Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Report: Affinity frauds increase in economic downturn

From the New York Post:
Maybe it's the bad economy. Maybe it's people's desire to look past Wall Street and invest with someone they believe they can trust.

But whatever the reason, swindles of friends by friends are on the rise -- so much so, that prosecutors have coined a separate name for it: Affinity frauds...Savvy people who would never dream of investing with a cold-call telephone huckster will hock their homes and ruin their credit for a "friend" with an honest face and a good idea....

Many “friendly” business offers are legitimate. However, even a legitimate business deal can go sour if one or both parties do not realize what they are getting into.

The best way to avoid fraud, or other legal complications, is to consult a qualified attorney of your own choosing before entering into any contract or making any sizeable investment, even with a friend or family member.

Monday, July 18, 2011

National Week Recognizes Probation, Parole Officers

From the Ithaca Journal:
The American Probation and Parole Association has declared July 17 as a week of recognition for the work done by probation and parole officers providing supervision to offenders in the community. And for very good reason: There are more than 120,000 people on probation alone in New York. This number is more than the combined total of parolees and individuals incarcerated in the prison system. Probation is the largest alternative-to-incarceration program available to the courts and provides a crucial service in the justice system….

Probation officers are agents of the court and are responsible for ensuring that court- ordered conditions are met. To do this, probation officers provide direction, guidance and mentoring in face-to-face supervision appointments.

More on the role of probation and correctional alternatives in the justice system can be found here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Indictment Dismissed in Ithaca Hospital Assault Case

From Fingerlakes1:
A Tompkins County Judge has dismissed the indictment against one of the men accused of participating in an attempted gang assault at Cayuga Medical Center in May 2010.

In a decision dated Wednesday (July 13, 2011) Judge John Rowley ruled that the assistant district attorney who presented the case against James Marshall to the grand jury failed to provide sufficient evidence of Marshall’s involvement and "violated his duty of ‘fair dealing to the accused."

Rowley’s decision came after Marshall’s attorney, Steven Getman, filed motions to dismiss the case for lack of evidence and due to defective grand jury proceedings. As part of that motion, Getman had argued that the prosecution did not provide the grand jury with evidence of Marshall’s repeated denials of guilt to the police.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New guide to New York's gay marriage law

With the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York, gay and lesbian couples will have the opportunity to get marriage licenses beginning July 24.

In anticipation of the many questions surrounding the new law, an online guide has been set up to address some of these concerns.

The guide offers legal advice from attorneys, and goes over the basic rules surrounding the same sex marriage law, including:
• applying for a marriage license;
• the rights and responsibilities conferred by marriage;
• the implications of the law’s religious exemptions; and
• limitations imposed by the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The guide is currently available here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Documents You Need Before You Die

The Wall Street Journal has printed a list of the 25 documents you need before you die. They include:
• An original will;
• Proof of ownership for major assets, such as real property and motor vehicles;
• A complete listing of all bank accounts;
• A durable health-care power-of-attorney form;
• Life insurance policies and retirement accounts;
• Marriage and/or divorce papers.

The Journal also gives some advice on where to store these items. However, the laws of each state vary and, in certain jurisdictions, the locations suggested could create legal problems for your heirs.

Therefore, while everyone is strongly encouraged to locate and/or prepare these documents, anyone reading this list should make sure to consult with a competent attorney of their own choosing before following all the advice in this article.