Federal Judge Rules President Obama’s Immigration Policy Changes Unconstitutional

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A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled President Barack Obama’s executive actions with respect to illegal immigrants as unconstitutional. This is the first court opinion that issues a direct challenge to President Obama’s controversial immigration policy changes. It is however unclear what impact this ruling could potentially have outside the civil court.

According to U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab, “President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional.”

Attorney Arkady Bukh advises that this ruling is on the grounds that the President’s action exceeds prosecutorial discretion since it provides a process through which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others instead of being evaluated on a case-by-case examination. Judge Schwab also points out that these actions allow undocumented immigrations to obtain substantive rights.

Under the proposed changes by the President, up to 5 million illegal immigrants will be reprieved. President Obama has justified his execution actions on the grounds that Congress has so far failed to come up with comprehensive immigration legislation. However, Judge Schwab has refused to accept this argument as he believes congressional inaction still does not endow legislative power with the Executive.

Judge Schwab is not the first one to oppose the President’s decision regarding immigration. Approximately half of the nation has already signed a pending lawsuit against President Obama on this issue. This legal challenge is being led by Texas Governor Greg Abbott who has also stated that these actions violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law and is against the will of the American people. John Eastman, Law Professor at Chapman University has said that this ruling shows that President Obama’s executive action has failed its first judicial test.

Other states on board with this legal coalition include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

However, the Justice Department is not taking this ruling seriously. They have stated that the court has no basis to issue such an order and that the court’s analysis of the legality of the President’s action is completely wrong.

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Police Cannot Use Cell Phone Information Against You Without Warrant

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The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Riley v. California on June 25, 2014, that the police need a search warrant to search your cell phone when they arrest you. This is important to note that the ruling will also most likely cover tablets and laptop computers as well. Justice Roberts noted that cellphones are a major part of our lives and contain private information that are part of our human existence.

Constitutional Protections Over Privacy

The Court argued that in this digital and technological age, cell phones carry a lot of private information about us that should be part of our constitutional protections that our founders fought for on our behalf. While police may still examine the cell phone at the time of your arrest to make sure that it does not contain anything that may be used as a weapon, remove a battery or turn off the phone, the information contained in the phone is off limits without a prior warrant and cannot be used against you to link you to a crime.

This decision could impact arrests of people for suspected criminal activity now that police can no longer rely on linking criminal activity of someone they arrest to their cell phone activity without obtaining a prior warrant. Police will need to establish other evidence against a criminal suspect.

Court Protection of Privacy

It is important to note that the courts are recognizing the importance of protecting our privacy in this technological age. The Supreme Court decision adds to list of privacy protections guaranteed to us under the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruling on GPs tracking is also another one of those protections that is added to the list of technology privacy The police also may not place a tracking device on your vehicle unless they have obtained a prior warrant to do so.

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What You Should Know About Getting Your New York Criminal Conviction Sealed

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If you have been acquitted of a crime, your charges have been dismissed or you were wrongfully convicted of a crime in New York, you may be able to have your record sealed. The good news is states such as New York and Illinois have implemented a process for erasing or sealing a convict’s criminal record after a wrongful conviction. You may also be able to have your record sealed for a juvenile conviction or a juvenile offender conviction or for convictions for some loitering or trespassing convictions.

Also some felonies and misdemeanors may be conditionally sealed if you complete a court ordered alcohol or drug treatment program and have no current pending charges. An executive pardon may be obtained under certain circumstances from the New York State Governor, although pardons are rare and difficult to obtain.

Since having a criminal record can make it difficult to obtain a job, housing or government assistance, it is important to find out whether are eligible to have your records sealed by consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable New York criminal records sealing attorney.

What Effect Does Sealing a New York Record Have?

Sealing a record means that a majority of the public and your current or potential employer will not be able to obtain confidential information about your criminal history. There are certain state government agencies such as when you apply for a gun permit, law enforcement agencies, the military, and a probation or parole officer that can still access your records though. Anyone can go to the court in the jurisdiction where a conviction for a disorderly conduct was made and access the records.

Alternative Options

If you are unable to have your records sealed, you may also qualify for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities if you have not been convicted or more than one felony in New York or any other jurisdiction. The Certificate may remove legal limitations related to employment regarding firearm possession or occupational licenses. It is also possible to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct for persons who have been convicted of more than one felony after a minimum period of time has passed since your sentence was completed or you were released form parole.

Getting Help from a New York Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been acquitted of a crime, or your charges were dismissed or you were wrongfully convicted, you may want to have your criminal history sealed. While you could try and complete the process on our own, most people find it difficult, frustrating and confusing and hire a New York criminal records sealing attorney to assist them with the process. Our attorneys are experienced at helping clients with getting criminal records sealed. We understand how difficult it can be for you having a criminal record and trying to get your life back on track. Your attorney will sit down with you and review your criminal history to determine if you are eligible to have your records sealed. Our criminal records sealing attorneys can help you with other options as well obtaining a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct.

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New York Strengthens Domestic Violence Law

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Governor Cuomo

On October 25, 2012, Governor Cuomo signed into law a package of bills that will strengthen the laws against domestic violence in New York State.

“The law creates the Class E felony of Aggravated Family Offense, which enables law enforcement to prosecute as felons defendants who commit certain misdemeanor-level offenses and have a previous conviction for a specified misdemeanor or felony against a family or household member within the past five years. It also expands the definition of the Class A misdemeanor of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree to include when a defendant, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm, causes physical injury to an individual, or to a family or household member of that individual.” Therefore, the state has raised the penalties on these crimes that are usually repetitive against the same victims.

So many times when a defendant is charged with a domestic violence crime they can easily make bail and that fact creates fear in their victims.  Now under the new law, courts will be required for the first time to consider certain risk factors when determining recognizance or bail for a defendant who is charged with an offense against a family or household member. “Under the legislation that was signed, judges will be required to consider well-established risk factors, such as an offender’s prior violation of an order of protection and the defendant’s access to guns”.

The new law is setting up teams of police officers and domestic violence experts to work in conjunction with domestic violence victims with an eye toward providing more protection for them.  Also the state will create a domestic violence court for parolees to regulate offenders who have been released and create a safe environment for their victims.

Police statewide will now have access to web-based training on domestic violence topics for the first time. Topics include investigating current and past incidents, collecting evidence, conducting interviews and indentifying possible criminal charges.


An interesting twist to this legislation is a section regarding the remains of deceased domestic violence victims.  Before this law was enacted, the family had a right to claim the remains and this often included the alleged murderer of the victim.  Now a person charged with the murder will have no say in burial options whether or not they are family members.  This has been problematic in Western New York where murderers have had dominion over their victim’s remains and this section is an attempt to rectify that problem.


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Third Time Losers get Bad News

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Deval Patrick

Mass. Governor Deval Patrick

Third time repeat offenders have even more to worry about thanks to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Recent pressure from the families and relatives of crime victims pushed the governor to sign legislation eradicating any possibility of parole for repeat offenders of certain crimes.

Admittedly, the bill is imperfect and less than comprehensive. It has the strong possibility of leading to skyrocketing prison costs and will obviously compound the incarceration crisis our nation is facing. However, at the current time, only about six repeat offenders will be put away for life as a result of this new law.

On the up side, the bill Governor Patrick signed will indefinitely put violent murderers, home invaders and rapists away for life. In order to count as a strike, a felon must have spent at least three years in prison. Many violent felonies are covered by the bill. Non-violent drug offenders will simultaneously be eligible for parole as soon as the bill goes into effect.

Only after a compromise was made over non-violent drug crimes did the bill become a real possibility. Thanks to the new legislation, many incarcerated Americans imprisoned on drug convictions will be eligible to go before the parole board.

The bill may be imperfect, but could potentially save the state of Massachusetts big money and open up space in prisons for offenders of more serious crimes. While third time losers are going to feel the pinch, many who are capable of rehabilitation will have the chance to get the help they need.

Jacksons’ Nightmares Continue

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The Jackson family once again proved that they are one of America’s most dysfunctional families. Legal filings and bickering over Michael Jackson’s estate were overshadowed by concern for the children of Michael this week.

Katherine Jackson, the late Michael Jackson’s mother, was granted guardianship over the children by the court. In a shocking turn of events, it would seem Katherine abandoned her grandchildren and skipped out to Arizona for at least 10 days. As a result, 82-year-old Katherine Jackson lost custody of the three young Jackson children.

34-year-old Tito Joe, aka TJ Jackson, son of Tito Jackson and cousin to Michael’s children is now responsible for the kids temporarily. The court deemed it necessary to hold an emergency hearing, where TJ told the court that Katherine Jackson wasn’t acting like herself. He got the impression that she was trying to speak to him in code and that she was being held against her will in Arizona.

Rebbie, Jermaine, Randy, and Janet are said to be attempting to coerce their mother into contesting Michael’s will, which left them inheriting nothing of their brother’s estimated billion dollar estate. The judge let it be known that the late pop star’s mother had done nothing wrong, but he does give credence to Katherine Jackson’s lawyer Sandra Ribera’s statement that she believes Katherine is being held against her will in Arizona by her own children.

TJ is not to allow the children out of the state of California without a court order and permission from the kid’s biological mother Debbie Rowe and Katherine’s successor in the event of her death – Diana Ross.

Videos shown on Good Morning America and TMZ prove Janet and Randy Jackson attempted to ambush the Jackson children’s car in an attempt to take them to Arizona. Janet was taped trying to take Paris Jackson’s cell phone from her twice and then attempting to chase her. Janet’s brother Randy restrained her. Reports also state that Janet was caught searching the Calabasas estate for the children’s passports before Paris kicked her out.

TJ reportedly will file an injunction to become the kid’s permanent legal guardian. Perry Sanders, another member of Katherine’s legal team, will fight the injunction and says this is all a big misunderstanding.

According to Manhattan defense lawyer Bukh, it would seem obvious that the Jackson clan could all end up in hot water. Attempted kidnapping, breaking and entering, kidnapping, false imprisonment, harassment, endangerment of a child and many more charges could, and perhaps should, be filed. It also seems clear that a general lack of love, regard for life and respect for Michael and his children is being displayed my far too many family members. The children are the victims of their father’s fortune.

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