In Policy Shift, Lawyers Allowed to Use Electronic Devices During Arguments in 1st Dept. Courthouse | New York Law Journal

t’s a sign of the times. Starting next week, electronic devices will be permitted in New York’s 19th century Madison Avenue courtrooms during proceedings. It marks the first time that any of the departments of the Appellate Division have adopted a written policy allowing lawyers and litigants arguing pro se to use laptops, tablets and smartphones during oral arguments.

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NYSBA Pro Bono Portal – Empowering New York attorneys to get matched with rewarding pro bono opportunities and to learn new skills.

Following several Executive Orders announcing travel bans and increased immigration enforcement, the legal community has increased its efforts to deliver vital immigration legal services to our communities and thousands of attorneys have volunteered to donate their time and services on a pro bono basis. The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) received many inquiries from its members about how they can help.  In order to best address the rise of attorneys seeking to do pro bono work, while supporting the non-profit and legal service organizations actively serving New York’s immigrant communities, NYSBA paired up with the New York Bar Foundation and Legal.io to create a web-based portal through which attorneys can be referred to volunteer opportunities in a tailored and timely fashion.

NYSBA’s Immigration Pro Bono Portal provides volunteer attorneys with tailored referrals to current and relevant volunteer opportunities at legal services organizations where the attorneys’ specific skills and experience are needed. As a result, attorneys are connected with appropriate volunteer opportunities in a timely manner while legal services organizations are able to provide more services and save valuable resources.

Since July, we have referred over fifty attorneys to more than twenty organizations across the state. In the long run, we seek to assist New York’s civil legal service community in achieving 100% legal immigration representation (currently the nationwide average is about 30%), where representation in deportation and detention contexts is the norm, not an exception.

We encourage attorneys who are interested in volunteering to visit www.nysbaprobono.org and register as a volunteer attorney so that we may provide them with tailored referrals to volunteer opportunities for which they may be well suited. We also encourage organizations across the state that both serve New York’s immigrant population, and have a need for pro bono volunteers, to visit the site and create a listing, indicating their volunteer needs, so we may refer suitable volunteers to them. If you have any questions about NYSBA’s Pro Bono Immigration Portal, please email me at probonoportal@nysba.org or call me at 518-487-5642.

Best Regards,

Yuriy Pereyaslavskiy,

Immigration Pro Bono Fellow

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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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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Group Proposes Changes for How NY Courts Deal with ICE Arrests | New York Law Journal

By Josefa Velasquez and Colby Hamilton

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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.”

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Regulation and the Local Food Movement | The Regulatory Review

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The local food movement has been booming over the last several years. The number of farmers’ markets across the country has nearly doubled in the last decade, and a recent Pew Research Center poll found that a majority of people in the United States had bought locally grown produce in the previous month. The enormous interest in eating locally has even led to the coinage of a new word: locavore.

Local food production and consumption offer a variety of benefits, which two legal scholars, Patricia Salkin and Amy Lavine, discuss in a recent paper. Because of these purported benefits, Salkin and Lavine argue that local and state governments should follow the example of some of their peers and update their zoning and land use regulations to encourage more local food production.

Salkin and Lavine tout the advantages of “foodsheds”–geographic areas surrounding urban areas that can provide some of the food that city-dwellers consume. For instance, Salkin and Lavine point to potential environmental benefits: Small farms may use fewer chemicals and produce less waste than large industrial farms. And it requires much less fuel to transport produce to a nearby city than it does to transport produce across the country.

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Illinois and New York Pass First Statewide Bans on the Use of Elephants in Entertainment | Animal Legal Defense Fund

Posted by Nicole Pallotta, Academic Outreach Manager on November 17, 2017

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Soon after, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed New York’s SB 2098B, also known as the “Elephant Protection Act,” into law on October 19, 2017. It amends the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law and its Environmental Conservation Law to prohibit the use of elephants in entertainment acts. The New York law does not specifying “traveling” acts but expressly exempts accredited zoos and aquariums. It takes effect in two years.  In contrast to the Illinois law, which makes violation a Class A misdemeanor, the New York law provides a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation because offenses against animals are not part of New York’s Penal Code.

The legislation was drafted by undergraduate students in Pace University’s Environmental Policy Clinic, who also lobbied for its passage and collected student signatures in support of the bill. Several New York chapters of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted letters in support of the bill to Governor Cuomo over the summer.

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