Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Town Board rules in SPCA’s favor

From the Finger Lakes Times:
The [Fayette] Town Board has overruled the town Planning Board, determining that the Seneca County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is not violating town zoning code.


The Town Board approved a motion 4-0 saying the SPCA was “grandfathered” in under the current town code and can continue operating.

“We are convinced that the rules were followed and were properly interpreted, so this is the best resolution,” said Edward Barto, town supervisor.

Jenny McWhorter and Stephen Webb have operated the SPCA for the past six years on Webb’s property.


“This is such a load off our minds,” McWhorter said of the Town Board’s decision. “We were worried that the outstanding zoning issue would hurt our mission and damage our fundraising.”

She said she was grateful to the board and Town Attorney Stephen Ricci for reviewing the matter with SPCA attorney Steven Getman of Ovid.

Getman, who did not charge for his services, was also pleased.

“It was always our position that the shelter was operating legally,” he said. “Not only was it there before the current town zoning code was adopted, but as a duly incorporated SPCA, [it] serves a valid, public purpose in promoting animal welfare.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NY court: Police need warrants for GPS trackers

From the Associated Press:
New York’s top court says police cannot place GPS trackers on suspects’ vehicles without first getting a court warrant showing probable cause the drivers are up to no good.

The Court of Appeals [held] the tracker state police planted on Scott Weaver’s van for 65 days in 2005 violated his constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

Weaver was convicted of burglary based in part on GPS data that showed him in a suburban Albany department store parking lot before a break-in. He will get a new trial with that information excluded.

Read the whole decision here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Attorney Opposes Joint Trials as Prejudicial to His Client

From the Finger Lakes Times (May 6, 2009):
The Seneca County District Attorney’s Office wants to try siblings William, Stephanie, Justin and Brandon Meacham of Seneca Falls and Angela Wheeler of Waterloo together, along with Marvin Snyder of Seneca Falls, Stephanie Meacham’s boyfriend.

During Monday’s court session, lawyers for Brandon and Justin Meacham did not object to consolidating the trials.

But lawyers for the other defendants did, saying a consolidated trial would hurt their clients, whom they claim have different issues and defenses that merit separate trials.


Steven Getman, Wheeler’s lawyer, said his client has no prior criminal record. He said statements her brother, William, made to police are vague about her involvement and could be prejudicial.


Getman said the fact that some attorneys oppose consolidation and others don’t shows there are conflicting defenses.

“That itself seems to show why a joint trial could be unduly prejudicial,” he said.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Consumers Warned: Beware of Swine Flu Scams

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent e-mails and Websites trying to take advantage of the current swine flu outbreak. The group is offering the following advice to avoid swine flu scams:

• Avoid opening e-mail from an unknown source and do not click on any links in the body of the e-mail or open any attachments. Instead, delete the email or report it to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the e-mail to spam@uce.gov.

• Don't believe online offers for vaccinations against swine flu because a vaccine does not exist. For more information on swine flu and updates on progress in fighting the outbreak, go to www.cdc.gov/swineflu

• Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up to date and all operating system security patches have been installed. If your computer becomes infected as the result of a spam e-mail about swine flu, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.