Review: SimpliSafe Alarm System — Katie Floyd

Katie Floyd:

I’ve written about my move to a new home and the technology I’m using. With the move came a search for a new alarm system. I looked at “smart alarm” solutions, but ultimately, I installed a system from SimpliSafe. It’s not fancy, and it’s certainly not tech-forward. But it was friendly on the budget and after a few initial hiccups seems to work as advertised.

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As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away – The New York Times

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Some of the problems playing out now in the $108 billion private student loan market are reminiscent of those that arose from the subprime mortgage crisis a decade ago, when billions of dollars in subprime mortgage loans were ruled uncollectable by courts because of missing or fake documentation. And like those troubled mortgages, private student loans — which come with higher interest rates and fewer consumer protections than federal loans — are often targeted at the most vulnerable borrowers, like those attending for-profit schools.
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Settlement Will Reform Solitary Confinement of Children at Syracuse Jail | New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Services of Central New York announced a settlement with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office today that ends the routine practice of 23-hour-a-day isolation of juveniles at the Justice Center jail in Syracuse. The settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed by the NYCLU and LSCNY last year.
Children aged 16 and 17, many of whom have mental illnesses, had been kept in solitary confinement for months at a time. Many children exhibited symptoms of suicidal thinking, and jail officials deliberately ignored warnings about children’s vulnerabilities, returning juveniles to solitary even after being placed on suicide watch for brief periods. Solitary confinement can cause psychosis, trauma, depression and self-harm.
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Fake law firm website uses real lawyers’ pictures to fleece consumers, bar lawsuit says

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISSABA Journal

The Houston Bar Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down a fake law firm website that is using the pictures of real lawyers in an apparent scam targeting elderly people.

The fake law firm is called Walsh & Padilla, and it purports to offer estate planning services, the Houston Chronicle reports.

In reality, the website appears to be operated from South Africa, and it uses photos of lawyers taken from real law firm websites, the suit says.

Read more…

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.

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