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Corruption in the New York Courts Part II


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Back in March of 2018, we wrote a blog about corruption in the New York courts regarding a case titled Knopf v. Esposito.  Earlier this month, on June 17, 2021, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the indictment of Melissa Ringel, a former director at the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, and her husband, Frank Esposito, a private attorney, for their roles in multimillion-dollar real estate transaction, in which Ringel used her position, without authorization, to advise Esposito’s client’s attorneys on an escrow order unrelated to her official responsibilities.  Their conduct allowed the client to sell the property and pay the $50,000 balance to Esposito’s law firm from the proceeds.  The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment each with one count of Official Misconduct.

One year after George Floyd’s murder: What is the status of police reform in the United States?


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May 25th marked the one-year date of George Floyd’s murder.  Floyd's death sparked a massive movement for police reform and racial justice.  Though many were relieved that Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder, it is impossible to celebrate the killing of a person who died under the knee of a police officer while three other officers stood guard, ignoring the pleas of several concerned bystanders.  And yet, it took this shocking public display of police violence to get the attention of most Americans.

The Government's Involvement in Killing Dissenters


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On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  An hour later he died.  For nearly fifty years, the federal government has maintained that James Earl Ray was the gunman who assassinated King that day.  But within Martin Luther King’s family, there remains a strong belief that Ray is innocent, and was set up to take the fall.

New Laws in 2021


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With a new year come new rules and regulations across the country.  A plethora of new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2021, reflect the issues of the last year when employment, the pandemic, and criminal justice reform was top of mind for many Americans.

Here are some of the biggest changes that went into effect on January 1.

A Look at Presidential Pardons since 1900


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Corruption is the rule.  This week marks twenty-eight years since George H.W. Bush pardoned six defendants as part of the Iran-Contra cover up.  One of whom, confessed criminal Elliot Abrams, was brought back into government by George W. Bush, and now serves as Trump’s Iran/Valenzuela envoy.  Trump is not just using the pardon power as other presidents have, but pardoning people to send a clear signal to witnesses and prosecutors.  Each of the pardoned miscreants was convicted of crimes that may have been committed by witnesses against Trump or by the president himself.

Corruption Is Alive and Well in American Courts


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A judiciary without honesty has little chance of executing its moral and constitutional duties, no matter how many rules of ethics exist.  This is true in the United States, where the judiciary is afforded wide discretion.  Facts and laws require interpretation; justice and equity require judgment.  We count on honest judges to navigate our ship of justice through dangerous waters.  We expect judges to be honest because we establish institutions that incentivize honesty.  Despite the critical importance of maintaining judicial integrity, there is much to say about how commonplace corruption is in our courts.

Warnings over Guns at Polling Places on Election Day


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Can voters bring guns into polling places?  In most states, the answer is: it depends.  Only about a dozen states—including California, Arizona, Florida and Georgia—explicitly ban open and/or concealed carry in voting sites.  In much of the country, voters may bring firearms into polling places, as long as the buildings and churches do.  Those rules vary at the state and local level.

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