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Newburgh has the most and only number of women in municipal court judges’ seats


They are the only female judges in Orange County municipal courts. They are part of the first predominantly female bench of the Newburgh Municipal Court. One is the first woman of color to be a judge there.

Judges Anika Mohammed, 35, and Joanne Matthews Forbes, 54, say it makes sense.

“We reflect the people we serve,” said Matthews Forbes.

Newburgh’s population is 51% female, according to 2019 data from the US Census Bureau. Almost 60% of residents identify as a race other than white. And 21% of those surveyed from 2015 to 2019 said they were born abroad.

They join the principal judge Paul Trachte. The Newburgh court consists of three judges; one is a 10-year appointment by the city government and the other two are elected positions.

Matthews Forbes and Mohammed are both first generation Americans with close ties to the Newburgh community.

“It’s really a mosaic of people here,” said Matthews Forbes. “We are an inclusive community and I would like to think that we are all working together towards a common good. “

Her father arrived in the United States in the late 1950s and her mother arrived in the 1960s, both from Greece.

Although Matthews Forbes was born and raised in Newburgh, his first language is Greek. She graduated from the Newburgh Free Academy in 1985.

“I consider myself to be a girl from Newburgh,” Matthews Forbes said. “I was created by this city.”

Mohammed, born in the Bronx, came to Orange County with his family and settled in Woodbury. Mohammed moved to Newburgh last month and has volunteered in the community for 11 years, she said.

Mohammed’s father was a Newburgh businessman from Trinidad. He ran a liquor store on Lake Street.

“I think anybody who comes before a judge, at some point, is going to be like ‘Hey, what would it be like to be that person?’ or “How would I have made a different decision?” or whatever thoughts you sometimes have as a lawyer, ”Mohammed said.

Mohammed was appointed by Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey to take the seat of Judge Peter Kulkin when he retired earlier this year. She was appointed on July 12.

Mohammed was a lawyer with his own local law firms in Orange County. She had to close her practice when she was appointed a full-time judge.

Matthews Forbes was appointed by city council for her 10-year term in February after Justice E. Loren Williams won an election to the state’s Supreme Court last year.

“I always dreamed, even when I was in law school, of one day becoming a judge,” said Matthews Forbes. “It was the ultimate goal of my career.”

Before becoming a judge, she spent 15 years as a lawyer in a private practice and 15 years working for the justice system. She worked as a legal clerk at the Supreme Court level and worked for the judiciary in the appeal division and surrogate court.

When Williams’ position became open, Matthews Forbes saw it as a “call,” she said.

“Just when I was hoping this could be a good position for me, someone sent me this photo,” said Matthews Forbes.

She held up a framed black-and-white photo of two men standing on the steps of what used to be Broadway School and is now the city’s courthouse.

One of the men was Matthews Forbes’ father.

“When I saw this picture… it was kind of like my dad was like, ‘Yo, go apply for this job,’” Matthews Forbes said.


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Families in Little Village face utility disconnections as they wait for financial relief


By the time Patricia Vazquez was approved for funds through the Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance Program, she was struggling to keep her utilities in her Little Village apartment.

Vazquez, a single mother of two, said gas to her apartment was cut because she owed about $ 1,400. She had sold clothes and jewelry to make a payment to keep her electricity, and she was six months behind on the rent.

“Sometimes I say, I can’t anymore, what am I going to do,” Vazquez said in Spanish. “But I see my sons and I continue. ”

The program is the third round of rent assistance the city administered during the coronavirus pandemic that comes from federal relief funds. In June, residents across town requested this round of funds, which includes up to 15 months of rent assistance and financial assistance to pay utility bills. Nearly two months after filing the claims, Little Village housing advocates said many, like Vazquez, were eagerly awaiting the money.

Through Únete La Villita – a community organization – Vazquez received an email on July 23 telling her that she had been approved for the program. But by then, the gas in his apartment had been disconnected and it would take about a week of phone calls before the utility was reconnected.

Simone Alexander, who is part of Únete La Villita, said the group heard from other families struggling to keep basic utilities in their homes while awaiting funds from the city. The group worked with local aldermanic offices and other organizations to keep tenants in their homes.

The city’s housing department, which oversees the emergency housing assistance program, said it was “processing requests as quickly as possible,” department spokeswoman Eugenia Orr said in a report. -mail. The department has started releasing funds and expects to approve 8,000 to 9,000 applications in this latest round, Orr said.

The Housing Department plans to open another round of rent subsidies in the fall, Orr said.

The need for funds comes as the moratoriums on evictions end in Illinois and across the country. Beginning August 1, Illinois landlords can file eviction requests for tenants in arrears with rent, although eviction orders don’t go into effect until August 31.

Since the annual winter moratorium on utility disconnections ended on March 31, companies have been able to continue to disconnect, according to an earlier press release from Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office.

Although Únete La Villita received an email stating that Vazquez had been approved to receive funds, Alexander said it was not clear when exactly all funds would be released to help pay off rent and utilities. suffering public.

Vazquez said she and her sons lived without gas by using an electric stove to cook and taking showers without hot water.

Patricia Vazquez says her gas was cut off when she fell behind on payments.
Pat Nabong / Sun-Times

A letter the family received on July 19 said the gas was being used without an active account and would be disconnected. Vazquez said she was told she had to pay whatever she owed before her account could be reconnected.

Vazquez said she felt more in debt than ever. She bounced around different factory jobs without being able to land a stable one during the pandemic. And after her son developed medical problems, she had to stay home during the day.

“God willing, help will come and everything will work out,” Vazquez said before his gas was restored.

In a statement, People’s Gas said the company offers its customers longer and more flexible payment plans that include a 10% down payment.

“As the conditions surrounding COVID-19 continue to change, we remain committed to providing the safe and reliable energy our customers depend on,” the company said in the statement. “We have provided additional benefits to help customers facing economic hardship due to the pandemic, including $ 18 million bill payment assistance.”

People’s Gas had not received funds from the city to cover unpaid customers’ bills on Saturday.

Tom Dominguez, a spokesperson for ComEd, said the company has attempted to identify customers who could benefit from state and city administered assistance programs. The company has sent letters to customers eligible for the city’s emergency rental assistance program and has also attempted to refer customers to other assistance grants or extended payment plans, said Dominguez.

Last fall, the number of ComEd customers signed up for payment plans increased 98%, Dominguez said.

Another woman from Little Village said her power was cut days before housing advocates with Únete received an email stating that her request had been approved for emergency rent assistance.

The 32-year-old, who asked not to be named, said her electricity was cut off for about a week before receiving help from community organizations who helped her pay off her account balance. She spent part of that week with a relative seeking refuge from the summer temperatures while taking her daughter to a park to cool off.

The housing department eventually sent funds to ComEd to cover the woman’s account as well, Alexander said.

She said she felt elated when her power was restored, turning on the family’s air conditioning unit and charging their electronics.

The woman said her family, which includes two daughters and her partner, began to struggle after her partner lost her job at the factory shortly after the coronavirus pandemic caused a shutdown across the country. ‘State. Since then he has worked in construction when he could or taken odd jobs with his neighbors, she said.

“Thank God many people have been put in our way to help us and fight for our rights,” she said.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.

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LegalZoom.com Stock is ready to rally


The stock of online legal and compliance solutions platform LegalZoom (NYSE: LZ) is in price discovery mode after its recent IPO.

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August 3, 2021

4 minutes to read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Online legal and compliance solutions platform LegalZoom (NYSE: LZ) the stock is in price discovery mode after its recent IPO. The two-decade-old Glendale, Calif., Company is a leading pioneer of the subscription model for legal forms, companiess compliance, trademarks and copyrights, and legal advice. The Company’s mission is to democratize the law with services such as business forms, constitution, wills, power of attorney forms, estate planning and IP protection. Rather than paying high fees to lawyers to use pre-defined documents, you can just sign up and have access to these common forms. The company has been around for two decades and continues to grow as more and more people go into running their own businesses and dealing with legal matters in a do it yourself (DIY) way. LegalZoom inaugurates the new normal which was sped up by COVID-19[female[feminine pushing forward e-commerce, digital acceptance, migration and innovation. Cautious investors looking for exposure can watch for timely pullbacks in LegalZoom stocks.

About LegalZoom

LegalZoom is a subscription service that provides legal software and services to small businesses and individuals. The company was founded in 2001 in Glendale, California. It revolutionized the legal services market by being one of the first companies to provide affordable and easily accessible technology to help clients create legal documents on their own. The competition includes RocketLawyer and LegalShield and obviously real lawyers and law firms. LegalZoom operated profitably until the last quarter. The Company generated $ 408 million in 2020 with operating income of $ 46 million. In 2020, the Company continued to grow revenues by 18% despite the pandemic to $ 470 million with $ 49 million in operating profit. In the first quarter of 2021, nearly 60% of new customers opted for the annual subscription on their first purchase. Average revenue per transaction was $ 488 in the first quarter of 2021. Revenue for the first quarter of 2021 increased 27% year-on-year to $ 134.8 million, equivalent to a rate of annual execution of approximately $ 540 million. However, the Company lost (- $ 4.4 million). The IPO was for 19.1 million shares between $ 24 and $ 27, which allows the Company to raise $ 535 million during the IPO. The shares actually opened at $ 36.75 when it went public on June 30, 2021. The Company plans to use the proceeds and the private placement to fully repay the outstanding debt of $ 523 million under its agreement. credit 2018.

Broker upgrades

On July 21, 2021, eight brokerage firms simultaneously launched the hedging of LegalZoom shares. Raymond James launched LegalZoom with a Market Perform rating. JMP Securities started off outperforming the market with a price target of $ 48. William Blair started off with an outperformance note. Credit Suisse started its hedging with an outperformance rating and a price target of $ 50. Morgan Stanley launched a cover with an equal weight rating and a price target of $ 44. Citigroup started out with a target of neutral price and $ 40. Barclays started off with an overweight rating and a price target of $ 45. Jeffries started coverage with a Hold odds and a price target of $ 39. On July 26, 2021, Credit Suisse raised the LegalZoom price target to $ 50 by stating, “In accordance with the methodology we use to assess our Internet coverage universe in the United States, our target price of $ 50 for LZ shares is based on the DCF which assumes a WACC of 11.5% and a terminal growth rate of 3%. Risks include competition with other online and offline solutions, slower-than-expected adoption of CMBs from online legal services, macroeconomic uncertainty and regulatory risk.

LZ opportunistic withdrawal levels

Using rifle cards over the daily period provides an accurate view of the price action for LZ stock. As this is a recent IPO, data is still accumulating to produce the indicators on the Guns Daily and Weekly Chart. However, the daily chart shows the basic indicators. Keep in mind that stocks always know the price discovery period until at least the release and reaction of the first earnings report. Daily gun chart peaked perfectly at $ 40.94 Fibonacci level (fib). The 5-period daily moving average (MA) fell to $ 35.90 fib. However, stocks attempted to wind up on the 15-period daily MA at $ 36.76 fib. The shares formed a sell trigger of the Daily High Market Structure (MSH) when breaking below $ 39.90. The corresponding daily weak market structure (MSL) buy triggered on the rising breakthrough $ 35.42. Risk tolerant investors can watch for opportunistic withdrawal levels at $ 34.67 fib, $ 33.93 fib, $ 33.65, and $ 32.74 fib. The upward trajectories range from the $ 39.90 level to the $ 43 level.

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Circuit 2 authorizes all Manhattan legal sanctions against Liebowitz


2nd United States Circuit Court, 500 Pearl Street Manhattan. REUTERS / Caitlin Ochs

  • Liebowitz allegedly lied about copyright registration, other aspects of the case
  • Manhattan court fined notorious lawyer, nationwide penalties
  • The 2nd Circuit confirms all sanctions

The names of companies and law firms shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this functionality as we continue to test and develop in beta. We appreciate comments, which you can provide using the comments tab on the right of the page.

(Reuters) – The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed for the second time copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz’s challenge to the sanctions in a Manhattan federal court, saying they were justified on the basis of his lies in the district court and other faults.

The opinion, written by U.S. Circuit Chief Justice Debra Ann Livingston for a three-judge panel, reiterated that the nation-wide non-monetary sanctions against Liebowitz were appropriate and confirmed more than $ 100,000 in honoraria d lawyer and other monetary penalties, deeming they were “good in” the United States. At the discretion of District Judge Jesse Furman.

In June, the 2nd Circuit upheld Furman’s non-pecuniary penalties, which required Liebowitz to serve his clients Furman’s order and file a copy of it in his pending cases across the country.

Liebowitz is known to have filed thousands of copyright infringement complaints on behalf of photographers and has faced penalties in several federal courts for misconduct, including lying under oath and violating court orders. The Southern District of New York Grievance Committee suspended Liebowitz from its practice last year, citing its “reluctance to change despite 19 formal sanctions and dozens of other reprimands and warnings from judges across the country.”

Friday’s opinion stems from a lawsuit brought by Liebowitz against Bandshell Artist Management for photographer Arthur Usherson in 2019. McGuireWoods’ Brad Newberg, who represented Bandshell in the underlying case, said in an email that he and his client were “extremely happy” with the decision.

Liebowitz’s attorney, Brian Jacobs of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Liebowitz’s law firm.

Liebowitz was penalized by Furman for falsely claiming that the copyright in question was registered before the complaint was filed, lied to the court and violated court orders. On Friday Livingston, joined by circuit judges Richard Wesley and Susan Carney, confirmed Furman’s full penalties.

Liebowitz’s misconduct “deserved sanctions reserved for lawyers and litigants who demonstrate by their actions that unusual measures are necessary to deter future bad behavior, protect other litigants and maintain the integrity of the judicial system,” said Livingston. .

Liebowitz had challenged Furman’s findings that he lied about a mediation session he and his client had missed and acted in bad faith in pursuing Ushesson’s claim without a registered copyright.

Livingston said Furman had good reason to conclude that Liebowitz’s testimony about mediation was “untrustworthy” based on his “patently unbelievable” claims about it and his contradiction by the mediator himself.

Liebowitz also brought and maintained the lawsuit in bad faith, said Livingston, finding that he knew copyright was not registered during the case, failed to correct his statements in court and has “actively blocked” the discovery, “in the hope of settling the matter before the truth has emerged.”

Livingston rejected Liebowitz’s arguments against attorney fees and said the remaining $ 20,000 in penalties was “modest, in terms of the costs imposed on Bandshell, his attorneys and the court.”

The case is Liebowitz v. Bandshell Artist Mgmt, 2nd US Court of Appeals, # 20-2304

For Liebowitz: Brian Jacobs de Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello

For Bandshell: Brad Newberg of McGuireWoods

Read more:

2nd Circuit Says Nationwide Sanctions Against Copyright Lawyer Liebowitz

2nd Circuit skeptical of copyright lawyer Liebowitz’s sanction appeal

Blake brittain

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]

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Do convenience stores accepting food aid funds offer enough healthy choices?


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – It’s a struggle for many Ohioans to put fresh food on the table, especially those who live in rural areas.

19 Surveys have shown that gas stations and dollar stores are sometimes their only options.

We took a look at what constitutes healthy eating for people who rely on food stamps, checking whether local stores accepting government money stock enough healthy options.

If you’ve ever wondered why this lonely banana is sitting all alone on a gas station counter, there’s a reason.

They can accept SNAP benefits, known as food stamps, and must meet certain requirements.

The USDA defines “staple foods” as the staple foods that are an important part of a person’s diet.

They do not include prepared foods or heated foods in this category.

The four staple food categories are:

  1. Fruits or vegetables (including canned foods)
  2. Meat, poultry or fish (including canned tuna)
  3. Dairy products (including grated cheese)
  4. Breads or cereals

Stores must regularly stock at least three types of each staple food category in order to accept SNAP benefits.

19 Investigations have found that tater tots are considered vegetables, after all, they belong to the potato family – and beef jerky and chicken nuggets count as meat.

These might not be the healthiest options, but according to the USDA, they’re good enough.

19 Investigators infiltrated to check some stores accepting federal funding to see if they were stocking enough of these necessary foods.

Experts said some stores barely meet the requirements.

We checked three stores in Holmes County, where 11% of people are food insecure.

This included a specialty store, gas station convenience store, and health food store.

Every store we checked in Millersburg complied with the USDA guidelines we listed above.

We have found that finding fresh food is not a problem in Holmes County.

It’s different from some other rural areas, where people may have to drive more than 10 minutes to get to a grocery store or gas station for food.

This part of the Appalachians is unique. It is also an Amish country, and it is a big driver of the local economy.

The stores we visited are essential for grocery shopping, but they are also an important stop for visitors.

Lavern Miller checks the products at the store he owns in Millersburg, Trail Side Deli.(WOIO)

One of the stores we stopped by was Trail Side Deli.

“We have about 35 different kinds of meat and 35 different kinds of cheese.” said owner Lavern Miller.

Its cheeses are made locally in Amish country.

Miller knows his clients.

“Just meeting people and making friends is huge for us,” Miller said.

Whether they live here or are visiting, they want fresh, healthy food.

It’s not difficult for Miller to get to his store.

Some people walk for miles to shop here.

Trail Side Deli accepts food stamps.

People who depend on it can get more than prepackaged canned food here.

“People come in with it, we honor it, we help them. For me, it was important to serve these types of people, ”Miller said.

Stores can make a lot of money if they accept food stamps.

But many advocates report that they don’t offer enough healthy choices.

A few years ago, Congress passed legislation to increase healthy food choices for people who depend on food stamps.

But our national investigation team found that no changes had yet been implemented.

You can watch their story here.

Copyright 2021 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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Protests erupt at the funeral of the Haitian president, guests take shelter


CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti, July 23 (Reuters) – The funeral of assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moise on Friday was disrupted by gunfire fired nearby and riot gas used on protesters, prompting a high-level US delegation from abruptly and other dignitaries to dodge in vehicles for safety.

The state funeral in the northern city of Cap-Haitien was meant to foster national unity, but the unrest reflected deep division over the June 7 atrocity, in which foreign gunmen apparently entered without being challenged in the presidential residence and shot Moses on several occasions, also injuring his wife.

Few answers have emerged as to who planned the murder, or why.

There were no immediate reports of injuries among protesters or authorities on Friday, and no indication that any guests at the funeral were in danger. Reuters witnesses smelled gas and heard detonations believed to be gunshots outside the service site.

Smoke spread through the compound. Dozens of police and security officials formed protective lines around Haitian officials in the stands.

US President Joe Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield was present at the head of the US delegation. The delegation heard the gunshots and were heading home a little earlier than expected, according to a source familiar with the matter.

“The presidential delegation is safe and sound in light of the shooting outside the funeral,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

“We are deeply concerned about the unrest in Haiti.

Earlier, in remarks made when the delegation arrived in Cap-Haitien, Thomas-Greenfield called on the new Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry to create the conditions for the legislative and presidential elections “as soon as possible”.

“The Haitian people deserve democracy, stability, security and prosperity, and we are by their side in this time of crisis,” Thomas-Greenfield said on Twitter. “We urge everyone to speak out peacefully and to refrain from all violence.”


The unrest erupted minutes after a marching band and a church choir opened the Moise ceremony.

The service did take place, with speeches from family members, but it was punctuated by angry cries from supporters accusing authorities of being responsible for Moise’s death. Their lyrics were sometimes drowned out by heavy swells of dark, recorded church music.

The coffin was placed in a concrete tomb about ten feet (three meters) deep, and covered with iron bars, then sealed with wooden planks, cement and large boulders. The grave was near a mausoleum of Moise’s father, who died last year a few years under 100.

Porters in military uniform carry the coffin containing the body of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise after he was shot dead at his home in Port-au-Prince earlier this month in Cap-Haitien on July 23, 2021. REUTERS / Ricardo Arduengo

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Haitian officials arriving at the event encountered verbal anger from protesters, with one man calling police chief Leon Charles a “criminal.”

“Why do you have all this security, where were the police the day the president was assassinated?” said a protester.

Protests by Moise supporters shook Cap-Haitien, the hometown of the assassinated leader, for three days.

Protesters expressed their anger at the many unanswered questions about the assassination, including who planned it and why.

“You lost a battle, but the war is not over. We have to do you justice, ”said President Martine Moise’s widow in Haitian Creole, her face almost hidden under a wide-brimmed black hat and her right arm in a sling after being injured in the attack.

She said the system was against him, citing powerful business interests seen in the country as a de facto oligarchy, without giving details.

“Cry out for justice. We don’t want revenge, we want justice,” she said.

For some, the assassination was a reminder of the continued influence of foreign actors in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, despite becoming the first state in Latin America and the Caribbean to become independent from Europe. at the beginning of the 19th century.

The attack was carried out by a group that included 26 former Colombian soldiers, at least six of whom had previously received US military training. Haitian Americans were also among the accused.

The mercenaries were disguised as US Drug Enforcement Administration agents, a ruse that helped them enter Moise’s home without any resistance from his security side, authorities said. One of the arrested men, an American of Haitian descent, had previously worked as an informant for the DEA.

The turmoil has pushed Haiti up the foreign policy priorities of US President Joe Biden and on Thursday the State Department appointed a special envoy for the country. But Biden rejected a request by Haiti’s interim rulers to send troops to protect infrastructure.

Moses himself faced massive protests. He was accused in a Senate audit of being involved in the embezzlement of more than $ 2 billion in Venezuelan aid and angered his opponents by ruling by decree and seeking to expand presidential power.

Gang violence increased under his watch and the economy suffered.

However, support seemed strong in his hometown. Banners celebrating Moses festooned the buildings along the narrow streets of the old town of Cap-Haitien, with proclamations in Creole, including “They killed the body, but the dream will never die” and “Jovenel Moise – defender of the poor “.

Report by Dave Graham in Mexico City and André Paultre in Cap-Haitien; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Additional reporting by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez in Santo Domingo and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Giles Elgood and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Belarusian authorities initiate purge of civic groups


Belarusian government moves close tens organizations that were the backbone of the country’s once vibrant civil society.

These groups work on issues such as the rights of people with disabilities, the environment, media freedoms, retiree rights, among others. They include internationally renowned organizations such as the Belarusian Association of Journalists founded by Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich, and the Belarusian Press Club.

Today, the Minsk city government is shutting down Lawtrend and Human Constant, leading groups that document and provide legal services to victims of rights violations, including pro bono legal defense, and conduct legislative analysis. The authorities used the Russian term “liquidated” which is common for such closure procedures, but Stalinist overtones resonate.

The forced closures came a week after numerous raids on more than 40 groups, the seizure of equipment and the arrest of many of the country’s most prominent human rights activists who are now in detention pending trial.

These recent measures are the latest in a year of tyranny in Belarus, as the government continues to punish those who took to the streets in the aftermath of the August 9 presidential election to protest what they saw as a stolen election and demand change. More than 500 people are in prison on charges related to the protests. Authorities arrested journalists, raided and shut down media outlets, and now they are eviscerating groups that protect a wide range of rights. They have also muzzled the lawyers, who cannot even discuss the charges against their clients in these cases without facing the charges themselves.

It should come as no surprise that a government that will resort to a false bomb threat to force a plane to land in order to arrest an activist, does not hesitate to take action to close to swing a metaphorical ax across Civil society.

For decades, human rights and other civil society groups have managed to survive despite the authoritarian Lukashenka autocracy. They suffered serial harassment, marginalization and arrest of staff members. But this week’s purge marks the end of civil society in Belarus as we know it. He will certainly live, but probably underground and in exile.

Let’s stop calling it a crackdown. At a government meeting on July 22, President Alexander Lukashenka himself shamelessly called recent actions “”a purge. “These actions are a disgrace and the main international players should unite their efforts to defend Belarusian civil society and provide a strong response.

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End of New York deportations moratorium has supporters fearful and seeking solutions


The words used in Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory Thursday are generally reserved for catastrophes of biblical proportions.

“Tsunami.” “Tsunami.” “Crisis.”

“I enjoy the language, expressing the level of concern,” said Eli Berkowitz, Poughkeepsie organizer for Community Voices Heard. “And also, just a reminder, that expulsions are not an act of God.”

At the end of next month, the New York evictions moratorium, which has been a key part of helping thousands of people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to end. With around 40 more days to prepare, housing and community advocates are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

“The moratorium has been extended (previously),” Berkowitz said. “It is not a done deal that it is not extended into August. There are people in this room who may have the power to change that reality.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a panel discussion on affordable housing in the Hudson Valley at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory on July 22, 2021.

Berkowitz spoke on Thursday at a housing event attended by New York Attorney General Letitia James and about 20 officials and lawyers from Dutchess and Ulster counties.

Assistance: When will NY distribute rent relief funds? What tenants and landlords need to know

Future: What happens to Poughkeepsie’s housing, rentals and services as it grows? Study to provide answers

Lodging: Some builders in the Hudson Valley have stopped building single family homes. Here’s why.

More than sympathetic to what is feared to be a looming wave of evictions, those present, including representatives from Hudson Valley Legal Services and Hudson River Housing and Mayor Rob Rolison, have discussed problems with the system as it is and solutions.

Berkowitz put forward the possibility of a housing diversion program, in which if a landlord wishes to take an eviction case to court, he is required to seek mediation.

Eli Berkowitz of Community Voices Heard speaks at a panel discussion on affordable housing in the Hudson Valley hosted by New York Attorney General Letitia James at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory on July 22, 2021.

However, the biggest issue that most of the people in this room could agree on, when there is no short-term solution, is the availability of affordable housing.

“People are looking to move and transition without becoming homeless, and there is nothing available, either because of the price or because of sheer availability,” said Justin Haines, lawyer for the homeless. Hudson Valley Legal Services, which provides free services to people who can afford a lawyer.

Multifaceted problem

The 2020 Dutchess County Housing Survey, which focuses on large rental complexes, found that the vacancy rate fell to 0.9%, a 40% drop from 2019 and the rate lowest vacancy since 1980.

County executive Marc Molinaro, who attended the start of the meeting, said the county was working on ways to increase housing stock and was also working with municipalities on inclusive zoning, which would force developers to include affordable housing in their projects.

Legal services are preparing for the onslaught of expulsion cases expected after the moratorium is lifted, but are also working on cases that have fallen behind due to the pandemic.

The organization team also raised other issues, including the need for more lawyers trained to handle eviction and housing cases; landlords use tactics to get tenants out, such as calling up code enforcement on their own property or shutting down services; and how city and village courts are sometimes not prepared to deal with eviction cases.

New York Assembly Member Didi Barrett speaks at a panel discussion on affordable housing in the Hudson Valley hosted by New York Attorney General Letitia James at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory on 22 July 2021.

James said his team was writing a report for the legislature regarding village and city courts and some of the issues they face.

“I am of the opinion, based on my review of all the issues that have been brought to my attention, that something has to happen,” she said.

Advocates have also raised issues with the Emergency Rent Assistance Program, which requires both the tenant and the landlord to request that the tenant receive relief. If a party does not submit a request, which is sometimes the case if they do not communicate, the exemption is not processed.

But the voices absent from the table were those of homeowners, many of whom are struggling to pay off their mortgages because they haven’t received rent for over a year now.

“The challenge, as leaders, is that we have to find the right balance,” said Member of the National Assembly Didi Barrett.

Saba Ali: [email protected]: 845-451-4518

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New York judges lock accused out of home, bypassing review required by Landmark decision


This story was published in partnership with New York Focus, an independent news and investigative site covering New York City and State politics. Subscribe to their newsletter here.

At the end of June, a New York appeals court issued a landmark ruling aimed at preventing people from being unnecessarily homeless or separated from their families during their criminal cases. But a month later, the decision is overturned by the court system, defense lawyers say.

The fight centers on the protection orders that judges routinely impose on defendants, ordering them to stay away from people to whom they pose a potential threat.

In a June 24 ruling in a case known as Crawford, a state appeals court ruled that when a proposed protection order threatens to deprive defendants of “substantial” interests – such as l ‘access to their homes or their children – a court is expected to hold a hearing shortly. after issuance of the order to determine if it is really necessary.

The decision was widely seen as a game changer. “A judge’s order left her homeless. A new decision will help others like her, ”read the headline of a New York Times article recounting the saga of plaintiff Shamika Crawford, who was barred from entering her Bronx home following ‘a complaint from her boyfriend.

Defense lawyers say the ruling brings a long-needed change to a status quo in which judges routinely issue protection orders at the request of prosecutors, without fully considering the negative consequences for defendants.

“These orders have been approved by the courts with no possibility for the defendants to challenge them,” Meghna said. Philip, lawyer with Neighborhood Defender Services. “Our clients are displaced from their homes, unable to see their children or spouses, or to care for their elderly parents.”

Defense lawyers had hoped for an end to such ordeals – and some have successfully called on judges to reconsider the harsh restrictions. But in the weeks after the ruling, they say, many judges barely budged, effectively denying people like Crawford their new right to a review.

“Normal practice”

Judges can draw inspiration from a memorandum produced by the agency that manages New York’s courts, the Office of Court Administration.

Addressed to court administrators by a lawyer in the court system, the memo emphasizes – using bold type – that the decision “should not be read to require live witnesses and / or non-hearsay testimony. This gives judges the ability to hold a hearing that simply uses evidence that prosecutors have already presented in their case.

The memo goes further by discouraging judges from allowing witness testimony – saying that “anything near a full testimony hearing” would be more than the courts can handle, with “a significant negative operational impact.”

“The note is that kind of ahistorical effort to … ask the trial judges to take the most restrictive reading of the decision, whether that reading is actually supported by the case or not,” Jonathan Oberman, professor at the Cardozo Law School specializing in criminal law. law, told New York Focus.

Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the Office of Courts Administration, responded that it is “normal practice to issue contextual memos on cases that may have significant operational implications for the courts.”

Some lawyers have had success using the Crawford decision on behalf of their clients. “I got all these emails from attorneys who said, ‘Oh, I used it, that’s awesome! “Legal aid lawyer Corey Stoughton told The New York Times.

And in other cases, the ruling had led some prosecutors and judges to “think twice” before seeking and granting prosecution orders, Philip told New York Focus.

But defense attorneys practicing in several boroughs told New York Focus judges were enforcing the decision very limited, if at all.

“What we have seen so far is disturbing. There is a legitimate concern that the Crawford decision will not be followed, at least initially, in Kings County, ”said Matt Robison, lawyer at Brooklyn Defender Services. Defense attorneys practicing in Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx have expressed similar concerns.

Homeless by judge’s order

Crawford was left homeless for almost three months when a judge issued a protection order against her after her boyfriend accused her of assault. The order denied her access to her own apartment and prevented her from seeing her two children. It was lifted when the criminal complaint against her was dismissed – as most cases involving protection orders ultimately are – 88 days later.

Crawford and his legal team sued the judge who issued the protection order, arguing the court should have held a hearing to determine whether the move was necessary, rather than simply relying on prosecutors’ requests.

“There are certainly situations where full protection orders are warranted and necessary, but that cannot be the default, as there are too many devastating consequences to it,” said Eli Northrup, Crawford’s attorney and attorney. at Bronx Defenders.

Manhattan Criminal Court, February 24, 2021.
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

In a unanimous decision, a panel of four judges ruled that not only should a judge have held a “speedy” hearing on whether to uphold the protection order, but that all of the trial courts in the state of New York is expected to do so in similar issues. situations.

“If it is not scuttled by the courts, it is a major effort on the part of the First Department [appellate court] to rebalance the rights of indigent people that had been really trivialized by the massive issuance of protection orders, ”Oberman said.

A vague decision

The appeals court declined to detail what hearings reviewing protection orders should look like – opening up the possibility for the Courts Administration Office to give judges its own guidelines on how to conduct such hearings.

The memo is dated June 27, just three days after the Crawford decision was released.

The memo – which Oberman called “one of the most explicitly cynical responses the court administration could give” to the ruling – serves to limit the scope of the ruling in Crawford’s case.

By emphasizing that witness testimony is not necessary, the Crawford Case Note’s view gives judges the latitude to accept a prosecutor giving a second-hand account of the alleged actions, or a police report. uncorroborated from an incident, as sufficient to show that a protection order is warranted. .

Brooklyn Law School professor Kate Mogulescu has questioned whether using unsubstantiated police reports to argue for a protective order is in keeping with the spirit of the ruling.

“This only repeats the facts which are usually recited in the [criminal] complaint. It doesn’t seem to fulfill the role that the Crawford court envisions, ”she said.

Speed ​​review

Per the memo, judges ruled that presenting criminal complaints or police reports was sufficient to meet Crawford’s demands in several hearings since the decision was rendered, defense lawyers have said. In a Bronx Criminal Court hearing attended by a New York Focus reporter, a judge explicitly denied that witness testimony was required to meet Crawford’s claims.

The memo also argues that the Crawford-mandated hearing The decision can be made at arraignment, the initial phase of criminal proceedings in which a judge has a first opportunity to issue a protection order.

But the speed at which indictments are being conducted through New York courts – usually within minutes – would make conducting full hearings at this stage of a criminal proceeding impractical, if not downright impossible, said Northrup.

“This is the problem Crawford is trying to solve. We understand that arrests are a very turbulent time. You need to have a quick evidence hearing right after to make sure [an order of protection] is justified, ”Northrup said.

Kim Barr, a lawyer at Queens Defenders, said that in the days following the Crawford decision, she faced a judge who attempted to complete the required hearing on arraignment.

His elderly client, who uses a wheelchair and is medically disabled, had been charged with assault and harassment by his girlfriend, with whom he shared a rented apartment in his name.

The judge was considering making a full protection order, which would have resulted in Barr’s client being denied access to his home.

When Barr called for a hearing to be scheduled, the judge argued that the arraignment itself was the hearing mandated by the Crawford decision.

“His immediate response was: ‘This is the hearing, the defendant is not entitled to an additional or separate hearing, I have reviewed the defendant’s report card and the allegation in front of me, and I render the full order. ‘”Barr mentioned.

A full protection order has been issued against Barr’s client, who has been banished from his home and is currently awaiting trial while living in a homeless veterans shelter. He hasn’t had a chance to challenge the entire protection order since the arraignment, Barr said.

Robison also described a recent impeachment judge categorically dismissing a request for a hearing when a protection order threatened the ability of two of his clients to see their children.

Although the judge provided a way for clients to see their children without violating the terms of the order, a Crawford hearing was not scheduled.

“The fact that the judge was unwilling to grant the hearing was of great concern,” said Robison. “Given the information presented in court and the stake – a parent’s ability to see their children – Crawford was certainly involved.”

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11 Subway People Charged In $ 11 Million Federal PPP Loan Fraud Scheme – WSB-TV Channel 2


ATLANTA – 22 people have been charged in a federal scheme to defraud the government by allowing it to take out bogus Paycheck Protection Program loans, and 11 of those people are from the metro area of Atlanta.

The US Department of Justice said about $ 11.1 million in PPP loans were taken out and the funds were then used to purchase luxury vehicles, jewelry and other personal items.

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“So many businesses needed emergency federal help to stay afloat during a pandemic, and these defendants are said to have diverted millions of dollars of that aid into their own pockets for luxury items,” said Chris Hacker , special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta.

Prosecutors said the defendants submitted or helped submit PPP loan applications for 14 companies between April and August 2020. Loan requests for each company ranged from $ 700,000 to $ 850,000.

The claims indicated that each company had between 59 and 69 employees as of February 2020 and averaged around $ 295,000 to $ 342,000 in monthly salary expenses.


During the investigation, the United States seized nearly $ 4 million in PPP loan products, four luxury vehicles and several jewelry.

The defendants in the metropolitan area include:

  • Meghan Thomas, 32, of Alpharetta – charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and misrepresentation to a federally insured financial institution under of his involvement in several business loans
  • Jesika Blakely, 34, of Atlanta – Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, Misrepresentation to a Federally Insured Financial Institution and Money Laundering money related to his involvement in several business loans
  • John Gaines aka Marty Gaines, 56, of Marietta – charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation to a federally insured financial institution and money laundering money related to the loan obtained by Gaines Reservation and Travel
  • Charles Petty aka Charles Knight, 48, of Atlanta – charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation to a federally insured financial institution and money laundering in connection with the loan obtained by Transport Management Services Inc.
  • Jerry Baptiste, 43, of College Park – charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation to a federally insured financial institution and money laundering money under the loan obtained by Transportation Management Services Inc.
  • Charles Hill IV, 45, of Norcross – charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the loan obtained by his company, Infinite Education Services Inc.
  • Teldrin Foster, 39, of Decatur – charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with loan obtained by Bellator Phront Group Inc.
  • Denesseria Slaton, 52, of Stockbridge – charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in connection with loan obtained by Transportation Management Services Inc.
  • Carla Jackson, 53, of Tucker – previously indicted on August 4, 2020, with money laundering in connection with the laundering of proceeds from Gaines Reservation and Travel’s PPP loan.
  • Darrell Thomas, 35, of Duluth – pleaded guilty on June 16, 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud and one count of money laundering. As part of his guilty plea, Darrell Thomas admitted his involvement in fraudulent conduct totaling over $ 14.7 million, including over $ 11.1 million in fraudulent PPP loans, over $ 1.15 million in dollars in fraudulent loans in the event of economic disasters and over $ 2.4 million in fraudulent automobiles. ready. He also agreed to give up various assets, including more than $ 2.1 million in seized funds, three luxury vehicles – a 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S65AMG, a 2018 Land Rover Range Rover and a 2017 Acura NSX – and several jewels, including a gold Rolex.
  • Andre Lee Gaines, 67, of Dallas – pleaded guilty on June 17, 2021 to one count of making false statements to the FBI in connection with the loan obtained by his company, Gaines Reservation and Travel.

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Thomas’ sentence is set for September 15. Gaines is scheduled to be sentenced on October 6.

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