Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin is facing misconduct charges because he exchanged emails with images of nude women and jokes that were demeaning to religious groups, women and minorities, The Inquirer's Angela Couloumbis, Craig R. McCoy and Mark Fazlollah report. The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board said those emails had the appearance of impropriety and brought the court into disrepute.
Attorney General... Continue Reading
Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, opines in the Huffington Post today that achieving an international agreement to halt climate change is a public health issue: "Climate change degrades air quality, reduces food security and compromises water supplies and sanitation. WHO estimates that, each year, more than 7 million deaths worldwide can be attributed to air pollution. Climate change is also causing... Continue Reading
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Corday says that new disclosure rules for mortgage lenders have not turned out to be a problem, HousingWire's Ben Lane reports. In a speech last week, Cordary compared the panic about the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule to the panic about Y2K. The disclosure rule did not paralyze the market when it came into effect in October, Corday added. Continue Reading
Last month, the Second Circuit clarified when the statute of limitations begins to run under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, The New York Law Journal's Mark Hamblett reports. It is when the bank freezes a debtor's account, not when the notice of debt is served.
The plaintiff in the underlying case is suing attorney Todd Houslanger of Houslanger & Associates for freezing his account when it was allegedly another man with... Continue Reading
The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that minimum-wage protections apply to public assistance receipients.
New York state is entitled to seize lottery winnings from people who have received public assistance. Courthouse News' Rose Bouboushian reports that the court reasoned that a Vietnam veteran, who received public assistance, was entitled to keep his $10,000 lottery winnings. Taking those benefits would have... Continue Reading
The ABA Journal's Mark Hansen has a cover story about how two decades of research into the cause of fires has shown that many criminal defendants have been wrongfully convicted of arson-related crimes because of faulty evidence admitted against them. Arson expert John Lentini estimates that there may be a few hundred innocent people in prison for arson.
Arson cases are "particularly difficult to undo," Hansen... Continue Reading
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voided a nursing home arbitration agreement, The Legal Intelligencer's Ben Seal (my former colleague) reports. The court reasoned that agreements that rely on the National Arbitration Forum code are unenforceable because the NAF no longer accepts arbitration cases.
Nursing home attorneys, however, told Seal that nursing home companies have now "largely stopped identifying sole... Continue Reading
Inmates forfeit their right to privacy once they are behind bars. But that doesn't extend to their constitutional right to competent and effective legal counsel.
However, a massive hack of prisoner phone records exposed that an industry leader in the prisoner telecom industry has recorded at least 14,000 conversations between inmates and attorneys. The Intercept's Jordan Smith and Micah Lee reported earlier this week... Continue Reading
Canada's Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says that her country will implement the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Metro Toronto reports. Bennett is part of new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government.
The UN Declaration goes further than the constitutional protection requiring the Canadaian government to consult with indigenous peoples on issues that might affect their... Continue Reading
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a conservative Republican, is considering the expansion of the state's Medicaid program, the Associated Press' Kim Chandler reports. Bentley, a dermatologist by training, remarked, "'I am concerned about the plight of the working poor ... If doctors are not paid for seeing those patients, doctors will not go to rural Alabama because you can't expect a doctor to go to rural Alabama and... Continue Reading
A mistrial was declared today in the trial of former executives at a leading white shoe law firm that melted down amid financial irregularities and partner defections, Reuters' Brendan Pierson reports. The New York Supreme Court jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on charges against former Dewey & LeBoeuf Chairman Steven Davis, Executive Director Stephen DiCarmine and Chief Financial Officer Joel Sanders, "including grand... Continue Reading
Richard A. Diment, a Municipal Court judge in Bowdon, Ga., has been excoriated after a video surfaced in which he threatened to jail defendants who didn't cough up money toward their fines, The New York Times' Shaila Dewan reports. Diment told the NYT that he only made an empty threat to pressure people to pay their fines.
Dewan notes that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the poor can't be jailed solely if they can't pay... Continue Reading
The Connecticut Supreme Court has struck down a state law that gave the Department of Banking authority to regulate law firms engaged in debt collection, The Connecticut Law Tribune's Christian Nolan reports.
The Supreme Court ruled that only the judiciary can regulate the conduct of law firms. The law limited the fees that law firms could charge and required law firms to pay $800 annual licenses for helping consumers renegotiate credit... Continue Reading
President Barack Obama's administration has agreed to pay $940 million for failing to compensate American Indian tribes for public services like law enforcement that tribes carried out, NPR's Laura Wagner reports. The services are provided by the tribes under the Indian Self Determination Act, but the federal government pays for them. Sometimes the appropriations were not enough. Continue Reading
The GOP-controlled Senate is confirming federal judges at the slowest rate in 60 years, The Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery reports. The second-slowest year was in 1953 when the Senate only confirmed a total of nine judges. The Alliance for Justice, a left-leaning group, released a report last week presenting that analysis.
Only six of President Barack Obama's judicial nominations have been voted on by senators in 2015, while 29... Continue Reading