Attacks on secret informants spur federal courts to consider limiting PACER access–ABA Journal

The federal judiciary is considering blocking public online access to criminal court records on PACER to prevent inmates from learning information about confidential informants.

The idea is one of several under consideration as the U.S. Judicial Conference considers the impact of disclosure, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.
A recent survey (PDF) of federal judges, prosecutors, defenders and probation offices by the Federal Judicial Center found that nearly 700 witnesses and informants perceived as snitches had been threatened, wounded or killed over a three year period.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of Manhattan told the U.S. Judicial Conference’s criminal rules committee in April that PACER is part of the problem, according to the Wall Street Journal account. Though federal inmates don’t have PACER access, they often get information from others.

“Anonymous remote public access to PACER is a source of much of the information that gets into prisons about who is cooperating,” Kaplan said.

Read more…

Legal History Blog

A team of legal scholars from a range of backgrounds author the Legal History Blog, a resource that will be of interest to historians, lawyers, law librarians, and anyone else interested in how U.S. law has been interpreted over the years. Updated almost daily, this blog offers scholars and general readers a way to stay abreast of the field of legal history. Entries include updates about new journal articles, books, and conferences of interest. One notable highlight of this blog is the Sunday Book Review Roundup, which provides an overview of new book reviews from The New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostThe LA Review of Books, and other periodicals. Visitors can browse previously published entries by subject labels, including Business History, Congressional Law, Originalism and the Founding Period, and Voting Rights, to name just a few. [MMB]
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NYSBA | Service Animals Guide

People with disabilities may rely on dogs and other service animals to assist them at their homes and workplaces, schools, retail stores, restaurants, theaters and when traveling. However, there has been confusion both for those who use service animals and those who must accommodate them. The New York City Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association have released this guide jointly to help clarify the legal rights and obligations involving the use of service animals in the state. The associations encourage the downloading, copying and distribution of the Guide throughout the state.

Cleary International Trade and Sanctions Watch

It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the Cleary International Trade and Sanctions Watch, our new blog that aims to provide updates and insights on international trade and sanctions matters, including developments on Brexit, WTO, multilateral and bilateral trade activities, U.S. and European economic sanctions, and other major economic shifts affecting international regulatory regimes and the global business environment. 

We hope that you find the posts informative and will continue to follow developments in the trade and sanctions sector by clicking on the subscribe button below.

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CFPB Sues Nation’s Largest Student Loan Company Navient for Failing Borrowers at Every Stage of Repayment | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Navient, Formerly Part of Sallie Mae, Illegally Cheated Borrowers Out of Repayment Rights Through Shortcuts and Deception

***  lawsuit alleges that Navient has been in violation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. The suit seeks redress for consumers harmed by Navient’s illegal practices. The CFPB is also seeking to keep Navient from continuing the illegal conduct described in the complaint, and to prevent new borrowers from being harmed.

The complaint against Navient Corporation, Navient Solutions, and Pioneer Credit Recovery is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201701_cfpb_Navient-Pioneer-Credit-Recovery-complaint.pdf 

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Read entire press release from CFPB announcing suit…

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Judging an Injustice: During Asian Heritage Month, Japanese Internments Are Recalled | United States Courts

Just months after Japanese bombs fell on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Atsushi Wallace Tashima was pulled from his home and sent away to an internment camp. Like 120,000 Japanese Americans, he and his family were branded as potential spies and saboteurs.

Decades later, he viewed those events from a very different perspective. Once the victim of an admitted national injustice, he made a career of delivering justice as a federal judge.

Learn more about Judge Tashima’s life, and others who recall the internment of Japanese Americans.

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Interim Guidance for Responsibility to Process all Requests for Discharge of the Estate Tax Lien

The IRS has issued Interim Guidance, dated April 5, 2017, which appears to signal relief and a return to prior practices.

The Interim Guidance is available using the link here. https://www.irs.gov/pub/foia/ig/spder/sbse_05_0417_0011.pdf

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This memorandum provides Interim Guidance (IG) for Specialty Collection Advisory and Specialty Examination Estate & Gift Tax employees with respect to all applications for requests of discharge of the estate tax lien made after June 2016.

Hat Tip to Gilbert Hoffman.

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