ProPublica, in partnership with 38 other news organizations and civil rights groups (including The Guardian, WNYC, and PBS NewsHour, to name just few), recently launched Documenting Hate, a project that collects stories of hate crimes and bias incidents. As the project notes, there is currently “no reliable data on the nature or prevalence of this violence.” Individuals who have experienced or witnessed hate or bias are invited to share their experiences via the Tell Your Story section of this website. Visitors are prompted to answer a variety of questions about the incident, including the type of incident, where the incident occurred, and why the victim(s) were targeted. While visitors must provide a name and contact information to complete this form, the project notes that it “will not share your name and contact information with anybody outside our coalition (of newsrooms) without your permission.” Meanwhile, reporters may gain access to data and story leads by providing their information on the Get Involved page. There is also a well-developed Resource page for those who have experienced hate crimes and bias incidents. [MMB]
Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group – http://scout.wisc.edu
BY SAMANTHA JOSEPH
A con man is exploiting a loophole in public records access to target South Florida real estate lenders and landowners.
Based on little more than his charm, a fake driver’s license and forged corporate documents altered on a government-run website for $50, he posed as a Boca Raton doctor and walked away with $550,000 from hard-money lenders in Fort Lauderdale.
People involved in the transaction say he spoke at length about his real estate holdings, didn’t flinch when questioned, and was so convincing that when a private detective later inquired about the deal, lenders were suspicious of the investigator, not the fraudster.
“Next thing we know, we found out this person isn’t who they said they were,” said Alain Villar, the independent mortgage broker who originated the deal. “The person who went to the closing was not really the owner.”
It was too late.
Patricia Salkin–Law of the Land:
A federal court in New York entered a consent decree on November 23 resolving allegations by the United States that the City of Port Jervis, New York, violated a church’s rights under RLUIPA when it changed its zoning code to ban places of worship in two zoning districts where they were previously allowed as of right. The order resolves a lawsuit brought by the United States in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after the Goodwill Evangelical Presbyterian Church entered into a contract to purchase property within one of those zones to use as a church.
Lawyers suing BuzzFeed for alleged defamation tried using the defendant’s clickbait tactics in a motion seeking to keep the case in Miami federal court.
Andrew Denney and Ben Hancock, New York Law Journal
A federal appeals court on Friday rejected an attempt to loosen restrictions on private investment in the legal industry, dismissing arguments that ethics rules on so-called “fee splitting” impinge on lawyers’ First Amendment rights.
The decision, which affirms a 2015 district court ruling, is a blow to Los Angeles-based personal injury firm Jacoby & Meyers, which has fought a nearly six-year legal battle against the prohibition on non-lawyers investing in law firms and sharing in legal fees.
A federal judge in Hawaii placed a temporary restraining order on Trump’s new travel ban: