ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

January 30, 2003

2003.01.30: Labor Marches Against the War: 2/15

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 12:10 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 2:43 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Labor Marches Against the War: 2/15

[The following is also attached as a flyer]

Please forward widely

LABOR MARCHES AGAINST THE WAR

FEB 15–NYC

SATURDAY NOON
MARCH & RALLY

LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED

“The largest ever mobilization against war”–London Daily Mirror

Labor endorsements (list in formation):

**1199SEIU
**AFSCME DC 37
**AFSCME DC 1707
**New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) **UAW Region 9A **U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

NYC labor contact: nyclaw01@excite.com

Sponsored by
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
http://www.unitedforpeace.org
(646) 473-8935

Advertisements

January 28, 2003

2003.01.28: INS Special Reg. Legal Training

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Islamophobia — nyclaw01 @ 12:10 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 10:07 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: INS Special Reg. Legal Training

Please circulate broadly:

The Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York In Cooperation With The New York Immigration Coalition

PRESENTS

Training for Volunteer Lawyers to Assist Persons Subject to INS Special Registration

DATE:        Wednesday, February 5, 2002
TIME:         6:30 P.M.-9:30 P.M.
LOCATION:     ABCNY, 42 West 44th Street

Background:  In 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft directed the already-beleaguered INS to implement perhaps the largest enforcement effort in INS history -a “special registration” program to register and monitor certain nonimmigrants from predominantly Muslim and Middle Eastern countries.  Persons subject to registration must appear at the INS district office to be fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed, and it has not been unusual for the process to take 18 hours or more.  There is widespread anxiety and fear about the registration program in the targeted immigrant communities, stemming from the fact that large numbers of persons who voluntarily complied with the law were detained or placed in deportation proceedings.  The requirements for registration are confusing for many individuals who are uncertain whether or not they must register with the INS.  There are serious potential consequences for people who register but have issues with their immigration status.  There also are serious potential consequences for people who are supposed to register but willfully fail to do so.

Hence, there is a tremendous need for legal information and assistance in these targeted communities.  This program will teach attorneys about basic immigration law and special registration rules, and train them to conduct an informational/needs assessment interview with potential registrants or post-registrants.  Attorneys will be asked to commit to volunteering for at least two legal clinic sessions at community-based organizations, under the supervision of experienced immigration attorneys.  Other volunteer opportunities may also be available.

Trainers:

Julie Dinnerstein, Director of the Immigration Intervention Project, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, Sanctuary for Families

Dan Smulian, Director of Training and Legal Services, The New York Immigration Coalition

Cyrus Mehta, Chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the ABCNY

Please register with the attached form.  For questions about the training, please call Dan Smulian at (212) 627-2227 x 226.  For questions regarding registration please call Mervete Ardolic at (212) 425-0555.

Registration

PLEASE FAX OR E-MAIL REGISTRATION FORM

Space is limited. Please register in advance

Registrant information:
Name:
Organization or Firm:
Address:
Tel:
Fax:
Email:

Are you:

* An Attorney?
* An Attorney Experienced in Immigration Law?
* A Law Student?

I, ____________________, certify that following the completion of this training I will serve on a pro-bono basis in at least two special registration clinics.

Dated:                   , 2003

Signed: __________________________

REGISTER BY FAXING THIS FORM TO (212) 425 3282 OR E-MAIL TO MERVETE@CYRUSMEHTA.COM.  IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING REGISTRATION PLEASE CALL MERVETE ARDOLIC AT (212) 425-0555. SUBSTANTIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRAINING CAN BE DIRECTED TO DAN SMULIAN AT (212) 627-2227 X226.

2003.01.28: Defend Limits on NYPD Spying

Filed under: Antiwar,Civil Liberties,Criminal Justice,Islamophobia — nyclaw01 @ 12:09 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 12:42 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Defend Limits on NYPD Spying

Support your right to participate in lawful political and First Amendment activity — attend an important court hearing on Wednesday, January 29th at 3:00 p.m.

The New York City Police Department has asked a federal judge to virtually eliminate court-ordered protections for citizens and organizations who engage in lawful political acitvity in New York City. The court order prevents the police from spying on first amendment activities unless a targeted person or group engages in criminal activity.

Oral arguments on the police department’s motion in the case, “Handschu v. Special Services Division,” will be held on Wednesday, January 29th at 3:00 p.m.

Courtroom 17-C
United States District Court
Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street (east of Foley Square)
New York, NY
(4, 5 & 6 Train to Brooklyn Bridge;
J, M, Z, A, C and E to Chambers St.)

Citing the events of September 11, 2001, David Cohen, Deputy Police Commissioner for Intelligence and a 35-year veteran of the CIA, has told the court in the Police Department’s motion papers that continuing to require a “criminal predicate” to conduct political investigations hampers intelligence collection on potential terrorists.

The “Handschu” case was filed in 1971 shortly after it came to light that police had for decades spied on lawful activities of social and racial justice advocates. A front-page article by Chisun Lee in the December 18th Village Voice presents a history of the “Handschu” decree, and what is at stake for New Yorkers. Click here to read the article:

http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0251/lee.php

January 27, 2003

2003.01.27: UAW Antiwar Position

Filed under: ALAA History,Antiwar,Key Documents — nyclaw01 @ 12:09 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 10:54 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Cc: 1199 Members
Subject: UAW Antiwar Position

On January 16, ALAA’s parent union, the 30,000-member UAW Region 9A NY Metro Area CAP Council,  overwhelmingly adopted the resolution below endorsing U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW).  I will report further on our parent union’s decision at Tuesday night’s ALAA Delegate Council meeting.

USLAW was founded at a January 11 meeting in Chicago attended by more than 100 delegates from unions and labor antiwar committees, including SEIU Local 1199, the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981, the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY and New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW).

To date, antiwar resolutions have been adopted by union bodies representing more than four million members, a number that grows daily.

The UAW region also specifically endorsed the massive DC antiwar demonstration on January 18 and the mass antiwar rally scheduled for February 15 in New York City.

To help organize further labor support for the USLAW resolution and for February 15, please contact me by return e-mail or at 917.282.0139.

——————–
ESTABLISHMENT OF U.S. LABOR AGAINST WAR

WHEREAS, over 100 trade unionists from 76 local and regional unions, central labor councils and other labor organizations including UAW Local Unions from Region 9A representing over 2 million members gathered in Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss concerns about the Bush administration’s threat of war; and

WHEREAS, union members and leaders have a responsibility to inform all working people about issues that affect their lives, jobs and families, and to heard in the national debate on these issues: and

WHEREAS, the principle victims of any military action in Iraq will be the sons and daughters of working class families serving in the military who will be put in harms way, and innocent Iraqi citizens who have already suffered so much: and

WHEREAS, we have no quarrel with the ordinary working class men, women and children of Iraq, or any other country: and

WHEREAS, the billions of dollars spent to stage and execute this war are being taken away from schools, hospitals, housing and Social Security: and

WHEREAS, the war is a pretext for attacks on labor, civil, immigrant and human rights at home: and

WHEREAS, Bush’s drive for war serves as a cover and distraction for the sinking economy, corporate corruption and layoffs: and

WHEREAS, such military action is predicted actually to increase the likelihood of retaliatory terrorist acts, and

WHEREAS, there is no convincing link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or the attacks of September 11, and neither the Bush administration nor the UN inspectors have demonstrated that Iraq poses a real threat to Americans: and

WHEREAS, U.S. military action against Iraq threatens peaceful resolution of disputes among states, jeopardizing the safety and security of the entire world, including Americans; and

WHEREAS, the labor organizations meeting in Chicago established “U.S. Labor Against the War” (USLAW) on January 11, 2003, to give voice and organization to their concerns; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that UAW Region 9A CAP Council endorses and joins with USLAW in opposing war with Iraq.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that UAW Region 9A CAP Council stands firmly against Bush’s war drive, and

BE IT FURTHER REOLVED, that UAW Region 9A CAP Council will publicize and promote labor and community antiwar activities.

Adopted January 16, 2003 in New York City.

January 24, 2003

2003.01.24: Village Voice: Bx Scab Scandal

Filed under: 1994 Strike,Indigent Defense — nyclaw01 @ 12:08 pm
Tags:

—–Original Message—–
From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 2:14 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Village Voice: Bx Scab Scandal

http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0304/robbins.php

A Contractor’s Commission Payment Sparks Probe Bronx Clash by Tom Robbins January 22 – 28, 2003

Disputed territory: the old Alex & Henry’s restaurant, now a renovated legal services office
(photo: Tania Savayan)

In its glory days, Alex & Henry’s restaurant in the Bronx, on Courtlandt Avenue near East 161st Street, was close enough to Yankee Stadium that Joe Dimaggio made it his regular watering hole after games in the 1940s. The old dining hall was also a short walk from the borough’s courtrooms, and, after the restaurant closed its doors a few years ago, this made it an ideal choice for a Bronx legal services organization seeking new office space.

Bronx Defenders Inc., a nonprofit group established after former mayor Giuliani demanded alternatives to the Legal Aid Society, with which he was feuding, moved into the former restaurant in 2001, spending more than $1.6 million on renovations. Today the restaurant’s neon signs still hang outside, while inside the former eatery has been transformed. The dining rooms have been converted into a light and airy space with brightly colored walls, glass brick, and large skylights, and open work space for its attorneys and investigators as well as the defendants and their families seeking legal assistance. The renovation, however, has also spawned a bitter battle between the legal services group and its former contractor, a builder called Ivy Walk Construction.

The feud is several notches above the usual finger-pointing and charges of shoddy work and unpaid bills between client and contractor. Contractor Eric Wright, president of Ivy Walk, has alleged misspending by the legal group and brought his charges to several city agencies, including the city’s Office of Criminal Justice, which funds the organization, and the city comptroller’s office, which oversees its contracts.

For their part, Bronx Defenders and its executive director, Robin Steinberg, have countered with a $22 million lawsuit against Wright, charging him with breach of contract, interference with the group’s city funding, and—as evidence of the harshness of the argument—even slander. The suit, filed in October, claims that Wright brought his allegations to reporters and city officials in an effort to “pressure [Bronx Defenders] into paying [Wright] additional money.”

Both sides of the dispute, however, agree on one disturbing matter that has now become the subject of a city investigation: Prior to starting the project, Wright paid $20,000 to a lawyer who was the co-founder of Bronx Defenders and who, acting as a private attorney for the group, was overseeing its move to new offices.

Wright provided two canceled checks to investigators, showing he paid the money to the firm of Hoffman & Arshack—whose principal, Daniel Arshack, founded the legal services organization along with Steinberg and served as its managing attorney until 1999 when he returned to private practice. The payments, one for $5000 and a second for $15,000, were made shortly after Wright signed a contract, drawn up by Arshack for the group, to take on the renovation, initially estimated at $1 million.

According to Wright, after he was selected for the job, he offered a commission to a former contracting colleague who had referred him to Arshack. That offer was declined, said Wright.
Subsequently, at a December 2000 meeting with Arshack at an Upper West Side restaurant to discuss the project, Arshack raised the issue. “Arshack said, ‘I understand you are offering a commission. I’d like to have that,’ ” said Wright. The builder said he was surprised at the request, but agreed to pay it. “This was the guy standing between me and my first seven-figure contract,”
he said.

Wright said the total amount of the commission requested by Arshack was $25,000, but that the last $5000 was never paid because of the ensuing dispute between Ivy Walk and Bronx Defenders. “Arshack started getting very aggressive about getting the last $5000,” said Wright.

Asked by the Voice about the issue, Arshack initially refused to acknowledge the payments.
“What is the issue in that regard?” he said several times. Told that copies of canceled checks showed the payments to his law firm, he defended the arrangement. “Of course we received it,” he said. “It was paid to us under an agreement for what we did. It was a finder’s fee.” Pressed about why he would be entitled to a fee for having selected a contractor for his group’s renovation project, Arshack said: “The contractor was inclined to pay it.”

Steinberg said she didn’t learn about the payments until several months later. “I was surprised when Dan told me about it,” she said. “I don’t have a favorable feeling about Dan taking that money.” She added: “It seemed like a lot of money to get for an introduction.”

Steinberg said Arshack was paid separately by Bronx Defenders for his assistance on the project, which included negotiating contracts with both Wright and the landlord. She also said Arshack had never pushed her to hire Wright’s firm for the project. “If Ivy Walk paid money to someone in an effort to influence us, they will have to answer for that. Mr. Arshack never tried to influence me in regard to the contractor,” she said.

Still, Steinberg acknowledged that “the appearances of it aren’t great. I can see why people would raise questions about it.”

That is exactly what the office of City Comptroller William Thompson did after Wright brought his story to officials there. The comptroller referred the payments to Arshack and other issues stemming from the project to the city’s Department of Investigation.

In an October 2002 letter to the city’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator, the comptroller’s office also questioned why the city, already paying $240,000 a year in rent for the space, had agreed to pay for a new roof, new exterior walls, and heating and ventilation equipment for the former restaurant, in addition to the $1 million renovation of the interior space. Those types of repairs, the comptroller wrote, “are generally the responsibility of the landlord and not the tenant.”

“The allegations are under review,” said Emily Gest, a spokeswoman for the investigations department, which is conducting the probe.

Under its current two-year contract with the city, Bronx Defenders receives $7.6 million to represent some 12,500 indigent defendants. Since its launch, the group has received high marks from city evaluators and legal experts. It prides itself on providing a broad array of assistance to defendants, including social service aid and civil representation.

Giuliani’s call for alternative providers of legal defense came after a brief 1994 strike by attorneys at the Legal Aid Society. Giuliani threatened to fire the striking lawyers and the walkout was quickly settled. Many Legal Aid lawyers saw Giuliani’s subsequent request for new legal services providers as an effort to break their union. Feelings have cooled considerably since then, but there is still much bitterness. “I look on them as runaway shops,” said Michael Letwin, a former union official.

Records show that the Bronx Defenders proposal, which listed Arshack as president and managing attorney and Steinberg as vice president and executive director, was the highest ranked of several competitors. The group, which needed to be close to the courts, found its first offices on Grant Avenue near the Bronx Criminal Courthouse. In 2000, however, its building was condemned by the city for a new courthouse, and the group was forced on short notice to find new space. Arshack, who had quit the organization the prior year to return to private practice, was asked by Steinberg to help handle the search. The then vacant Alex and Henry’s site was discovered, she said, not by Arshack but by a staff member who went on a lunchtime walk.

The discovery was a windfall for the owner, a real estate firm headed by Manhattan businessman Gabriel Boter, which had purchased the building just a few months earlier for $940,000 and was in search of a tenant. With Arshack handling the negotiations, the group signed a 25-year lease at $240,000 per year. The comptroller’s office said that while it had found no evidence of any link between the timing of the purchase and the subsequent long-term lease, the transaction “rises to the level of requiring further scrutiny.”

Arshack said he hadn’t known the building or its owner before the site was located and only handled negotiations on the lease. Boter did not return calls.

January 9, 2003

2003.01.09: Tomorrow: Protest Against INS “Special Registration”

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Islamophobia,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 12:07 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2003 1:53 PM
To: 1199 Members@HQWEST.WEST; ALAA MEMBERS@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Tomorrow: Protest Against INS “Special Registration”
Importance: High

[The following event is consistent with ALAA’s position “In Defense of Civil Liberties” (attached).  Please reply to me by return email if you are able to attend.]

——————————————————————————–

****Demonstrate outside the INS****

MASS MOBILIZATION TO END SPECIAL REGISTRATION!

Rally at the INS building: 26 Federal Plaza Friday, January 10 1:00 PM – Jummah Prayer (Muslim Prayer) 2:00 PM – Rally against Special Registration
Subway: 4,5,6/Brooklyn, Bridge, J,M,Z/Chambers, N,R/City Hall

WE DEMAND:

**Stop special registration
**Free all the detainees
**Stop the repression of immigrant communities **Stop racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims, South Asians and all communities of color **Stop all the attacks on civil liberties **End all repressive “anti-terrorism” legislation

Attorney General John Ashcroft has ordered men and boys age 16 and over from 20 countries who are in the U.S. on visas to REGISTER with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Under the new “Special Registration Call-in System,” thousands of men are being fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. This frightening program is blatant racial profiling.  It will place thousands of men “on parole” with the Department of Justice without any charges or just cause.

The consequences for not registering include criminal charges and deportation. However, hundreds have faced arrest, detention, deportation, interrogation, and criminal penalties even after complying.  Already in L.A. alone, about 1,000 men have been arrested, detained, and held in inhumane conditions. Already one man who came in for registration died in custody after being denied medical attention.

Special registration marks the latest in an unending series of attacks on immigrant rights and civil liberties. Over the past 15 months alone, thousands of Arabs, South Asians, Muslims, Cambodians, Filipinos, and other communities have been detained and deported, most for minor visa violations.

This emergency mobilization is organized by the Coalition Against Special Registration.

Endorsed by:
**Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund **American Civil Liberties Union **Committee Against Anti Asian Violence **Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants **Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel-Muhti **Coney Island Avenue Project **Council of Pakistan Organizations **Desis Rising Up and Moving **Families for Freedom Project **Green Party **Islamic Circle of North America **Immigrant Defense Project **International Socialist Organization **Jews For Racial and Economic Justice **Justice For Detainees **Legal Aid Society **NJ Free the Detainees **Not in Our Name **South Asians Against Police Brutality & Racism **Socialist Workers Party **Refuse & Resist **Women Against War-Albany **Workers Democracy Network **Women for Afghan Women **New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) **New Yorkers Say No To War **Take Back the Future **The Greens/Green Party USA **The Brooklyn Greens and the NY State Greens/Green Party of NY **New York Civil Liberties Union **Council on American-Islamic Relations NY Chapter **Brooklyn Parent for Peace **SAHKI for South Asian Women **NY Bill of Rights Defense Committee **Andolan Organizing South Asian Workers **Metropolitan Shura Council of New York **Brooklyn Heights Peace Action **New York Chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee **New Yorkers Say No to War

To endorse contact sarahjfrej@igc.org.
For more information contact: DRUM (718) 205-3036 drum@drumnation.org

January 7, 2003

2003.01.07: NYLJ: Legal Aid and City Sign Pact and Drop Lawsuits

Filed under: 1994 Strike,Indigent Defense — nyclaw01 @ 12:07 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 10:38 AM
To: 1199 Members@HQWEST.WEST; ALAA MEMBERS@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: NYLJ: Legal Aid and City Sign Pact and Drop Lawsuits
Importance: High

http://www6.law.com/ny-shl/displayid.cfm?state=ny&statename=NY&id=109292&table=news&flag=full

NYLJ, December 27, 2002

Legal Aid and City Sign Pact and Drop Lawsuits By Daniel Wise

With the signing of a new contract between the Legal Aid Society and the City of New York, lawsuits brought by Legal Aid and two of its unions over former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s handling of a 1994 strike have been dismissed with the consent of all sides.

The new two-year contract, which boosted city funding for Legal Aid’s trial-level operations by 17 percent, to $58 million per year, was signed by New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt on Nov. 27.

On Nov. 21, according to court records, Southern District Judge Sidney H. Stein, on consent, had dismissed the lawsuits, which were filed in 1996 in an effort to block the city’s funding of other groups to provide defense services in addition to Legal Aid. The suits sought damages in addition to injunctive relief.

The timing of the two events was hardly coincidental, according to Alan Levine, who represented the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, one of the two unions involved in the litigation.

The negotiations over a new contract with the city and efforts to resolve the 1996 lawsuit were “irretrievably intertwined,” said Levine, who handled the case as a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Levine, who took part in the negotiations, pointed out that city officials were anxious to have the union’s release from all claims connected to the litigation in hand before the contract was sent to the city Comptroller’s Office. The union’s release was executed on Dec. 2, and the contract registered with the comptroller on Dec. 9.

Pat Bath, a spokeswoman for the Legal Aid Society, declined to comment. Kate Ahlers, a spokeswoman for the Corporation Counsel’s Office, also refused to comment, other than to confirm that the litigation had been discontinued.

The new contract, for the first time since the 1994 strike, substantially increases Legal Aid’s funding for trial level work to $58 million from $49.5 million in the fiscal year that ended in June. But the new contract also mandates that the group handle all cases except those involving a conflict of interest because there are multiple defendants.

The contract, by requiring that Legal Aid handle 86 percent of the cases in its parts, will reduce expenditures for court-appointed 18-B lawyers by $17 million and overall reduce expenditures for trial-level services by $8.5 million, or 8 percent in the current year, according to city officials (NYLJ, Dec. 19).

In total, Legal Aid will receive $68.8 million this year, including $8.8 million for appellate work and $2 million for recruitment and training of new employees. Legal Aid officials have said that the group is using its new funds to hire as many as 68 attorneys.

In addition to Legal Aid and the union representing its attorneys, the Services Employees International Union, Local 1199, which represents Legal Aid’s support staff, also agreed to the dismissal of its lawsuit.

Giuliani Role Targeted

The suits charged the Giuliani administration with violations of the federal labor law and the First Amendment by insisting prior to the 1994 strike that Legal Aid not grant the attorneys’ union any wage increases, even out of funds obtained from sources independent of the city.

Bowing to the administration’s demands, the suits contended, Legal Aid refused to negotiate a wage increase, and when the contract expired on Oct. 1, 1994, the attorneys went on strike.

In addition to improperly intruding into the bargaining process, the suits also claimed that the Giuliani administration retaliated against Legal Aid by canceling its contract, which it had held as the city’s exclusive provider of indigent criminal defense services since the program was established in 1966.

The suits further complained of Giuliani’s insistence, while the strike was in progress, that any striking attorney who refused to return to work within a 24-hour deadline be forever barred from accepting city-funded employment. The suits faulted Giuliani’s demand that Legal Aid relinquish its status as sole provider of defense services in any new contract with the city — a demand that opened the way for the city to contract with other organizations. The plaintiffs also targeted the mayor’s demand that the new contract have a no-strike clause.

Legal Aid and the union failed to block the city from contracting with outside organizations, and the first contracts with alternate providers went into effect in 1996. Today, seven of those groups — five provide trial services and two appellate services — receive a total of $28.4 million a year in city funding.

Meanwhile, Legal Aid’s funding was cut from $79 million immediately before the strike to approximately $60 million.

In 2000, Southern District Judge Sidney H. Stein denied New York City’s motion to dismiss the case, but threw out many of the plaintiffs’ claims based on the National Labor Relations Act, leaving principally the free speech claims.

Judge Stein in Legal Aid Society v. City of New York, 114 F. Supp.2d 204, also circumscribed the unions’ claims.

Following the denial of the city’s summary judgment motion, Giuliani was deposed for seven hours over two days in the summer of 2001.

The recently concluded contract, which was the first negotiated between the Bloomberg administration and Legal Aid, like three others negotiated with the Giuliani administration, does not have an explicit “no-strike” clause. Instead, all three contracts provide that Legal Aid can be displaced if there is a “disruption” in its provision of representation for indigents “for any reason,” a source said.

2003.01.07: NYLJ: Legal Aid Society’s Contract Increases Trial-Level Funding

Filed under: 1994 Strike,Criminal Justice,Indigent Defense,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 12:06 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 10:37 AM
To: 1199 Members@HQWEST.WEST; ALAA MEMBERS@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: NYLJ: Legal Aid Society’s Contract Increases Trial-Level Funding
Importance: High

http://www6.law.com/ny-shl/displayid.cfm?state=ny&statename=NY&id=108821&table=news&flag=full

NYLJ, Dec. 18, 2002

Legal Aid Society’s Contract Increases Trial-Level Funding By Daniel Wise

New York City has agreed to a new two-year contract increasing the Legal Aid Society’s funding for defending the poor in trial-level criminal cases by 17 percent, to $58 million a year.

The increased funding is designed to insure that Legal Aid lawyers handle a greater proportion of the cases that have previously gone to court-appointed attorneys under the 18-B program, and will result in an overall cost savings of 8 percent, Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt said Wednesday.

Feinblatt said his office projects that spending for 18-B lawyers in the current fiscal years will drop by half from $34 million in the fiscal year that ended in June to $17 million in the current fiscal year. That drop, Feinblatt explained, will more than offset the rise in Legal Aid’s funding, with the city’s overall expenditures for the handling of trial-level cases falling to $97.5 million in the current fiscal year from $106 million in the last fiscal year (FY2002).

Under the new contract, it is projected that Legal Aid lawyers will handle 204,000 cases compared with 147,000 a year ago, an increase of 39 percent, Feinblatt said. To accommodate the increased caseload, a spokeswoman for the Legal Aid Society previously stated that it would hire as many as 68 new lawyers in anticipation of its obligations — and increased funding — under the new contract (NYLJ, Aug. 23). The Legal Aid Society did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

The increase in Legal Aid funding, coming in the Bloomberg’s administration’s first year, is in marked contrast to funding cuts and freezes that marked Legal Aid’s relationship with the Giuliani administration. Following an ill-fated four-day strike in 1994, the first year of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s tenure, Legal Aid’s budget was cut by $13 million. In ensuing years its budget was cut further as the Giuliani administration set up seven alternative defender groups at an annual cost $28.4 million. Funding for those groups, two of which do appellate work, continues.

The new contract provides that the city will pay Legal Aid a total of $68.8 million each in the current fiscal year (FY2003) and in the next fiscal year. In addition to the $58 million for trial work, Legal Aid will receive $8.8 million each year for appellate work. A further one-time payment of $2 million will be made in each year to help the group defray recruitment, training and other costs incurred in expanding its staff, Feinblatt said.

The new contract was signed by Feinblatt on Nov. 27. A public hearing on the contract had been held Nov. 19. The contract did not become available until Monday, when it was filed with the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

Penalty Provision

A key provision in the new contract requires Legal Aid lawyers to handle 86 percent of all the cases in the arraignment parts they are assigned to cover. The new contract subjects Legal Aid to financial penalties to the extent its lawyers fall short of meeting the 86 percent requirement.

The contract stipulates that for each month Legal Aid fails to meet that level, it shall pay penalties ranging from $65,000 if it falls .5 percent short, to $966,000 if its lawyers handle less than 79 percent of the cases in their arraignment parts.

The 86 percent quota was based upon an analysis done by the Criminal Justice Coordinator’s office showing that approximately 14 percent of the cases arise out of multiple defendant matters requiring the appointment of a lawyer outside of the Legal Aid Society to avoid a conflict of interest.

Goal of Contract

The goal of the new contract, Feinblatt explained, is to limit 18-B lawyers to conflict cases, which was the intent when the system for representing the poor was first designed in the late 1960s.

To meet the 86 percent requirement, Legal Aid lawyers will have to take over about half of the cases that were handled by 18-B lawyers last year, according to city statistics.

In FY2002, 18-B lawyers picked up 28 percent of the cases in arraignment parts citywide, according to data compiled by the Criminal Justice Coordinator’s Office. Under the new contract, 18-B lawyers will be limited to 14 percent of the cases in arraignment parts covered by the Legal Aid Society.

The 28 percent figure is an average of the cases that 18-B lawyers handled in parts covered by both Legal Aid and the alternate providers. In Manhattan, for instance, Legal Aid, is responsible for covering 19 of 23 arraignment parts in operation each week. New York County Defender Services, an alternate provider, covers the remaining four parts.

In anticipation of the contract becoming final, the number of 18-B lawyers assigned to arraignment parts was sharply reduced starting Nov. 1, with only one 18-B lawyer assigned to each arraignment part.

James T. Murphy, who is in charge of the 18-B program in the Second Department, said that the number of 18-B lawyers assigned in Brooklyn and Queens was cut by 30 percent. The monthly number of 18-B lawyers assigned in the two First Department counties, Manhattan and the Bronx, was reduced by 40 percent, said George Golfinopoulos, the administrator of the 18-B program in the First Department.

There has been no change on Staten Island because only one 18-B lawyer was previously assigned to each arraignment session.

January 6, 2003

2003.01.06: Saturday: Protest NYPD Killings

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 3:30 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 1:22 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Saturday: Protest NYPD Killings

NYPD Have Killed 37 since 9/11/01, 13 since the Beginning of this Year

Stop Police Brutality! No More Stolen Lives!

Citywide Mass Protest to Stop Police Brutality (For Alberta Spruill)

Saturday, June 7, 2003
11:00am
City Hall Park, Manhattan
4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge, N/R to City Hall, A/C/E/M/Z to Chambers Street Called by the NYC Forum of Concerned Religious Leaders

Presented by the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee:
Two showings of the film “JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE”
Saturday, June 7, 2003
6:30pm and 8:30pm
At the El Museo del Barrio’s Hecksher Theatre, Manhattan 5th Avenue and 105th Street
6 Train to 103rd Street, or M2/M3/M4 bus on Madison Avenue to 103rd Street Admission $20 or $10 for Students and Seniors.

___________________

Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation No More Stolen Lives!
October 22 – Wear Black!
http://www.geocities.com/oct22ny

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