IN THIS ISSUE : MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2012
This Week at the City Bar
Around the Bar
Recent Committee Activity
City Bar in the Courts
City Bar in the News
   
This Week at the City Bar
MONDAY, MARCH 5
6 PM – 8 PM,
Event
The Business of Fashion

6 PM – 9 PM,
CLE
The “How To” of Successful Motion Practice


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
LinkedIn 201 for Lawyers: How to Use LinkedIn to Get Interviews



TUESDAY, MARCH 6
9 AM – 12 PM,
CLE
Say on Pay 2012: Planning & Tactics


7 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Tuesday Evening Chamber Music Concert: Mozart, Mahler, and Brahms for Violin and Piano



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7
7 PM – 9 PM,
Event
The Alien Tort Statute: Should Corporations Be Immune From Liability?



THURSDAY, MARCH 8
8 AM – 9:30 AM,
Event
Effective Self-Promotion: Women Partners Workshop Series 2012


9 AM – 12:30 PM,
CLE
Consumer Financial Protection After Dodd-Frank: The New Legislation’s Enhanced Enforcement Structure


12:30 PM – 2 PM,
Event
Powerful Productivity for Lawyers: The Eight Essentials of Optimizing Your Time, Revenue, and Peace of Mind


6 PM – 9 PM,
Event
Pathways to the Bench and Beyond


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM,
Event
Watching the Detectives: Oversight of Post 9/11 Law Enforcement Counterterrorism Operations



FRIDAY, MARCH 9
9 AM – 1 PM,
CLE
Negotiation Skills & Strategies for Everyday Bargaining


7 PM – 8 PM,
Event
The Blue Hill Troupe: Trial By Jury – Friday Evening Gilbert & Sullivan

Around the Bar
Attorney General Schneiderman at the City Bar


On February 28th, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman addressed City Bar members and guests on matters including the need to ensure legal representation and adequate court resources for homeowners facing foreclosure.

Recent Committee Activity
Medical Marijuana

The Committees on Drugs and the Law and Health Law expressed support for A.7347/S.2774, which would create a system for the production, distribution, and medical use of marijuana for those citizens who would likely benefit from such use. The proposed legislation, the report notes, is among the strictest in the country and would accomplish the dual goal of providing relief to suffering patients and protecting the public interest in regulating a controlled substance. New York State has an obligation to allow people with severe debilitating and life-threatening conditions to access marijuana legally as a means of alleviating their suffering, and the proposed legislation permits them to do so under both medical and governmental oversight.

Organ Donation

The Committee on Health Law issued a report in support of A.6148-C/S.3885-A (“Lauren’s Law”), which would make the decision to register or to decline registration as an organ donor a mandatory requirement for obtaining a license or registering to vote in New York State. Under the proposed legislation, applicants would be asked if they would like to be added to the Donate Life Registry and would be able to choose “yes,” “no,” or “no at this time.” The report notes that the current law has been ineffective in enlisting the number of donors needed within New York State. Mandating that a decision be made regarding organ donation will increase the likelihood that citizens will become registered donors.

Actual Innocence Claims

In a joint report, the Committees on Criminal Courts and Criminal Justice Operations expressed support for amending CPL §440 to provide for actual innocence claims. The Committees reviewed the proposed Actual Innocence Act of 2012 (A.6551-A/S.79-A ) and recommended a number of changes to the legislation with regard to: 1) the burden of proof standard; 2) evidence to be considered; 3) applicability to guilty pleas; and 4) a proposed “reasonable probability of innocence” standard to allow passage through the “gateway” of procedural barriers.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel on Appeal

The Committees on Criminal Courts and Criminal Justice Operations issued a joint report proposing legislation which would provide a remedy in New York for claims of ineffective assistance of counsel that relate to appellate representation. Currently there is no statutory mechanism for such claims, forcing litigants to continue to rely on the common-law writ. The proposed legislation would add a new section 450.65 to the Criminal Procedure Law that would: 1) codify appeal-related claims of ineffective assistance of counsel without restricting the availability of the flexible writ of coram nobis in other areas of the law; 2) encompass all the areas in which the writ has been recognized as providing relief for claims of ineffective assistance that relate to appeals and the appeal process; 3) treat appeal-related claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in a manner fundamentally similar to that for trial-related ineffective assistance claims; 4) provide an avenue for the resolution of appeal-related ineffective assistance claims that is simple, familiar, and non-discriminatory; and 5) provide a specific mechanism for factual investigation and fact finding that recognizes both defense attorneys’ ethical responsibilities and the natural limitations of appellate courts.

Violence Against Women Act

The Committee on Domestic Violence drafted a report in support of S.1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011, which would continue the current protections given to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and expand the protections in certain key ways. The report expressed particular support for the provisions of the bill that relate to housing and immigration benefits for survivors, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, as these sections are of special importance to victims in New York City. In addition, the Committee testified before the New York City Council in support of Res. No. 1064, which calls upon Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

City Bar in the Courts
In a decision involving time-barred debt (Diaz v. Portfolio Recovery Associates), United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollack states, “Citing a May 2010 Report on Legislation by the Consumer Affairs and Civil Court Committees of the New York City Bar Association (the ‘Committees’), defendant notes that there were 241,195 debt collection lawsuits filed in New York in 2009, where 99% of the debtors were not represented by counsel, and where 66% of these cases resulted in defaults.…Not surprisingly, defendant makes no mention of the portion of the Committees’ Report which noted that:
[t]hese cases are overwhelmingly brought against low- and moderate-income New York debtors, many of whom are elderly or disabled.…The consequences of these judgments can be devastating, resulting in frozen bank accounts and garnished wages that prevent New Yorkers from being able to support their families, and destroy their credit, affecting their ability to secure housing and obtain employment.”

City Bar in the News
New York Daily News, March 3, 2012

In an article for New York Daily News entitled “Maids Who Are Virtual Prisoners of Diplomat Bosses Flee with Help from Immigrant Groups,” Erica Pearson wrote,
“Susanne Tomatore of the City Bar Justice Center said she has represented a dozen diplomat trafficking victims since 2002. There is no definitive data, but a 2008 Government Accountability Office report cited 42 trafficking complaints about diplomats since 2000. The State Department says in 2010 there were more than a dozen allegations of abuse or servitude of A3 and G5 visa holders.”

Examiner, March 2, 2012

In an article for Examiner entitled “EPA & DEC Take New Steps for Environmental Justice,” Shannon Ayala wrote,
“The EPA and New York’s DEC spoke at the New York City Bar Association on 44th Street on Wednesday about their new environmental justice plans. The event was hosted by the Bar Association’s Environmental Committee and was assisted by West Harlem Environmental Action (We ACT).”

Newsday, February 28, 2012

In an op ed for Newsday entitled “Don’t Make Bad Deal for Bad Maps,” Todd Breitbart wrote,
“Several observers of the once-in-a-decade redistricting of the State Senate and Assembly, including former Attorney General Robert Abrams and the nonpartisan good-government group Citizens Union, called on the governor yesterday to compromise on the new lines in exchange for a state constitutional amendment taking this process out of the hands of the legislature – for the next round, in 2022. Five years ago, I helped the New York City Bar Association craft just such an amendment. But an amendment should not be linked to the redistricting bill that may come to a vote as early as next week.”

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