Clerk Accuses Judge of Colluding With Staten Island DA to Divert Cases Away From Defendant-Friendly Courts | New York Law Journal

By Andrew Denney

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Dismissal Over Counsel No-Show ‘Extreme,’ Second Circuit Finds | New York Law Journal

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.

NY Trial Court Finds Enough Evidence of Potential Open Meetings Law Violation to Support Preliminary Injunction | LAW OF THE LAND

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

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

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

They said Philly cops tried to stop them from photographing officers. Now the city is paying them $250,000

by Chris Palmer, 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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