Two new commissioners seated
Court Watch | 2008/02/29 05:02

The Pacifica City Council appointed Josh Gordon and Celeste Langille to the Pacifica Planning Commission Feb. 11.

Josh Gordon is an attorney with the San Francisco firm Morrison and Forester. He worked for a federal judge in San Francisco for one year and spent eight years with a top tier law firm in Palo Alto. He spent eight years working with autistic children in Santa Cruz.

Gordon is a member of the American Bar Association, Doctors Without Borders, Southern Poverty Law Center and the San Mateo County Bar Association.

On his application for the Planning Commission he wrote he wishes "to directly participate in the decisions affecting my community."

"I bring to the table an ability to rigorously analyze all sides of an issue, which is a product of my legal training and experience as a lawyer," he wrote.

Langille is an attorney who has represented environmental and community groups and has experience working with public agencies and officials. She is well versed in land-use laws, including CEQA, and real estate law. She has experience in document review and analysis.

She is a member of the California Bar Association and the Sierra Club.



Lawyers ask for more time to redefine practice of law
Legal Interview | 2008/02/29 04:59

Hawaii attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to give them more time to develop proposed rules that will define the practice of law.

The Hawaii State Bar Association asked the court for an extension until March 28 to fine-tune its earlier proposal to change the court's rules. Only licensed attorneys can practice law in Hawaii, but what constitutes the practice of law is not clearly defined.

The association now is working with real estate professionals and certified public accountants, two of the professional groups that potentially would be affected by the rule change.

The debate started months ago when lawyers suggested clarifying the rules that define the practice of law. But critics said the suggested definition was too broad and would potentially bump into other professions such as insurance, real estate, accounting, paralegals and legal document service providers.



Upcoming Events in the NY Legal Community
Legal Business | 2008/02/29 03:29
Thurs. Feb. 28, MBBA Fundraiser, 7:45 p.m.
The play “Cat on a Tin Roof,” by Tennessee Williams. A fundraiser event for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. For information, contact Dakota D. Ramseur: (646) 773-0073.

* * *

Sat. March 1, CLE: NYSDA’s 22nd Annual Metropolitan Trainer, 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
Speakers: Robert Epstein, Tom Klein, Joann Macri, Edward Nowak, Steven Zeldman. Approved for (6.5) CLE credits, including (1) credit toward Ethics. Held at Tishman Auditorium, New York University School of Law, Washington Square South, Manhattan. Registration required by Wednesday, Feb. 27.  For information or to register, contact the New York State Defenders Association.

* * *

Tues. Mar. 4, CLE: Evidence Update, 6–8 p.m.
Speaker: Professor Richard T. Farrell, Brooklyn Law School, and author Prince-Richardson on Evidence (11th ed. & Supp. 2008). Approved for (2) CLE credits toward Skills. Held at the Brooklyn Bar Association, 123 Remsen St. For information or to register, contact the Brooklyn Bar: (718) 624-0675 x210; Fax: (718) 797-1713; or email: malfano@brooklynbar.org.

* * *

Tues. March 4, CLE: Appellate Practice, 6 p.m.
Speaker: Hon. Theodore T. Jones, NYS Court of Appeals. Approved for (1) CLE credit toward Professional Practice. Columbian Lawyers’ monthly dinner meeting. Held at Rex Manor, 1100 60th St., Brooklyn (at 11th Avenue). Reservations required. For information or reservations, contact the Columbian Lawyers Association: (718) 875-0158.

* * *

Thurs. March 6, BLSPI’s 18th Charity Auction: Jeopardy, 5 p.m.; silent auction, 6 p.m.; live auction, 7 p.m.
Held at Brooklyn Law School in the Subotnick Center, (10th and 11th floors), 250 Joralemon St. Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest are seeking donations. The auction supports symposia, service trips and unfunded public interest summer internships. Information about the lots to be auctioned off will be available at www.blspiauction.com, as the date approaches. For information contact BLSPI: (718) 780-7549; or Michael J. Daily, fundraising chair: Michael.dailey@brooklaw.edu.


Suspect accused of running fake raffle
Areas of Focus | 2008/02/29 03:14
A call to police from a Troy sports bar led to the arrest of a Royal Oak man believed to be involved in an area-wide fraudulent sports raffle sales scheme.

A bar patron apparently realized the man selling raffle tickets purportedly for his 8-year-old son's hockey team might be the same person the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) issued a warning about on its Web site earlier this month.

Officers took Robert Eugene Yontz, 34, into custody shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday at Field of Dreams sports bar, 1090 Rochester Road, Troy.

Yontz was arraigned Monday for larceny by false pretenses second or subsequent offense, a five-year felony. Yontz is held in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond pending a pre-exam conference March 10 in Troy's 52-4 District Court.

Yontz had 60 raffle ticket stubs with the names of 32 people, including two persons who purchased the $5 tickets at Field of Dreams that night, said Troy Police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck . Yontz had $83 on him when arrested, Scherlinck said.

The alleged fraudulent raffle tickets contained a Web site for MAHA which on Feb. 4 warned about a person selling fraudulent tickets claiming they benefit MAHA.

MAHA attorney Steven Stapleton said the scam has been ongoing since December.



February 2008 CA Bar Exam Deadlines
Court News | 2008/02/28 22:05
FEBRUARY 2008 CALIFORNIA BAR EXAMINATION INFORMATION

DATE, TIME, LOCATIONS, FEES AND IMPORTANT DEADLINES
DATE: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, February 26, 27 and 28, 2008
TIME: Morning and Afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Important Dates and Deadlines for the February 2008 California Bar Examination

Timely Filing Deadline November 1, 2007
$50 Late Filing Fee November 2, 2007 - November 30, 2007
$250 Late Filing Fee December 1, 2007 - January 15, 2008
Withdrawal Deadline (60% refund - 30 days after timely filing) December 3, 2007
Withdrawal Deadline (30% refund - 45 days after timely filing) December 17, 2007
Final Deadline to Withdraw from Examination (No refund) February 13, 2008
Final Filing Deadline January 15, 2008
Change of Address Deadline January 15, 2008
Examination Type Change Request January 15, 2008 (for Attorney Applicants only)
Test Center Change Request Deadline January 15, 2008
Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline January 15, 2008 (Petitions must be complete)
Final Eligibility Deadline February 13, 2008
Proof of Admission (first-time Attorney Applicants) February 13, 2008
Proof of Law Study (first-time Applicant for the General Bar Examination) February 13, 2008


James E. Felman Speaks to Senate on Drugs
Legal Topics | 2008/02/28 00:58
The crack-powder disparity is simply wrong and the time to fix it is now," stated James E. Felman in his remarks on behalf of the American Bar Association before the Senate Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs Subcommittee, earlier today. The ABA is part of a broad consensus that finds disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses "unjustifiable and plainly unjust."

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 enacted the 100-to-1 quantity sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, which are pharmacologically identical drugs.  Reports by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2002 and 2007 opposed the sentencing disparity.  In December 2007, the commission – which had in May 2007 voted to adjust downward the sentencing guidelines relative to crack cocaine offenses and had urged Congress to end the 100-1 disparity – voted unanimously to make the guidelines change retroactive.

Felman, co-chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section Committee on Sentencing, appeared at the hearing, Federal Cocaine Sentencing Laws: Reforming the 100:1 Crack Powder Disparity.  Speaking to the vastness of the disparity, Felman stated, "Crimes involving just five grams of crack, 10 to 50 doses, receive the same five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence as crimes involving 500 grams of powder cocaine, 2,500 to 5,000 doses."

Citing the 2007 Sentencing Commission report, Felman also highlighted the disparity's effect on African Americans, saying that, while African Americans constituted 82 percent of those sentenced under federal crack cocaine laws, "66 percent of those who use crack cocaine are Caucasian or Hispanic." Because of the disparity, "African Americans [spend] substantially more time in federal prisons for drug offenses than Caucasian offenders."

Felman concluded by urging Congress to act to correct the disparity, citing legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Biden, a member of the Judiciary Committee. “Enactment of S.1711 would restore fairness and a sound foundation to federal sentencing policy regarding cocaine offenses by ending the disparate treatment of crack versus cocaine offenses and by refocusing federal policy toward major drug traffickers involved with weapons and violence.”

You may read the full prepared remarks by Mr. Felman http://www.abanet.org/poladv/letters/crimlaw/2008feb12_crackdisparity_t.pdf

For the last ten years, Felman has organized and moderated the Annual National Seminar on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which is jointly sponsored by the Federal Bar Association and the United States Sentencing Commission.  In addition to being the co-chair of the Committee on Sentencing of the ABA, Felman also served as former co-chair of the ABA’s Committee on Corrections and Sentencing.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


National Institute on White Collar Crime March 5-7
Legal Business | 2008/02/28 00:54
More  than 1,300 legal practitioners, including judges, state and local prosecutors, law enforcement officials, defense attorneys and members of the academic community will convene in Miami for the 22nd Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, hosted by the American Bar Association Center for Continuing Legal Education and the ABA Criminal Justice Section. This year’s institute will deliver information on a variety of “white collar crimes,” such as mortgage fraud, health care fraud, money laundering and many others.

This year’s National Institute on White Collar Crime will take place March 5 – 7, with headquarters at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.

The opening program, “White Collar Basics: The Fundamentals,” a National Institute first, will feature information on navigating parallel proceedings, internal investigations, voluntary disclosures, and handling subpoenas and search warrants. Experienced practitioners will lead this discussion that is geared toward new white collar crime practitioners.

Panelists will also be on-hand to explore various aspects of the KPMG case, the largest criminal tax case ever filed. Ronald J. Nessim, co-chair of the ABA Committee on White Collar Crime, will discuss the KPMG case, covering areas such as attorney-client privilege waivers, deferred prosecution agreements and other related proceedings.

In addition, Under Secretary Stuart A. Levey, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Department of the Treasury, will provide the keynote address Thursday, March 6, during the White Collar Crime Committee Luncheon.

Breakout Session Highlights:



Thursday, March 6

“U.S. Sentencing Guidelines: A View from the Bench” offers a judge’s perspective on the changes that have been made since the implementation of the new sentencing guidelines three years ago, 11 a.m.

“Criminal Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement” will consider the various issues that arise in connection with the criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, 11 a.m.

“Public Corruption: The FBI is Cracking Down and What White Collar Practitioners Should Know” will explore various issues that arise in public corruption investigations and trials, 11 a.m.

“Ethical Issues in White Collar Crimes” will include discussion on a wide range of ethical issues that arise in white collar investigations, including limitations on types of evidence, methods of obtaining evidence, contact with represented parties and other issues, 2 p.m.

“Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture” will review recent developments and consider some of the more effective strategies for use in such cases, 3:45 p.m.



Friday, March 7

“Welcome to the Field of Healthcare Fraud Defense, Where Nothing Is Static and ‘Victory’ Is Hard to Define” will explore the government’s investigation of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, national chains and other healthcare providers, 11:15 a.m.

“Environmental Crime” will end the conference with discussion of current major prosecutions, the increase in work-place safety investigations and vessel pollution cases, 11:15 a.m.

For more information on the speakers and programs, click here.

National Institutes are known to members of the ABA and the legal profession as high-quality, carefully produced continuing legal education seminars held live at locations throughout the country. These 1-3 day conferences use a combination of lectures and workshops to present valuable information to the legal profession. In addition to the legal instruction offered, they provide a unique networking opportunity for lawyers and faculty who practice in the same or related areas of interest.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


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