Monday, March 23, 2009

New York High Court to Review Warrantless GPS Use

From the New York Post:
New York's top court will consider Tuesday whether police violated the constitutional rights of a burglary suspect when they attached a global positioning tracker to his van without a court warrant.

Scott Weaver, convicted of burglary in part because of the Christmas Eve 2005 GPS data, said both his state and federal rights against an unreasonable search were violated. State police tracked his van to the parking lot of a suburban Albany department store that was later burglarized.


The trial judge refused to suppress the GPS evidence. A midlevel state court concluded 4-1 the device provided essentially the same information as constant visual surveillance, which requires no warrant. A dissenting justice said citizens have a reasonable expectation their every move won't be monitored by a technical device without their knowledge.

the legal test in previous federal case law turns on whether a device augments sensory perception, such as with a simple radio beeper as a tracking device, or actually goes beyond human senses, such as using thermal imaging devices to see what's happening indoors.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New York DWI crackdown under way statewide

From Gannett news:
The second of seven STOP-DWI crackdown periods across New York this year is under way and will continue through St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has announced.

During the enforcement wave, state, county and local law enforcement agencies will be out in force, using sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to deter drunk driving and ensure road safety, according to a news release.

Motorists are reminded that driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher will put them over the limit and under arrest, the release says.

Obviously, the best way to avoid a DWI arrest or conviction is to not drink and drive.

However, anyone charged with, or questioned regarding, an alcohol-related motor vehicle offense should immediately contact an attorney to review their rights.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New York's New Power of Attorney Law

Ovid, NY--Attorney Steven Getman is reminding senior citizens and their families that major changes to the New York Power of Attorney Law will take effect this fall.

These changes include:
• The agent (the person getting power of attorney) must sign and date the power of attorney and the agent's signature must also be acknowledged (notarized). Previously, only the principal (person granting the power of attorney) was required to sign the document before a notary.
• If the principal wants the agent to have the authority to make gifts, additional requirements must be met. They include the principal initialing a separate provision granting gift-making authority and the execution of a "statutory major gifts rider" which must have two witnesses.
• Agents will now be subject to a “prudent person standard of care” with defined responsibilities. This includes keeping records (with receipts) on the agent’s transactions.
• The new power of attorney form has an optional provision that the principal can appoint a “monitor” to request and receive records of transactions by the agent.

“Most of the changes apply only to powers of attorney executed on or after the effective date. However, the provisions regarding fiduciary responsibilities apply to all powers of attorney including those executed before the effective date,” Getman noted.

The new power attorney law was originally scheduled to take effect March 1. However, on February 25, Governor Paterson signed legislation to delay the effective date until September 1, 2009.

“Anyone in New York state who plans to grant power of attorney, or accept the power of attorney, as well as those who currently have powers of attorney, should make sure to contact a competent attorney to discuss the new law, and make sure that they are in compliance with it,” Getman said.

More information on the new law can be found here.