Friday, October 24, 2008

Are You In Or Out Of The "LOOP?": A Product Review

Hello everyone from rainy Florida, my stay in the sunshine state has so far been pretty cloudy. It's been raining and some baggage handler stole my computer, which really sux. Anyone who knows me knows that my computer is an extension of my arm. Fortunately my friend Catrina has offered to help me out and is taking this post down for me. (Everybody shout out to Catrina!)

I. One Product,One Price

OK so why am I so excited that I had to get a blog post out? Because about 2 months ago I ran into a new program that is changing my practice and saving me a ton of money. And I wanted to give it a good try out before I told others about it. The product is called The "LOOP" (Law Office Operating Platform)and after 2 months I can honestly say I LOVE IT!!! What I love about the "LOOP" system is:
1. it is easy to understand,
2. it is easy to enter information into,
3. it provides the total package in one complete program, and
4. even though they continue to add new features, they never raise the price. In fact, their business philosophy is one product at one price.

II.What is The "LOOP?"

Now, the "LOOP" is a combination of client management, task management, contact management, and research management, which is about to be combined with an accounting program that will capture all the work performed on a file. Whether one bills on the hour (something I do not suggest)or one handles his work through a value build system this operating platform will cut the back office costs by 30%. That's not even the best part of this program , the best part of this program is I have reduced my legal research costs by nearly $800.00 a month so far. Here is how it works. At a cost of $79.00 per month per user, I now have access to every statue and case law decision of every state and federal court in the country. Now WestLaw and Lexis charge over $800.00 per month for that privilege. Additionally, this program unlike LoisLaw is easily searchable, as easy to search as WestLaw and Lexis using Boolean and Natural Language. Additionally, with 2 clicks of my mouse I can move the case or the portion of the case I need right into the file or document I am working on. I can also permit my client and/or co-counsel to view this file at any time by assigning them the key code that only goes to that one file. In other words, the "LOOP" has the ability to act as an affordable intranet.(Actually that feature is in beta testing so it is coming, but guess what? It won't change the price!!)

III.Fully Customisable Interface

One of the things I hate about programs that come in a box is that they think one size fits all. There is nothing more annoying than having to try to fit a criminal defense into a client management program that was really designed to be used by personal injury lawyers. Matrimonial cases and Will cases are just fundamentally different. The one size fits all scheme forces me to lose time having to answer a bunch of questions or bypass tasks that have nothing to do with what I am working on. Not the "LOOP"! The "LOOP" system begins by asking you what client information you need and what tasks do you require. Now, I can use some of my buzz words (such as: send a CPL240.20 Notice; as opposed to Discovery Notices, which would be used in a civil case). I can assign tasks to my employees and partners and they can file journal entries as the task becomes completed.

IV. Integration is the Key

By having a platform that customizes all of a clients file within one program, I can easily begin to see patterns among witnesses and cases. The "LOOP" is completely searchable so I can enter the name of a police officer and find out all the cases I have with him. I can enter notes on Prosecutors and Judges and build "a book" on them just like they do in the big firms. I can easily conflict check and finally, I can review tasks and arguments that worked or did not work in other cases similar to the one I am working on. I have yet to see any program that doesn't cost thousands of dollars per year that does this. Most programs like this are out of financial reach for the small and solo practitioners. Now you know why I am excited.

V. 15 Day FREEBIE On Me!

Ok just so you don't think "That Lawyer Dude" is not looking out for his "peeps", I spoke to the President of The "LOOP" and I have arranged for all of my faithful (and you first timers too) Readers to get a FREE 15 day tryout of this thing. If you sign in using this Promotion Code (SB111111) You get the 15 days free. NO STRINGS ATTACHED. So give it a try on good ole' TLD.

Now don't say I never did anything to help you.

Oh yeah one other thing. All the information you place on the "Loop" is stored on their site and backed up on another site far from the first one... That means when some jackass baggage handler from JET BLUE or the Transportation Security Administration (now there is an Oxymoron) steals your laptop, you can still find and use your files. Why? Because The "Loop" works on PDAs and Smartphones. ALL OF THEM (not just I-phones)

I'll be back soon, as soon as I can find a new computer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Libertarianism Defined: Not Safe for the Kids

Stripper blogger Renegade Evolution has a rather vulgar but very accurate description of why a younger generation is turning away from the Republican Party that chooses Sarah Palin as one of it's standard bearers. RenEv as she calls herself, is not kidding in her reasons or the strength of her belief in liberty. I am not sure the founders would have been able to dream her dream, but I think that any fair reading of the Constitution would agree with the reasons she is drawn to the concept of Liberty. I for one think that the days of the old Republican party are drawing to a close. I think you will soon see a viable third party that takes back the mantel of liberty from both the Democrats and the Republicans. It may not be called the Libertarian party, but it will have as main tenants of its platform a socially liberal fiscally conservative bent. While I have seen these sentiments put more eloquently, this a succinct and simple definition worth the read, for ADULTS ONLY.

Meanwhile, I am headed to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Meeting in Tampa Florida. Follow me on Twitter at Hopefully I will get a full blog up before the end of the week. I still need to blog about big and little lies and how a good cross-examiner works with them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Victory for That Lawyer Dude's Client in Queens NY: Jury Acquits Clients of All Charges! They Too Believe NYPD Lied

I am very proud of our jury in Queens today. They were presented with a case where police lied and they stayed with the case till the very end, didn't form any opinions and watched as police officer and detectives lies unraveled before their very eyes. The pressure on our clients to plead guilty. I was not my client's first attorney. He switched because his old lawyer told him to plead guilty to something he didn't do. The lawyer told him "It will be your word against the word of an eyewitness police officer, who do you think a jury will believe?"

I blogged the facts of the case yesterday. I am so exhausted from the stress of waiting a verdict I don't have the strength to add a new blog tonight.

I just want to say to any young (or old) criminal defense lawyer, or to clients out there, next time you are about to say, "it is your word against the police, who do you think the jury will believe" ask yourself, are you doing this for the client, or are you just afraid you won't be able to do the job you need to do.

I am going to spend a little time in my next post talking about how a good cross-examiner, uses little lies and big lies to creat doubt or get out the truth.

For now, I want to thank my co counsel, John Scarpa, a brilliant cross-examiner, a ferocious advocate, and a brave fellow brother lawyer for his leadership, and friendship. I want to Thank Acting Supreme Court Justice Latella for giving my client and I a fair trial. Finally I want to thank my Clients for trusting John and me enough to take a chance with their lives on our work, and I want to thank the 12 Queens County NY Jurors for upholding the law, both its spirit and its letter. Thank you all.

Trial Techniques: Exposing Police Testilying

I am representing a nice kid charged with Burglary 2d degree in Queens County. I am trying this case with a good friend John Scarpa who is a former Queens County Assistant District Attorney and a really talented trial Defense Criminal Trial Lawyer.

The case is crazy. I understand DA Brown's office's interest in trying the case because on paper, it should be a slam dunk... Except the defendants are innocent and once a trial lawyer looked at this mess, they should have seen the problems with it.

Queens North Borough Blast unit is an elite burglary unit in Northern Queens. In investigating a bunch of burglaries against Chinese families, the Blast unit began to focus on one fellow, Mario, who was driving a rented car and tooling around Northern Queens. It was interesting to the Blast guys that 1. Mario lives in Staten Island and has no seeming connection to Northern Queens County, and 2. His car license plate was seen driving from the scene of a prior burglary, but no one saw who went in or who was in Mario's car. Mario by the way, walks with a cane and is disabled.

The police obtained a warrant to put a GPS on Mario's car. The BLAST unit started following Mario around and were assigning 10-25 detectives on him at any one time. You can imagine the money they spent. As things were growing more expensive, the unit was starting to worry that all the money spent was going for naught. Then they got what they thought was a break, the truck they put the GPS on was on the move and back in motion in northern Queens county. That's where things stop working out so well...

According to the indictment and paper work, the cops follow the car, one of their team members get out and follow the car passengers to a home and WATCH THEM ENTER IT AND AFTER 20 MINUTES LEAVE THROUGH A SIDE WINDOW. That's right, he allegedly watched 3 guys break into a home, did nothing to help the people inside and waited for the three to leave. I know it seems crazy but that was the testimony.

Now after watching the three leave, he loses sight of them, and another cop (the one whose ass is on the line for authorizing all the money) allegedly sees the three cross a 4 lane street and go to a car that is the one with the GPS on it. He and other cars follow the car and stop it 2 blocks from the burglary. When they stop the car, one guy jumps out and runs. The others are arrested and their are burglar's tools in the car including a radio that can pick up police signals from the local precinct. Oh yeah, it is on cause the cops can hear themselves on the radio receiver...

Now it would normally seem open and shut, except our clients tell us, they never burgled a home, weren't ever in the car, and were there to meet Mario and obtain Marijuana they left in his vehicle the night before when they celebrated his and my client's birthday.

Also of interest to me, was that Mario and the guy who ran, both pled guilty but our clients didn't even think about it. Not even after the judge promised to sentence them to the minimum time. Another thing that bothered me. There was NO physical evidence...None!!

No fingerprints, no DNA matches, No proceeds from the burglary. During the trial of the case, we even learned that not one of the people who testified to stopping the car even saw my client or Scarpa's client in the car!!

Now here is a lesson for young attorneys. If the case seems to strong to be possible, it is not possible... I cannot believe the level of Police testlying that I have witnessed in this trial.

Here is the thing. In order to bring this thing off, the whole Blast team needed to support one and other. At first it seemed impossible to me that the whole team would be able to lie. In fact, they couldn't do it convincingly (well the jury is still out so at least they didn't lie convincingly enough to get the jury to convict quickly)The thing that they did do is they all told the only lie they could all remember.

Lesson to the new trial lawyer: When confronted with a case with a number of people telling the "same story" the devil is in the details. If the discovery is devoid of details, you know they are lying. All you have to do, is break the big lie down to the details and the inconsistencies will jump out like a catfish out of a river on a warm Louisiana day.

In our case, the lie it turns out, is that we saw a burglary and these guys did it. At first it seemed really open and shut, but when we started to look at facts to support that scenario, they were non-existent.

For example, We asked the alleged eyewitness what he saw, he claimed to have seen all three of these guys get out of the car, and then he raced his car around the block got out of his car, race through backyards and set himself up in a dark driveway some 60 feet away, and see through a thicket of bushes and big pine trees the three guys still outside. He saw them take a security grate down and proceed to step up on the grate and go through a side window that was not visible through the trees. He describes 4 Pine trees that failed to grow symetrically so they were less dense on the side on which he had to look. He also testified that he saw the car stay on the same side of the street and that the car never crossed a thoroughfare and that he couldn't see who got in the car or where they sat. Hmmm.

The Lead cop, the guy who was running this shindig testified he too was 60 feet away. It was his job to watch the truck and that the truck not only was across the 4 lane thoroughfare, but that the driver turned it around and was facing the opposite direction from where the house that was burgled was so that the alleged burglars had to cross two streets and he saw them do that... Except he too didn't see who got in the car, nor did he see where they sat or did he see their faces, or if they were carrying anything.

Now there were Photos. Pretty damning photos. All the police testified that the crime scene investigation team took the photos. All the police except the crime scene investigator. He said he didn't take any pictures at the scene, and that the pictures he did take he had staged to represent the items he was photographing in a better light. Hmmm. He didn't preserve the crime scene? Not even with a preliminary photo? That is very strange.

Our intrepid crime scene investigator also testified that none of the officers involved in the arrest ordered fingerprints of the crime scene nor did they they order hats and gloves found in the alleged getaway car checked for DNA that might link the items to people in the SUV.

Finally, if the officer who says he saw everything and everybody, did in fact see everything and everybody, why was it that after stopping the car, and capturing the alleged four occupants inside of it, did the police bring in helicopters with search lights and dogs to search and stop 3 other Hispanic men and why did the police not produce the stop and frisk reports for these men? Could it be that they may have fit the description of the men who burgled the house more closely than the men I represent?? Oh one other thing, if I were watching the burglars, I would broadcast a description of them to the other cops on the case... The eyewitness officer says he did. No one on the backup team said they heard it. NO ONE.

If these were the only inconsistencies they would be enough to raise a doubt in my mind, but there were more!!! For example, forget not going into the house to see if anyone was harmed in there. The police couldn't find the house for 45 minutes after the alleged burglary. How do you lose a crime scene???
Also the Prosecutor never brought a witness in who could give an exact description of what was stolen. One witness on the night of the alleged burglary said fifteen hundred ($1500)Dollars was taken. She was available but not called to the stand. Her mother-in-law was however called and she could not state how much was taken in toto. She said she thought she was missing Three Hundred ($300)Dollars, but she never in three years asked her daughter-in-law how much she and her husband were missing. NEVER.

If these guys took something, where was it. They didn't find it on them and they didn't find it in the house or in the truck or around the truck. Hmmmm.

I could go on, to the next witness, a police Sargent who swore that the whole thing took place in the light of day, and that the only person he saw exit the vehicle came from the back seat of the vehicle (which makes more sense than the other testimony which says the guy got out of the front seat but ran toward the back of the SUV toward the cops.) He also testified that the police involved only used radio transmissions and never used their private cellphones to transmit information as that would be a violation of the patrol guide (the others all said that cell calls were the way they communicated.)

Well planned cross, focused on the little facts that would make the big lie true, have left this jury with a lot to think about. In prep John Scarpa and I thought through each and everything a person would have to observe to make the main theory of the governments case true. We then dismantled the case missing observation by missing observation. We also caught a few breaks along the way, but for the most part, we made those happen with well timed and well planned questions which we usually wouldn't ask (because we didn't know the answer) but did ask because the potential risk of a "bad answer" was little in exchange for the shot that the police officer would have to agree with our proposition expressed in our question.

In all, again when you see a case that is supposed to be open and shut, it rarely is. Look at it from all sides and see what is missing and what could be fabricated. Look for facts that would have to be true to support the main story, but could not possibly be true or at least could not be perceived. Then plan plan plan a cross-examination that rattles and gets the witness off guard, and do not give the witness wiggle room nor should you ask the "one question too many" that will allow a dying witness a new life.

I will let you know what the jury thought.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Of Heroes and Goats: Hero- Andy Law, Goat-Robert B. Ryan President – Beacon Woods Civic Association, Inc.

The "Bored" of the Beacon Woods Civic Association... one pompous un-neighborly group of geriatric curmudgeons. Today's old Goats...

Yesterday, I blogged about a 66 year old guy who could barely put bread on his table, who went to jail because his CIVIC ASSOCIATION tried to force him to fix up his Lawn... No one apparently thought "hey maybe we should just offer to do it for him. Maybe he is too down on his luck and depressed to help himself and since it effects our life too, it would be a nice thing to do." No they thought putting him in jail was a better idea...

But a Former USMC member one Andy Law new exactly what to do. Andy didn't know Mr. Prudente (the fellow who went to jail for having a brown lawn) and it didn't matter to Andy either. He just got in his truck with a few other volunteers and resod the lawn and fixed the sprinkler system that broke (causing the lawn to turn brown in the first place) and got back in his truck and went home.

Now as for Robert B. Ryan, the President of the stuck up Beacon Woods Civic Association, all he was able to do was contact the court after Mr. Law did all the work and say "Yeah judge it's fixed let the poor old man go."

Read the letter the "Uncivil" Civic Association sent to the local paper. They take no responsibility for their un-neighborly behavior. They say (now of course) they tried to help, but it seemed fairly easy if your goal was to help, what had to be done. Just ask one Andy Law. Instead Mr. Ryan blames his civic association member for failing to communicate...

For being a really good neighbor, Andy Law is a That Lawyer Dude Hero. For being a pompous ass, Robert B. Ryan, President of the Beacon Woods Civic Association, and in fact the whole board of the Association get to be That Lawyer Dude Goats.

Oh yeah, for all you Goat Farmers out there, please apologize to your goats...

Hattip: ABA Journal Law News Now

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catching Up: A Week of My Favorite Posts... by Others!

Ok, just because I am in trial, (in Queens County NY) doesn't mean I am not keeping up with my reading. It is my writing that goes to pot.

Anyway, I want to get this post up, so no more small talk:

1.Over at Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Prof. Berman had three interesting posts that make my list this week:

A. USSC is considering alternatives to incarceration... It is about time. It is a lot cheaper to spend 60K to rehab a person, than 25 a year for 10 years to incarcerate them. Article here

B. Berman also points out that the sheep we elect to office are creating gulags for sex offenders through zoning laws. Someone has to tell me Why the concept of having paid for his crime doesn't apply to sex offenders. Especially since we keep enlarging the definition of sex offender.

C. Then there is the story on how Florida wants to stop clusters from happening. That doesn't mean they want to allow convicted Sex offenders to live anywhere, just that they don't want too many in any one place. Trouble is, that will lead to banishment.

Money quote:
White says he would like to have sexual offenders housed in a designated commune-like facility in Hillsborough County. The facility would be gated, well marked and a good distance from churches and schools. "Along the perimeter of that facility you could have the postings and the markings that this is a certified sex offender location -- please keep children so many feet away and children beware," White said.

2. Staying with the Sex Offender theme Sex Crimes Blog:
A. has an article on the ACLU suit against Allegany County which has a sex offender "banishment law" where they say that a sex offender (no definition)must live 2500 feet away from places where children might congregate.

B. Prof. Yung also blogs about a NIMBY (Not in MY backyard)protest and petition drive that seeks to keep a sex offender rehab out of a Utah neighborhood. The rehab would be a football field away from a daycare "center".

C. Finally, we have the most ridiculous application of the Adam Walsh Act. A law meant to protect a child from child pornography will now cause the child to have to register, because she sent a nude picture OF HERSELF to a boy. Oh my God, How will this affect Disney stars????

Money Quote:
State Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, wrote the state's Megan's Law bill, the predecessor of the Adam Walsh Act, and said this case was not something the legislature envisioned.

That is because they are stupid. They only want to pander to crazed voters who they misled into believing there was a problem where one never existed. They haven't solved a real problem in so long that it is no wonder the courts are left to sort this garbage out. I have a case like this in Suffolk County NY. A Florida cop, broke the law and got a minor to send porn to him (the cop was pretending to be 14). Nevertheless, it is according to the District Attorney a crime. What is really absurd is that given the age difference, the boy and a real girl could have sex but not talk about it or simulate it over a computer?!? This garbage has really made the law appear foolish...

Ok there were a lot of other good stories about sex crimes, but we must move on.

3. There is a prolific blogger out there by the name of Radley Balko. He writes The Agitator and offers posts to Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog too. Radley was focused on Law this week:

A.This post at The Agitator leads to a story about a man who could not afford to keep up his lawn in his gated community. He had gotten hit with a 600 a month ARM increase and his adult daughter and two grand kids had to move in when they lost their home. Still the community board chose to spend nearly 1000 dollars on legal fees instead of helping the neighbor get his lawn in gear (He needed to resod the lawn which went brown in the Florida Sun when his sprinkler broke). They actually put the guy in prison. Sounds like debtor prison all over again. What was this judge thinking? I remember when I was at Legal Aid,District Court Judge Mike Steinberg fined a guy 20 dollars and then he paid the fine himself...Oh yeah, at 24k a year average cost to incarcerate someone, it should take about a month before it would be cheaper for the county to sod the home itself than keep the man in jail. Given his age and health, it could cost them more far sooner.

B. Not satisfied with lambasting stupid legislators, Balko also picks on a stupid judge, Mark Rusch, who in a capital murder case, had to be removed from the case because he signed a search warrant for police to search a lawyers office to get incriminating evidence against the lawyer's client... Then he had the evidence brought to his home where he and prosecutors handled it!!!! Where the heck did this idiot go to law school? And how the hell did he pass the bar exam? That is Constitutional law 101!!

Radley rightly asks:
Good to hear the judge was taken off the case, but shouldn’t this guy be removed from the bench?

C.Finally over at Slate Magazine, Balko tears apart what appears to be Obama's criminal justice policy. Namely block grants that neither Congress nor the President can oversee. Two grants he has named are for:

a)Neighborhood policing (which was a failed Clinton initiative that Bush phased out.)The Neighborhood policing initiative took $8 Billion Dollars and reduced crime by less than one(1%)percent and

b)the other is the Byrne grant for Drug Eradication which in fact took drugs off the streets but focused on low level pushers and favored numbers. This led one rouge cop to falsely arrest pretty much all the black people in his town on trumped up charges. I wish I had any hope that some of the Criminal Defense Lawyers supporting Obama were going to serve in his Justice Department or that he was going to name one to the Supreme Court...hmm on second thought...

Ok that's 9 stories. That is about all I have time for now. I hope to have some more tomorrow.
In the meantime, Jets won, blog's updated, and I am ready for more cross examination. All and all, a pretty good weekend.

Monday, October 06, 2008

An "Interesting" Observation On My Jury Selection: Do Naturalized Americans Care More About Jury Service?

I am trying a Burglary case in Queens Supreme Court in Kew Gardens NY. The trial is moving along well. We have 11 jurors after one day of jury selection. Interesting thing is that I have been picking juries in Queens County NY for about 15 years and every time, I get more and more naturalized Americans on the jury venre. This time, out of about 40 jurors, I had nearly 80% that were born somewhere other than the US.

Another oddity is that usually in Queens, in the beginning of a case, the Judge will ask if there is a reason someone cannot serve on the jury, and about half of the room will stand up and say that they cannot serve because of some injury, personal trip or for not speaking English. That again didn't happen. Only four people asked to leave and I think all but 1 request was really legitimate. I was surprised that a physician didn't try to get off of the trial(although the prosecutor threw him off). Maybe Naturalized Americans respect the duties and responsibilities of a Democracy more than those that get it as a birthright?

The First Monday in October: SCOTUS OPENS ITS NEW TERM

I have mentioned this before, but I love the First Monday in October. I used to love going to the Supreme Court of the United States as a student at Tufts. Catch the train or drive at an un-Godly hour; sleep as much as possible; walk from Union Station in the October air; stand in line to get in, and watch the 9 most important men (it was all men then) in law take their seats and begin to work.

The day before the First Monday in October is the Red Mass. It is a Catholic Mass said for the judges and lawyers. It is solemn and filled with Pomp and Circumstance. Prayers are said for these men and women that they will find the knowledge, justice and mercy that makes for good lawyering and judging.

Tomorrow the term begins. The big issue on the calendar so far is "Preemption". Are the states preempted by federal law from entering into certain areas that the feds now say are theirs? It is not an easy concept to grasp but it is important in for conservatives who believe in state's rights and are fighting the ever growing intrusive role of the federal government into what had formerly been states province.

The Associated Press (AP) gives us a rundown of some of the issues coming in front of the judges this year in an article here

As previously noted Scotus Blog has a rundown of the criminal cases the court faces. These include what an enterprise consists of in a Civil or Criminal RICO suit; Speedy trial delay; and issues surrounding the taking and use of Confessions and admissions at trial when arraignments have been delayed; or when someone gives police a statement without waiving his right to counsel, and it is used against him when he later takes the stand in his own defense. (In other words, if the confession was taken in absence of the waiver, it cannot be used on the Government's case in chief. The question is should it come in if the defendant takes the stand and says something other than what he told the police when Police took his statement without getting the defendant to properly wave his rights).

In all it may be a quieter year, but it holds some really important decisions ahead.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Craig's List is a Hotbed of Online Prostitution: So Who Knew??

This must be the week for Prostitution on blogs. Instapundit sites this article about the (sewer/treasure trove{?}) that Craig's List Erotic Service Section has become in the search for "sex on the run." I think the comments below the article are interesting however.

For example:
"Posted by whb on October 5, 2008 at 2:53 a.m.

It is illegal to pay to have sex, but it is legal to pay to watch people who are paid to have sex, i.e., a porno film.

As porno films are legal to buy and watch, they should therefore be legal to make (can't have one without the other).

So, all these professionals should advertise for a co-star in an upcoming film and set up a camera at the meeting location. This should legitimize the transaction, and the police can then focus their attention on something worthwhile."

I have had this thought myself a number of times. There are issues that the "service provider" would have to resolve but it is an interesting idea. (Let me know what you think in the comments section.)

Anyway, the comments to the article seem to indicate that even in "Bible Belt" Tenn. people get the idea that maybe law enforcement ought to be doing something other than chasing down randy adult men (and the adults who make money off of meeting their sex drive).

What these citizens do not realize (and I am surprised the Instapundit doesn't point out) is that these Prostitution stings are funded by good 'ole Uncle Sam. That's right, special funding is coming from the Justice Department (by way of The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, to local police departments that arrest these people. That puts cops off the street and takes local police department eyes off of the real crime in their cities and towns.

What's worse is The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act also known as HR.3887. This little baby wants to federalize the crime of prostitution. Can you imagine the increase in the US Justice Dept. budget if we did that?? Where will we get the personnel to deal with important stuff like Terrorist, Organized crime and Wall Street criminals? The scary thing is a version of the bill passed the House 405-02 in 2006! In fact the Justice Dept. opposes HR.3887

It is all part of the Neo-con game of keeping the Religious Right enraptured. No money expenditure is too large if it makes some televangelist happy...

Sex in the News: A quick look at Cyber Crimes and Prostitution in the Newspapers.

A sizable portion of my law practice deals with representing people accused of sex crimes on Long Island (Nassau & Suffolk Counties) and in New York City (especially in the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. Since I have found the Tweetdeck, I can do a lot of research as to what is happening around the country (and world)in practice areas that I focus on. Since I am starting a Burglary trial in Queens tomorrow, and I expect my blogging to suffer as usual, I am going to leave a few of the articles making news in the Sex Crime area with you.

The InquisitR reports that the Feds have charged a Gainsville Florida college student with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for installing a spy cam on a number of female college students computers after they had paid him to repair their hardware. Seems he was able to program the computer to start and send him pictures when the girls moved near the computer. Now that is Spyware at its absolute worst.

Then in Provo Utah, we have a randy doctor allegedly willing to exchange meds for sex. He was arrested for Prostitution. It is not determined if this was a straight trade Sex for meds or if in addition to prostitution, he was distributing meds illegally. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "check up".

Staying with the prostitution scheme for a while, we have MSNBC reporting that a mother and daughter team was running a brothel out of their apartment. The women advertised their services on Craigslist (which is like extending an invitation to Police to come and arrest you). The pair ages 22 and 39 were renting a home for the past year. Neighbors complained about the pair. The mother, distraught at the arrest blamed the economy for forcing them into a life of Prostitution. Now that leads us to our last story in this roundup:

The Edmonton Sun News reports that according to some social workers Prostitution is an addiction disease and that breaking the addiction is the key to leaving the Sex Trade. I am not sure that the paper or the shrinks have it right.
If we are talking an addiction to sex, then that would be Nymphomania. I think however, what the Sun is describing is an addiction to the money and life style of the high price prostitute or GFE Escort . The act of being a prostitute is just the tool to feed the addiction rather than the addiction itself. It is like saying that a burglar is addicted to burglary because he uses the money he gets to fund his drug habit. Now the issue of the addiction to dangerous sex or even the excitement of potentially being arrested is another part of this "prostitution addiction" however, I would say that at least in the escort world, that is not a prevalent factor to women entering the trade. The suggestion may be that this addiction is more applicable to street prostitutes, however the money there is far from easy nor is the life glamorous. Anyway, it will be interesting to see if the Edmonton initiative has an effect of reducing prostitution in any meaningful way.

Finally if you are looking for more information on Sex crimes, In addition to contacting me or keeping an eye on our blog, I want to recommend the Sex Crimes Blog to you. It is a wealth of information.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Judges Have to Give Brady Teeth: Sen. Stevens Judge Emmet Sullivan Blows the Chance to Fix Brady Violations Forever.

The Brady Doctrine (for those of you unfamiliar it is a doctrine that holds that the Prosecution must turn over to the Defense, all material that could probably have an effect on the verdict in a case)is a very strong rule that gutless courts have watered down to the point that it has almost no meaning. We have another opportunity to see the doctrine rendered meaningless in the case of US. v. Ted Stevens.

The allegations are that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, let a contractor do free work on his home, without declaring the "gift" as a contribution. He also lobbied for the contractor who was a friend of the Senator.

On Monday, the government allowed a witness that was helpful to the defense to return to Alaska without testifying (allegedly because of his health...I guess Washington DC doesn't have any decent medical care...) and that testimony would have been helpful to the defense. Then on Tuesday, it was learned that the government also suppressed evidence that the Senator had paid every bill he was rendered but that he wasn't rendered a bill and the Contractor (who is of course now the star witness against Sen. Stevens) TOLD THE FBI that he thought had he rendered a bill, Stevens would have paid it.

That is important information. It is a bit speculative, but it goes to a number of issues such as: did Stevens, who paid over 150K for improvements, know that the Contractor should didn't render a bill.

Now, during cross-examination the prosecutor informs the defense attorney about the statement. This wasn't a case of losing and finding an item. This was a case where the prosecution redacted an item. The actually took it out of the paperwork so that the defense would not know about it. Someone on the prosecution side took a pen and blacked out the statement.

The Court should have declared a Prosecution caused Mistrial and dismissed the case. No instead the Court offered to allow the defense some time and then also allow them to give a new opening statement. Now that is truly a toothless opportunity. The Original opening statement is a time when counsel lays out its case, It is the time to make hay of the good things your side will produce or stop the other side from producing. To open later is a possible offer for an item that inadvertently was lost and not turned over. This however was an intentional act.

The Court strongly scolded the prosecution, but then refused to do anything real about their breech of duty. I mean look at the actual words the Court used:

"The court has no confidence in the government's ability" to meet its obligations to ensure a fair trial..."


Coming from a federal judge that is a very strong indictment of the public integrity Section of the Justice department. The Justice Dept. gets a lot of perks from the court. The have an obligation to ensure a fair trial. Now the court should have said, if you can't figure out what might be expected to have an effect on the outcome of a trial, and you affirmatively take something out, then there needs to be a serious penalty. The only penalty I can think of is a dismissal with prejudice. Stevens is 82 years old. Are we really going to put a geriatric US Senator in jail?? This would have been the perfect time to show the government they cannot fool with the rules.

Maybe the court was afraid the appeals court would cut the legs out from under him. Who cares?? Let them overrule the decision, It will take the government years to appeal and then they would give the courts another chance to tell the prosecutors that playing fast and loose with the Brady Doctrine will not be tolerated.

Hattip ABA Journal Law News Now.

In The News: What People In Law Are Talking About

Ok everybody is talking about the Biden/Palin that doesn't make it "legalcentric".

Here is what my friends and I have been talking about in court, on Twitter and over the Internet:

1. Computer Crimes:

A young hacker got busted in Canada, made bail and was met at the prison door by the USA FBI. He is being arraigned tomorrow in the Southern District of NY Federal District Court.

in an unrelated case,
A CTO of a local Syosset company was arrested and charged with stealing 40K worth of equiptment from his former bosses when he refused to return the items after being fired. Why do I think this is going to be a "The said this stuff was mine" defense?

2. Law Practice Management

As the economy tightens so do payments to lawyers. Trying to collect a fee lately has been like trying to get the pearl from a clam...
This story talks about what Lawyers need to know about collections of their fees.

TIP: Get more up front. It may be the last time you see anything.

A good friend and business consultant, Andrea Cannavina has an article in this month's American Bar Association Publication Law Practice Management Sections: Law Practice Today. It is about working with a virtual assistant. I have to say that Andrea's work and that of her firm is excellent and I am truly amazed at the turn around and the excellent work. It also saves a lot of money and it can organize you.

3. SCOTUS Developments:

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Is about to go back into session. The First Monday of October has been the traditional start of the Scotus term. They will have a lot of things to rule on if I am hearing things correctly.

Seems the judges decided not to rehear the Kennedy Case which would have permitted the execution of someone who committed child rape. The Court heard and decided this case last term but right after the decision in late May 'O8. The court noted the nationwide cryout that the military has such a penalty, and ordered a briefing schedule. After seeing the briefs, the Justices decided not to pursue the issue any further and turned down the states' request for further argument.

It also however agreed to hear Seven criminal cases in this term. For a fuller story and a list of the Seven cases, here is the website link.

Have fun everyone, See you soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


The celebrity gossip website TMZ is reporting that Actress Heather Locklear was set up by an out of work gossip reporter Jill Ishkanian illegally obtained information about Heathers whereabouts by hacking into her former employers website, followed her, called in a false tip and then sold information to a paparazzi that Heather was about to be arrested. Ishkanian is also under investigation by the FBI.

In a telling statement, TMZ reports:Ishkanian apparently is the only witness who says Locklear was driving erratically and that she was drunk, even though it's already established she was not under the influence of alcohol.

This really calls into question the probable cause for Locklear's arrest.