DAs Plan Constitutional Challenge to Prosecutorial Misconduct Commission | New York Law Journal

By Dan M. Clark

***

The state’s district attorneys may torpedo a proposed commission to investigate prosecutorial misconduct if a bill creating the group is approved by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In a letter sent to the state’s prosecutors Tuesday, Albany County District Attorney David Soares said the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York will be advancing an expedited constitutional challenge to the bill. Soares is president of the DAASNY.

Soares also urged the district attorneys and their assistants to decline any appointment to the commission until the litigation is resolved, which would leave the body without four of its members required by the statute.

***

Read more…

Advertisements

New video from ABA president calls for lawyers to help separated immigrant families–ABA Journal

BY LORELEI LAIRD

ABA President Hilarie Bass has posted a short video asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border.

In the video, Bass talks about what she saw during her late June trip to south Texas, where she met with immigrant mothers detained at the Port Isabel Detention Center near Harlingen. Some of those women hadn’t seen their children in six weeks, Bass said; some had talked to their children on the phone, but knew the children were far away.

But what really disturbed Bass, she said, was that all of them would give up their asylum claims and return to the violence they’re fleeing if it meant their children would be returned.

“That caused me great consternation, because these people are giving up their legal rights just to have the right to get their children back,” Bass says in the video. “I think as lawyers, we have to do everything possible to assist these victims of this policy.”

Bass then directed lawyers to http://ambar.org/immigrationjustice, a new ABA web page that aggregates opportunities for interested lawyers to volunteer, advocate or donate to help separated and detained families.

***

Read more...

Immigrant children begin appearing in court without lawyers or parents–ABA Journal

BY LORELEI LAIRD

Most immigrants facing deportation wouldn’t climb onto a table during their court hearings. But then again, most 3-year-olds don’t go to court without parents or lawyers.

Nonetheless, that was the situation during a recent court hearing for a child represented by the Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles.

“It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with these kids,” Center executive director Lindsay Toczylowski told the Texas Tribune.

***

A federal judge in San Diego ordered the federal government this week to reunite families within 14 to 30 days, depending on the ages of the children. If the decision is not appealed, being reunited with parents may help the minors make their cases. However, as Reuters notes, some parents have already been deported without their kids. Advocates including ABA ProBAR director Kimi Jackson have observed that there is no federal procedure for reuniting families, and lawyers for adult immigrants say the hotlines the federal government has provided are rarely answered and provide little information when they are answered.

A group of immigrant advocates sued in 2014 for a court order granting lawyers to unaccompanied minors, arguing that it is “fundamentally unfair” to expect children to represent themselves. The suit argued that children needed lawyers under both their due process rights–which courts have repeatedly held applies to immigrants–and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s guarantee of a fair hearing. That case led one Justice Department expert to testify that he’d been able to teach immigration law to young children, a claim mocked by immigration lawyers and at least one late-night comedian.

***

Read more…

Upstate Judge Resigns After CJC Finds He Lived in Wrong Town | New York Law Journal

By Dan M. Clark

***

An Elmira-area judge has agreed to never seek or accept judicial office again after the State Commission on Judicial Conduct found he did not live in the town where he was a judge.

Thomas Brooks resigned earlier this year after the commission found he lived outside the town of Veteran, where he served as a judge, the commission said in a decision Friday.

The commission received a complaint in February that Brooks lived in Erin, New York, rather than Veteran. Section 23 of Veteran’s laws says a sitting judge must reside in the town, according to the commission.

“A judge must meet the statutory residency requirements necessary to hold judicial office,” said Robert Tembeckjian, administrator of the CJC. “Failure to do so is disqualifying.”

***

Read more…

Formal Opinion 2017-5: An Attorney’s Ethical Duties Regarding U.S. Border Searches of Electronic Devices Containing Clients’ Confidential Information | Member & Career Services | NYC Bar

DIGEST: Under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”), a New York lawyer has certain ethical obligations when crossing the U.S. border with confidential client information.  Before crossing the border, the Rules require a lawyer to take reasonable steps to avoid disclosing confidential information in the event a border agent seeks to search the attorney’s electronic device. The “reasonableness” standard does not imply that particular protective measures must invariably be adopted in all circumstances to safeguard clients’ confidential information; however, this opinion identifies measures that may satisfy the obligation to safeguard clients’ confidences in this situation. Additionally, Under Rule 1.6(b)(6), the lawyer may not disclose a client’s confidential information in response to a claim of lawful authority unless doing so is “reasonably necessary” to comply with a border agent’s claim of lawful authority. This includes first making reasonable efforts to assert the attorney-client privilege and to otherwise avert or limit the disclosure of confidential information. Finally, if the attorney discloses clients’ confidential information to a third partyduring a border search, the attorney must inform affected clients about such disclosures pursuant to Rule 1.4.
 

Prosecutors drop charges against inauguration protesters after judge says they withheld videos–ABA Journal

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

***

Federal prosecutors dismissed all charges against seven inauguration protesters and reduced charges against three others after a Washington, D.C., judge criticized the government for withholding undercover videos recorded by an activist group.

Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin dismissed the charges Thursday at the request of prosecutors after he criticized the government for initially disclosing only one secret video of a planning meeting recorded by the group Project Veritas, report BuzzFeed News, the Huffington Post and Law & Crime.

Morin said last week that the government had withheld the full version of the meeting video. The government belatedly disclosed that there were 69 additional recordings, according to a motion filed by defense lawyer Andrew Clarke. Many videos included discussions of de-escalation tactics, he wrote.

***

Read more...

Fired DCJS director accuses commissioner of misleading oversight panel – Times Union

***

The former director, Brian J. Gestring, headed DCJS’s forensic science unit before he was fired that month following an unrelated workplace misconduct investigation. In a letter sent Friday to the state Commission on Forensic Science, Gestring said that Green also did not disclose to the commission that the agency had three “catastrophic” cases in the past year in which it misidentified suspects who had been linked to crimes through DNA.

***