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)
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.
“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.”
As arrests at courthouses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers continue, a report released Tuesday by the Fund for Modern Courts suggests New York’s courts should limit their cooperation and assistance with civil immigration law enforcement.
So far this year ICE agents have arrested 52 people while they were in court in New York state, the majority in New York City, Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, told the New York Law Journal Tuesday. This is the first year the state’s court system has tracked ICE activities and arrests in courthouses. Expanded immigration enforcement actions under the Trump administration have resulted in increased arrests at courthouses nationally since the beginning of 2017, the report states.
The 24-page report issued by the justice system reform organization examined the impact of ICE arrests on New Yorkers’ access to state courthouses. It suggested actions that Chief Judge Janet DiFiore should take to mitigate the “negative impact on individuals and the courts resulting from ICE’s actions in courthouses.”
The indictment unsealed Friday charges Abelove with withholding evidence from the grand jury that investigated the fatal shooting. The Times Union reported last year that Abelove did not subpoena two civilian witnesses who were at the scene of the shooting and told investigators they did not believe the officer was in imminent danger when he opened fire on the motorist.
The second misconduct count accuses Abelove of unlawfully allowing the officer who fired the fatal shots to testify with immunity from prosecution when he appeared before the grand jury that cleared him. The perjury charge alleges that Abelove lied in front a special grand jury investigating his conduct when he testified that another Troy police officer was given immunity when that officer testified in front of a grand jury in an unrelated fatal police shooting.