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


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.


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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.”


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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



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.



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.


Is there an ethical problem with attorneys ghostwriting for pro se clients?–ABA Journal



ABA Formal Opinion 07-446 also approves of lawyers ghostwriting for clients, viewing it as a “form of ‘unbundling’ of legal services.” The ABA opinion reasons that pro se clients receiving ghostwriting services should not be required to disclose that fact: “Because there is no reasonable concern that a litigant appearing pro se will receive an unfair benefit from a tribunal as a result of behind-the-scenes legal assistance, the nature or extent of such assistance is immaterial and need not be disclosed.”

“We conclude that there is no prohibition in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct against undisclosed assistance to pro se litigants, as long as the lawyer does not do so in a manner that violates rules that otherwise would apply to the lawyer’s conduct,” the 2007 ABA opinion says.


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Pretty Good Procedures for Protecting Your Email | Electronic Frontier Foundation


A group of researchers recently released a paper that describes a new class of serious vulnerabilities in the popular encryption standard PGP (including GPG) as implemented in email clients. Until the flaws described in the paper are more widely understood and fixed, users should arrange for the use of alternative end-to-end secure channels, such as Signal, and temporarily stop sending and especially reading PGP-encrypted email. See EFF‘s analysis and FAQ for more detail.

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