras around the vehicle and activated a "stand-by" parking mode.

The feature became Sentry Mode, which also includes an alarm and notification system to deter thieves even more -- efficiently creating a system to watch over Tesla vehicles when their owners are not around.

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Last month, a woman was reportedly arrested for keying a Tesla after the incident was captured with Sentry mode.

Tesla Sentry mode caught another act of vandalism on a Tesla and the video become extremely popular -- forcing the two vandals to turn themselves in.

We also recently reported on Tesla Sentry Mode capturing crazier and crazier things.

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Kentucky Noah's Ark attraction sues over flood damage--AP

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) -- In the Bible, the ark survived an epic flood. Yet the owners of Kentucky's Noah's ark attraction are demanding their insurance company rescue them from flooding that caused nearly $1 million in property damages.

The Ark Encounter says in a federal lawsuit that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road. The Courier Journal reports the attraction's insurance carriers refused to cover damages.

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Court rules NY farm workers have right to organize - Times Union

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By Mallory Moench and Diego Mendoza-Moyers

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ALBANY -- Farm workers in New York have the right to organize and collectively bargain, according to a state appeals court's Thursday ruling that said an exclusion for farm workers in state labor law is unconstitutional.

The opinion from the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court sided with the legal argument of labor advocates who say farm workers in New York have those rights.

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Read full text of opinion...https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/search/wicket/page?3-IResourceListener-pnlResultContainer-pnlResult-2-lnkDocument




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A federal judge has refused to block a subpoena from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for eight years of financial records from the accounting firm for President Donald Trump.

Trump filed a lawsuit against Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House committee, last month.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of Washington, D.C., said Congress had sufficient justification to seek the records from Mazars USA, report the New York TimesPolitico, the Wall Street Journal, the Hill, the Washington Post and the National Law Journal. The decision, filed Monday, is here.


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May 8, 2019, New York - Today, attorneys asked a New York State Supreme Court judge to allow a new student petitioner, sophomore Veer Shetty, to join a lawsuit against Fordham University over the school's refusal to allow a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club on campus. Fordham opposed Veer joining the lawsuit and has barred students from forming an SJP since the club was approved by the student government in 2016. The original four petitioners who brought the lawsuit in April 2017 have graduated or will graduate in ten days. Judge Nancy Bannon indicated that parties should expect a decision next week.

"I'm still at Fordham, I still want to form an SJP, and I will continue this lawsuit until I am able to organize freely for Palestinian human rights at my school," said Veer Shetty, Fordham class of 2021, who was seeking to be added to the case today.

The lawsuit argues that Fordham's veto of the student government's approval of SJP was arbitrary and capricious, violating the school's own policies guaranteeing free expression. In November 2017--after two of the original four petitioners had graduated--attorneys asked the court for a prompt order directing Fordham to recognize the SJP club. The court has not yet ruled on that request.

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Court rules immigrants can be deported for marijuana crime-AP

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 A federal appeals court has ruled that California's legalization of marijuana doesn't protect immigrants from deportation if they were convicted of pot crimes before voters approved the new law in 2016.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied on Friday the appeal of a woman who was convicted in 2014 of possession of marijuana for sale.

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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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A Texas law firm claims in a $100,000 lawsuit that a broken printer and a failure to promptly send a repair technician "grossly interfered" with its ability to conduct business.

The Cweren Law Firm in Houston sued in Texas state court last May, but the case was removed to federal court Monday, the Texas Lawyer reports.

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| NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |


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Judge Colleen McMahon made the unusual referral to prosecutors in an 82-page decision allowing a civil suit brought by four inmates -- Davon Washington, Steven Espinal, Pariis Tillery and one identified only as John Doe -- to proceed. The men say they were transferred from Rikers Island to the Albany County Jail for infractions ranging from the petty to the near-deadly.

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How A Fee Win For Lawyers May Help Disabled Workers - Law360

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By Emily Brill 


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U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year created a uniform method for allocating fees across judicial jurisdictions, ensuring attorneys will have access to higher fees regardless of where they practice. Practitioners are mixed on the impact of the ruling but hope it will attract more attorneys to the field of Social Security disability law so more people like Gammon can get help.

They also hope it will secure them enough money to sustain their practices' financial health, which can be precarious due to the nature of accepting jobs without a guaranteed fee.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston released the indictment on Thursday, charging Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph with obstruction of justice. Federal prosecutors also secured the indictment of Wesley MacGregor, a court officer, for obstruction and perjury. The charges constitute a remarkable intrusion into the internal affairs of a state judiciary and possible retaliation against Massachusetts' "sanctuary" policies. Rarely in modern history has the federal government sought to punish a state judge acting in exercise of judicial functions. This prosecution sends a clear threat to state courts around the country that do not want to be commandeered by ICE.

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BY AMANDA ROBERT


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Parking enforcement officers in Saginaw, Michigan, who use chalk to mark the tires of cars to track how long they have been parked are violating the constitution, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati held that the practice of chalking violated plaintiff Alison Taylor's right under the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable searches. The Washington Post, the Associated Press and NBC News have coverage.

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By Tyler Pager

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New York City on Tuesday declared a public health emergencyfollowing a measles outbreak in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

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[In Rockland County, an outbreak spread fear in an Ultra-Orthodox community.]

Dr. Paul Offit, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said there was precedent for Mr. de Blasio's actions, pointing to a massive measles outbreak in Philadelphia in 1991. During that outbreakofficials in that city went even further, getting a court order to force parents to vaccinate their children.


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Royal Dutch Shell is a Dutch company which means it is subject to the laws of the Netherlands. On April 5, Friends Of The Earth Netherlands filed suit against Shell seeking to force it to address its role in the climate emergency confronting the world and all its people. The lawsuit includes 17,000 private individuals as plaintiffs.

They want Shell to reduce its carbon emissions 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and to zero by 2050. Both targets are in line with the Paris climate accords of 2015. According to the latest IPCC climate report, the only way to achieve those goals is to rapidly transition the global economy away from its reliance on fossil fuels.

Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law, said on Friday, "The IPCC has warned that window of action for avoiding irreversible and truly catastrophic climate harms is narrow and closing rapidly. Today's suit against Shell sends a clear signal that business as usual is no longer acceptable. Companies that continue ignoring climate risks can and will be held legally accountable and financially responsible for their actions. Investors and corporate decision-makers who ignore this new reality do so at their peril."


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Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration at least 63 times over the past two years, an extraordinary record of legal defeat that has stymied large parts of the president's agenda on the environment, immigration and other matters.

In case after case, judges have rebuked Trump officials for failing to follow the most basic rules of governance for shifting policy, including providing legitimate explanations supported by facts and, where required, public input.

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Two-thirds of the cases accuse the Trump administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a nearly 73-year-old law that forms the primary bulwark against arbitrary rule. The normal "win rate" for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, according to analysts and studies. But as of mid-January, a database maintained by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law shows Trump's win rate at about 6 percent.

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By: Christopher T. Kurtz


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On December 11, 2018, the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision (over two dissenting opinions) addressing public access to police personnel and disciplinary records. The Court held that certain personnel records sought by the New York City Civil Liberties Union ("NYCLU") pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL") are exempt from disclosure under New York Civil Rights Law § 50-a and New York Public Officers Law § 87(2)(a). In doing so, the Court affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, and the broad applicability of Civil Rights Law § 50-a to requests for police personnel/disciplinary records.

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Edited by ANDREW COHEN



The Connecticut Supreme Court Thursday ruled 4-3 that a lawsuit brought by the families of the school massacre may proceed to trial against the companies that made and sold the assault weapon used in the attack. The decision subjects the defendants in the case to pretrial discovery and paves the way for the case to be heard by a jury made up of residents of Newtown and its environs. 

Read more....THE NEW YORK TIMES 


Related:   Read the ruling. CONNECTICUT SUPREME COURT

Erica Olsen & Kalea Woods: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know | Heavy.com

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Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods are two Stanford students who have filed a lawsuit against Yale,  USC, and more in the wake of the college admissions scandal.

The colleges that Woods and Olsen are suing are: Yale, USC, University of Texas at Austin, University of San Diego, Yale University, University of California Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, University of Southern California, and Georgetown University.

Now, the two students are saying their degree is worth less. In the complaint, the lawsuit states that Woods' degree (along with Olsen's) "is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials."

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Four young women, volunteers from a local migrant aid group, appeared before a federal judge for sentencing in Tucson last week. Their crime: leaving jugs of water, food and other supplies in a desolate desert refuge 130 miles west to protect the lives of migrants illegally crossing the Mexican border.

In January, the four members of No More Deaths had been convicted of trespassing in the sprawling Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. They each faced up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Instead, following an impassioned hearing, they received relatively minor sentences of 15 months' unsupervised probation and a $250 fine.


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By Dan M. Clark

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Phone calls of defendants held in state prison before their trial may be recorded and sent to prosecutors to use against them in court without a warrant, the Court of Appeals said in a decision Thursday.

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Conversations between defendants and their attorneys are not allowed to be recorded, for example. But phone calls between defendants and others are usually free game to be monitored, recorded and used by prosecutors if they help their case. 

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