Month: December 2020

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first_img Equal Opportunities Section works to boost membership Senior EditorThe Bar Board of Governors has endorsed a plan to help boost membership in the Equal Opportunities Section, which is struggling to get the minimum membership required in Bar policies.The Program Evaluation Committee reported on its review of the section, as well as other Bar programs, at the board’s recent Tallahassee meeting.PEC Vice Chair Richard Gilbert said the section, formed three years ago, has between 200 and 300 members, while Bar policies require a section to have 1 percent of Bar membership, or around 700 members.“We believe that the goals and mission of this section are vital and so important to what we do as a Bar. We share the objective of diversity,” Gilbert said. “We have decided to give them an additional year extension to bring their membership into compliance with the rule.”The section will report how it is refocusing its efforts to meet that goal by May.Bar President Tod Aronovitz strongly endorsed helping the section, echoing a call by Gilbert for board members to join the section and get at least one other member of their firm to join. He also announced he had appointed board members Jennifer Coberly and Henry Latimer, and has asked Florida Association for Women Lawyers President Siobhan Shea to work with the section.In addition, Aronovitz said he would ask other groups, including the National Bar Association, the Cuban-American Bar Association, and the judiciary to help.He said the section has the essential goal of making the legal profession and judiciary accessible to minorities, women, the physically disabled, and others, and that membership is for all lawyers, not just women and minorities.“This section is vitally important to all lawyers,” Aronovitz said. “It will do great work for all Floridians, and they need our help.”For more information about the section, contact Yvonne Sherron at The Florida Bar at (850) 561-5620.On other matters, Gilbert said the PEC reviewed the Bar’s certification program, which included looking at how other states operate, the low passage rates for some certification areas, problems with longtime certified lawyers failing to get enough credits to earn recertification, and peer review issues.The committee was satisfied the Board of Legal Specialization and Education and Bar staff were addressing those matters.“We are confident things are going well,” Gilbert said. Practicing with ProfessionalismThe committee is studying the Young Lawyers Division’s Practicing with Professionalism seminar, which most new Bar members must take, and significant changes are being proposed, Gilbert reported.“There were some concerns about the length and content of that program,” he said. “We have been working with the Young Lawyers Division, and they have proposed some significant changes.”Those include shortening the program to a one-day seminar and focusing on professionalism issues. The committee is also looking at ending the exemption for government lawyers if the seminar is cut to one day, he said.Under present rules, all new Bar members must take the course, which is aimed at helping them ease into law practice and at promoting professionalism, unless they are employed or going to work for a government agency. In that case, the requirement is deferred until they leave government employment and enter private practice.The PEC is continuing its review of the Bar’s Center for Professionalism and expects a report soon from a subcommittee, Gilbert said. Equal Opportunities Section works to boost membership March 15, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Departing governors reminisce, offer advice

December 19, 2020 | jipzttuh | No Comments

first_img Departing governors reminisce, offer advice Senior Editor“Don’t never give up.”Outgoing Bar President Tod Aronovitz ended his final Board of Governors meeting May 30 with those words, a theme he picked up in college from a golf course groundskeeper who became his friend.The occasion was the annual “Comments for the Good of the Order,” where departing board members offer thoughts and suggestions for the Bar. The comments are typically laced with appreciations of friendship and camaraderie developed on the board, along with serious suggestions on challenges facing the Bar.Topics ranged from attacks on the independent judiciary to lawyer advertising, with speaker after speaker emphasizing that the Bar must remain true to its principles. Or, in other words, don’t never give up.Board member Tony Abate said he has the “highest regard” for the Bar’s grievance process, but thinks the process could move faster.“It’s important to show the public that we police ourselves and we police ourselves quickly,” he said.Abate also praised Aronovitz’s Dignity in Law initiative, but said much of its good work in improving public attitudes toward the profession is undermined by lawyer advertising. Abate called for an overhaul of advertising rules.“If Dignity in Law is bailing water out of the boat, lawyer advertising is holes putting water into the boat,” he said.The Bar should also do more to help lawyers’ quality of life, including those battling depression, and should continue its effort to technologically help lawyers, Abate said. He added that the planned Web portal, free for Bar members, “is one of the biggest things this Bar has done in many years as far as helping members.”Board member Richard Gilbert warned members about attacks on the independence of the judiciary, on the legal profession, and on the public’s access to courts.“Alexander Hamilton, one of the great liberals of his day, said there is no democratic government without an independent judiciary,” he said.Lawyers face challenges from restrictions on their abilities to represent clients to suggested rules that could undermine loyalty to the client.“We need to debate them,” Gilbert said. “Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand. Sometimes you can’t compromise. Sometimes you need to be brought home dead on your shield rather that be brought home dead of a thousand cuts.”Efforts to reduce awards and cut fees for lawyers are really attempts to keep some people from having access to the courts he said, and that too needs to be opposed.“Some of you will say to me that’s politics, and my suggestion to you is what is happening in politics is the rich and powerful are imposing their will on the legislative and executive branches at the expense of those who are poor and powerless,” he said. Lawyers need to ensure “the scales of justice are not unbalanced.”Public board member Royce Walden thanked board members for the friendship and allowing him to participate, including as a member of the Investment Committee and chair of the Audit Committee.Walden, a former director of the Jacksonville Federal Reserve Office branch, said he was somewhat taken aback four years ago when he realized he would have to work with 50 lawyers on the board.“I prayed to God. I said, ‘Lord, give me patience,’” he recalled. “He sent me an e-mail back. He said, ‘I gave you life, Royce, it’s up to you to learn patience.’“I’ve enjoyed working with you and I’ve found out one thing about you: You’re human beings.”Outgoing YLD President Juliet Roulhac said the experience with the board brought highs and lows. “I’ve worked with some of the most professional and expert lawyers here. That’s a high for me,” she said. The lows, she added, were working on discipline cases and seeing some of the “egregious acts of some of our colleagues.”Roulhac also thanked outgoing President Aronovitz, saying, “You’re always so gracious in everything that you do. Despite different experience levels, you’ve always treated me with the utmost respect.”Board member John Yanchunis agreed that a highlight was working with other board members, including listening to their debates.“I had a phenomenal time and again was humbled many, many times to listen to the greatness of the debate and the intellects in this room,” he said. “I want to thank you again for listening to me when I couldn’t keep my own counsel and rose to make some inane comment.”Out-of-state board member Denny Whalen said out-of-staters have the chance to compare The Florida Bar with other state associations. “The Florida Bar ranks right up there,” he added. “It’s been an honor to serve with you and service is what this is about. The Florida Bar certainly gets high marks.”Board member Andrew Needle cited the debate over multidisciplinary practices as an example of the importance of lawyers sticking to their core values.He noted at his first meeting, the board was “told that MDP was a train that none of us could stop. We had to get out of the way or we would be run over. And one day we picked up the paper and saw Enron and Arthur Andersen and suddenly that train was stopped for the very reasons we predicted it would be stopped,” Needle said. “We stood up. . . and said it was wrong.”Needle also said many Bar members don’t understand what the board does, a view endorsed by board member Buck Vocelle who said board members need to change that.“The work we do is done in anonymity. In my small circuit (the 19th) trying to tell lawyers what we do is like talking to a brick wall,” he said. “In recent years, trying to get lawyers involved in the Bar is like trying to pull teeth. You must keep up the fight.”And Vocelle cited Enron and the MDP issue as showing the importance that even a single lawyer can make, saying if one executive or accountant at Enron had stood up, its problems might have been avoided.“Time after time in the last eight years I’ve seen a single voice turn this entire board around,” he said. “Don’t give up the fight. Don’t give up your passion. Don’t give up your perseverance.”In his eight years, board member David Welch said he’s seen many issues arise again and again, especially legislative proposals that damage the independence of the courts.“Don’t forget who you’re here to represent. There are 70,000 members of The Florida Bar out there who expect us to do the work of The Florida Bar for their benefit and for the benefit of the public, generally,” he said. “One of the most important aspects is the preservation of the rule of law and the preservation of the independence of the judiciary.”Aronovitz closed the session by thanking board members and others for their support.“Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, ‘nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm,’ and I want to say to you I undertook every act as president with faith and great enthusiasm,” he said.He also quoted a prayer given by YLD board member Lorna Brown-Burton at a recent meeting: “God help us to remember at this meeting. . . that all things work together for good. I do not need to understand why things are happening the way they are as I trust in the divine plan. Teach us to accept ourselves, other people, and situations as they are, not as we want them to be. Teach us to develop the courage, strength, obedience, and discipline to act on what we know to be true. We all have something to do and contribute to the vision and business of this organization and our profession. Once we understand all of this, then it is with God’s guidance that success is achieved.”Aronovitz added, “We in this room have the talent and the ability under [new Bar President] Miles [McGrane’s] leadership and we have a great message. It’s been my honor to serve as your president. Don’t never give up.” Departing governors reminisce, offer advice July 1, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

first_img It’s imperative for family courts to communicate ‘We’ve failed because our approach has been disjointed and fragmented. . . we don’t share information’ Melinda Melendez Assistant Editor For some Florida families, a unified court can mean the difference between life and death.According to the latest annual report of the Florida Child Abuse Death Review, of the 161 child deaths reviewed over the past five years, 92 children, or 57 percent, had five or more risk factors present at the time of the child’s death. If you ask Barry Krischer, state attorney for the 15th Circuit, some of these deaths may have been prevented through the utilization of a unified family court.“What all the numbers really mean is that we, and that includes the criminal justice system, family court, our juvenile court, DCF, among others, knew of these children, and despite as many as five risk factors, we failed these children and we allowed them to die,” said Krischer, who spoke at the Criminal Law Section luncheon at the Bar’s Annual Meeting. “That is unacceptable. We’ve failed because our approach has been disjointed and fragmented. And that occurs because we don’t share information.”The unified family court is an integrated approach to handling all cases involving families and children. In many cases a family with multiple problems is forced into a variety of courts. Under a unified family court structure, that family would have one judge preside over multiple issues affecting the family, instead of having to deal with issues singularly in family court, juvenile court, and criminal court.“The ‘one family, one court’ concept recognizes that there are a number of different ways into the court system that different members of the same family can utilize for different reasons, at different times. The end result is a disorganized system, one that fails to meet the need for a holistic approach, one that results in an inconsistent and often times contradictory order,” said Krischer.Krischer is certainly not alone in recognizing the need for a more cohesive family court structure, and the concept of a unified family court is not new. In 1991 the legislature’s Commission of Family Courts issued a report to develop guidelines for the establishment of a family law division within each circuit, and gave recommendations for organizational changes and for necessary support services. The Florida Supreme Court issued three opinions between 1991 and 2001 that stated the need for a family court system to provide better protection for children in court and resolution of family problems. In May 2001, a fourth and unanimous opinion was issued that cited 12 principles as a guide to implementing a model family court, including that cases with interrelated family issues should be consolidated or coordinated.For about four years, Pinellas County has operated a unified family court using aid from a federal grant that allowed it to utilize the necessary technology for identifying families. Pinellas serves as the model for other counties, including Palm Beach County (which comprises the 15th Circuit), which will begin to explore technology options this fall.Krischer is a strong advocate for adopting the unified court model“Every aspect of that family and that child would go through one court. We have available to us the means and opportunity to save these children’s lives. Prosecutors, defense counsel, and family court attorneys need to identify these families and work together to preserve the future of the children living in these homes that are exposed to violence. We must work together with the courts, not against each other to decrease domestic violence and family dysfunction. We cannot hope to make our streets safer if we don’t make the effort to make our homes and children safe,” said Krischer.One of the major incentives to adopt a unified family court, according to Krischer, is because children who end up in juvenile court are often exposed to violence in the home, thus creating an overlap of issues for a single family in juvenile and criminal court.“The question we should be asking is, ‘How do we save these kids from a life of crime?’ If we solve that problem, we might find that the notion of treating children differently from adults, simply because they are children, is not so ridiculous. These children, growing up in violent homes, that we fail to recognize as victims today, become tomorrow’s abusers, the violent juveniles we prosecute in adult court,” said Krischer.Krischer, who has become somewhat notorious for bringing juveniles into adult court, suggests exploring the root of the problem instead of later dealing with the consequences.“The truth of the matter is the reason I rely so heavily on adult sanctions in adult court is because of the juvenile court’s shocking inability to impose meaningful penalties, and meaningful supervision. The one place I can deliver is in adult court. Why does it get that far? We need resources to change these kids’ behavior before they become the predators we so fear.“For every Nate Brazill, who shot and killed his teacher in front of a classroom full of students, who get all the attention, there are hundreds of other children around the state going through the juvenile court system. It’s the Brazills that get the legislature’s attention. But they respond by making the 10-20-life gun law apply to 15-year-olds. We can keep tinkering with the law; we can keep shipping children to adult court, but that does nothing to rescue the at-risk population before they become hardened criminals,” said Krischer.Another difficulty faced by courts and agencies in dealing with families is the often specialized services offered by child welfare and domestic violence programs. Often the programs have the facilities to deal with one form of family violence, but according to Krischer, few programs effectively address whole forms of violence when they occur together in the same family.“Courts regularly struggle with these issues individually, and out of the family context. Youth violence programs often fail to address the way that domestic violence impedes healthy development. That is yet another reason why model family court can incorporate innovative community collaborations between domestic violence agencies, child welfare agencies both public and private, the courts, school system, child protection teams, as well as health care providers, youth development organizations, and local churches. Each is integral in the resolution of cases in the model family court. Instead of five or seven courts making the same findings of fact and wasting limited judicial and community resources and trying to formulate a unique response to each family member, the model court treats the family as an organic whole,” said Krischer.Krischer closed his speech by underscoring the importance of moving to a unified court system as a matter of life and death for some kids and families.“We can wait for the next child to witness domestic violence or the next drive-by-shooting, and lock up those kids after the damage is done, or we can rescue them one child at a time through the effort of establishing a unified court,” said Krischer. August 15, 2005 Assistant Editor Regular News It’s imperative for family courts to communicatelast_img read more

Selden Sex Offender Nabbed for Public Lewdness

December 18, 2020 | isuyyvzl | No Comments

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A fugitive sex offender from Connecticut living in Selden has been accused of committing four acts of public lewdness in Suffolk County over the past nine months.Suffolk County police arrested Angel Laporte after a woman witnessed him masturbating at the Barnes and Noble book store on East Jericho Turnpike in East Northport at 9:50 p.m. Friday, authorities said. The woman yelled and the 54-year-old man fled, but officers apprehended him at his home Saturday.Second Squad detectives suspect Laporte also committed public acts of lewdness at the Deer Park Public Library on Jan. 5 and at the Commack Public Library and the West Babylon Public Library on May 7, 2012.Laporte is wanted by the New Milford Police Department in Connecticut for failing to register as a sex offender. Special Victim’s Unit detectives are also investigating.Laporte was charged with public lewdness and will be arraigned Sunday at First District Court in Central Islip.last_img read more

X-Factor Auditions Coming to Nassau Coliseum

December 18, 2020 | nvxeoqvi | No Comments

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Do you have the X-Factor?Fox’s hit talent show is hosting open auditions at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Thursday. X-Factor is looking for solo singers and vocal groups, ages 12 and over, for the chance to win a record deal with Sony Music.For aspiring contestants planning to audition, the registration period is April 23-24, either in person at the arena or online. Wristbands will be handed out from 8 a.m. Tuesday until 11 a.m. Thursday. People will not be allowed to camp out.There is no cost to audition but there is a parking fee of $20 at the coliseum. After obtaining a wristband, X-Factor hopefuls will be asked to return to the coliseum by 7 a.m. Thursday for the audition.Other audition cities are New Orleans on April 14 and Denver on May 14. People may also audition online by submitting a two minute a cappella video from now until June 16. For more information on the rules, registration, or online auditioning visit www.thexfactorusa.com.last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Tyreek Langs (SCPD)Suffolk County police detectives conducting surveillance in Central Islip Thursday afternoon arrested a man for allegedly selling heroin while holding his 8-month-old baby girl in his arms, police said.The father, 23-year-old Tyreek Langs, was nabbed after he walked out of 46 Peters Boulevard at 3 p.m. with his daughter in his arms and made his way down the street where a customer was waiting, police said.Police swooped in after the alleged drug deal and made the arrest. Langs, of Central Islip, was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child.The child was released to her great grandmother, police said. Child Protective Services was also notified.Langs was held at the 4th Precinct as he awaited his arraignment Friday at First District Court in Central Islip.last_img read more

first_imgThe staff of the Long Island Press takes its role as protectors against the abusers of power very seriously. A truly democratic state is a balancing act that requires a strong and independent press, a just legal and law enforcement system, a strong educational system and a fait and robust economic environment that provides equal participatory opportunities for every member of society. Therefore, as much as we are honored to perform our role in this equation, we continually challenge ourselves to do more and hope that those on this list will do the same. And of course, inclusion on this list in no way excludes its honorees from a good old-fashioned Press takedown.So peruse the new Power List website. Learn about its members. Get to know them. Chances are, they’ve impacted and influenced your world in more way than one. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]E[/dropcap]ach year since 2003 (in fact, the Power List adorned the cover of our very first issue), the staff of the Long Island Press has undertaken the arduous task of trying to rank the 50 most influential people on Long Island. What exactly is “power,” anyway? The word can mean very different things from person to person. Sure, a millionaire is powerful. But what does he/she actually do with all that money? What about a media mogul? Does monopolizing a region’s main source of information necessarily embody true power? What about lawmakers? Utility operators? Teachers?The criteria for Power List honorees are fairly straightforward: They must live on Long Island and demonstrate tangible influence over residents’ thoughts or actions. Wealth and notoriety don’t necessarily qualify an individual onto the list, nor does lobbying for inclusion (that actually hurts chances).This year marks the 12th such compilation, and in commemoration we’ve unveiled a brand new website housing not only this year’s Power List honorees, in their order of ranking, along with a digital edition, but all of the previous years’ lists, as well as the hallowed Power List Hall of Fame—which requires at least five appearances on the Power List for inclusion.Check Them All Out Here: longislandpress.com/powerlistThis year’s Power List is a curious one, to be sure, as it is a testament to both ingenuity and inertia. There are CEOs. Politicians. Academics. Business owners. Scientists. TV personalities. Advocates. Some are household names; others you may have never heard of before, until now.Historically, the Power List generates a fair amount of criticism and outrage. The criticism usually comes from a parochial place whereby people believe that we have made stunning omissions based upon their own experiences with people that impact their daily lives. The outrage is generally directed at the preponderance of older white men that appear on the list. To the latter, we offer the same reply every year: The Power List is a mirror, not a wish list.Coinciding with the annual list is the yearly Power List celebration gala, unique on Long Island in that it is the only time all of these movers and shakers, typically along with their families and supporting colleagues gather under one roof. Democrats and Republicans. Environmentalists and developers. Millionaires and the “One Percent.”In addition to having some fun, there is always an overarching message about this idea of power that we try to convey based upon our observations. This year it is about the abuses of power and the devastating consequences of power left unchecked.last_img read more

Valley Stream Shooting Kills NYC Man

December 18, 2020 | isuyyvzl | No Comments

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 51-year-old Bronx man was shot and killed outside of Bronx Barbeque, a restaurant in Valley Stream, over the weekend, Nassau County police said.Gary Harris was seen leaving the eatery on West Sunrise Highway while accompanied by a woman and two men when shots were heard in the parking lot and the victim, reentered the restaurant and collapsed on the floor at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, police said.The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead eight hours later.Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information regarding this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.last_img

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 25-year-old New York City police officer from Massapequa died Monday after authorities said he was shot in the head by an alleged gunman while patrolling Queens Village over the weekend.Demetrius Blackwell, 35, was initially charged with first-degree attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Those charges are likely to be upgraded after the officer, Brian Moore, who was admitted in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, died, according to the NYPD.“Condolences to the family of PO Brian Moore who lost his life today. RIP to a true hero. We will never forget. #Hero,” tweeted the department’s 104th Precinct Monday afternoon.“The defendant is accused of firing a weapon at two officers without warning, one of whom was struck in the head,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant faces life in prison for his alleged actions.”Authorities said Officer Moore and his partner, Officer Erik Jansen, were in plain clothes and sitting inside an unmarked patrol car while assigned to the 105th Precinct anti-crime team when they saw Blackwell “adjusting an object in his waistband” at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said.Officer Moore, who was driving, followed the suspect as he walked southbound on 212nd Street, and questioned Blackwell about his actions as he turned eastbound on 104th Road. Then the suspect allegedly fired two shots into the police car, striking Officer Moore in the head, police said.The suspect fled while Officer Jansen called for backup. Moore, who was on the force for five years, underwent emergency surgery and was in a medically-induced coma upon being hospitalized. Blackwell was apprehended 90 minutes later in the South Queens neighborhood about a mile from the Nassau County line. Police said that he had numerous prior convictions for violent felonies.Queens Judge Michael Yavinsky ordered Blackwell held without bail Sunday. Blackwell is due back in Queens court Friday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.last_img read more

Expect auto loan growth throughout 2015

December 18, 2020 | bqfdduvy | No Comments

first_imgBetter employment picture will boost the auto industry, forecast says.Auto loan debt per borrower will continue on an upward trend, rising to $18,244 at the end of 2015, according to TransUnion.That would make 19 consecutive quarters of increases since the first quarter of 2011, when auto loan debt per borrower stood at $14,954.The TransUnion forecast calls for the national auto loan delinquency rate (the ratio of borrowers 60 or more days past due) to end 2014 at 1%, and increase slightly to 1.27% at the end of 2015.“We expect the auto loan market to continue to perform exceptionally well in 2015, with more sales leading to continued increases in auto loan debt per borrower as the national portfolio gets younger on average,” says Peter Turek, automotive vice president in TransUnion’s financial services business unit.TransUnion anticipates the economy will continue to improve in 2015, with a better employment picture boosting the auto industry.Improving labor markets, higher incomes, and pent-up demand led to fast credit union loan portfolio growth in the third quarter, Mike Schenk, vice president of CUNA’s economics and statistics department, writes in February issue of Credit Union Magazine. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more