ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

September 30, 2008

2008.09.30: Iraq: getting out

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights — nyclaw01 @ 12:08 pm

From:  Langhenry, Patrick
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 12:08 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Iraq: getting out

Kathy Kelly from Voices for Creative Nonviolence will be speaking at Cooper Union Wollman Auditorium on October 16 at 7:00 p.m. She will talk about the Iraqis displaced by the war in Iraq and why Iraqi citizens want the US military, including all its bases, out of  Iraq.  She will also talk about the expected consequences.

Kathy Kelly has been nominated for Noble Peace Prize on several occasions. She started Voices in the Wilderness in the early 1990s after Desert Storm.  She and her members brought medical aid to Iraqis and stayed on when the current war started. Voices in the Wilderness was found guilty of breaking US law for bringing medical aid to Iraq and ordered to pay $20,000 in fines.

This event is sponsored by Out Now (artist collective)

For more information, please contact:

Contact Anton Vidokle

Phone: 212 619-3356

The Cooper Union, Wollman Auditorium
New York City, NY
See map: Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.

2008.09.30: Troy Davis case decision expected by Oct. 6

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 9:58 am

From:  Kurti, Rebecca
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:58 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Troy Davis case decision expected by Oct. 6

Troy Davis case decision expected by Oct. 6


The Atlanta Journal-Constitutio n

Monday, September 29, 2008

When the U.S. Supreme Court meets Monday to decide Troy Anthony Davis’ fate, its nine justices face a fairly straightforward question: Is there sufficient doubt about Davis’ guilt to warrant further scrutiny of his case?

Davis needs four justices to vote “yes.” Otherwise, his execution, halted by the high court less than two hours before it was to be carried out Tuesday evening, will be rescheduled. The court is expected to announce its decision by Oct. 6.

The high court’s granting the stay at such a late hour, while not unprecedented, indicates the case has the justices’ interest, court watchers said.

“The court can grant a stay and then refuse to hear a case, but they don’t issue the stay lightly,” said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who specializes in arguing cases before the high court. “They are thinking about it hard.”

The stay infuriated the family of slain Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. They had traveled Tuesday to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson to witness the execution. But it sent Davis’ family and supporters, who arrived at the prison in a church bus to stage a protest, into a jubilant frenzy.

Davis sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, murder of MacPhail, a 27-year-old officer shot dead after he responded to the wails of a homeless man being pistol whipped in a Burger King parking lot. The former Army Ranger and father of two, working off-duty as a security guard, did not have time to draw his gun before being shot three times.

Davis was convicted with scant physical evidence: no DNA, no fingerprints, no murder weapon.

Since the 1991 trial, seven of nine key witnesses who testified against Davis, 39, have recanted their testimony. These include trial witnesses who testified they saw what happened, as well as witnesses who testified Davis told them he killed MacPhail. More witnesses have come forward and implicated Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who was with Davis in the parking lot, as the triggerman.

Coles, when previously approached by The Atlanta Journal-Constitutio n, declined comment. He was the first person to go to police and finger Davis as the suspect and is one of two witnesses who have not backed off their trial testimony.

The other, Stephen Sanders, first told police he could not identify anyone at the scene except by the clothes they were wearing. But at trial, Sanders testified he saw Davis fire the fatal shots.

Chatham County prosecutors say they are certain Davis is a cop killer, and MacPhail’s relatives say the death sentence should have been carried out long ago. But Davis’ lawyers contend there is too much doubt to allow the execution.

Indiana University law professor Joseph Hoffman noted that at least five justices must vote to grant a stay of execution. While this does not mean the high court will accept Davis’ appeal, it indicates some justices wanted more time to look at it, he said.

With the exonerations of inmates nationwide based on DNA evidence, the U.S. Supreme Court is giving more careful scrutiny to innocence claims, said Hoffman, a death penalty expert.

“This is the kind of case that has the court on edge right now,” he said. “So it’s not completely surprising that out of all the death cases that come before it this would be the one granted a stay.”

Davis is appealing a ruling by a sharply split Georgia Supreme Court. His lawyers are asking the high court to declare that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment bars the execution of the innocent and requires at least a court hearing to assess the recantation evidence.

Courts have long considered the recantations of trial witnesses suspect. Trial testimony is closer to the time of the crime, when memories should be more reliable. Witnesses also are allowed to be cross-examined under a judge’s supervision.

For this reason, courts erect high thresholds for convicts to clear when seeking new trials based on newly discovered evidence or recanted testimony.

In Davis’ case, the question before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether the Georgia Supreme Court set the bar too high.

In a 4-3 Georgia Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Harold Melton, the court followed a precedent that demands proof, with “no doubt of any kind,” that a witness’ trial testimony was “the purest fabrication.”

Melton cited a state Supreme Court ruling in 1983 involving a Clayton County murder conviction, obtained when a witness testified he lent his car to the defendant on the night of the killing and saw the bound and gagged victim placed in the back seat. When it was later shown the witness was in the Cobb County jail at that time and could not have been telling the truth, the court granted a new trial.

The recantations in Davis’ case do not rise to such a level of proof, nor has he shown that his new evidence is “so material that it would probably produce a different verdict,” Melton wrote.

Justice Leah Ward Sears, in dissent, said there is merit to requiring proof that testimony was the “purest fabrication” to warrant a new trial or hearing. “However, it should not be corrupted into a categorical rule that new evidence in the form of recanted testimony can never be considered, no matter how trustworthy it might appear.”

Ezekiel Edwards, an attorney with the Innocence Project in New York, called the state Supreme Court’s decision troubling.

“It sets a terrible precedent for innocent people who are incarcerated and where there isn’t DNA evidence but where there may be one or multiple recanting witnesses who for a whole bevy of reasons are saying their original testimony was false,” he said. “In most recantation cases, you could never meet the standard they’ve set.”
In filings before the U.S. Supreme Court, the state Attorney General’s Office noted Davis’ lawyers attacked the credibility of prosecution witnesses at trial and Davis declared himself innocent on the stand, yet jurors still convicted him and sentenced him to death. Since then, state and federal courts have considered the recantation testimony, presented in the form of sworn written statements, and rejected that too, the AG’s office said.

U.S. Supreme Court May Issue Statement On Troy Davis Case Wednesday

By David Spunt Reporter
News 3 On Your Side
September 29 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The U.S. Supreme Court will wait until at least
Wednesday before announcing whether or not they will hear an appeal
by convicted cop killer Troy Davis.

Davis is accused of killing, Mark MacPhail, a Savannah police officer
from Columbus.

On September 23rd, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Davis a late stay of
execution within just two hours of the scheduled execution time.

Since Davis’s conviction of killing MacPhail in 1991, seven of the
nine key witnesses who helped put Davis on death row have since
recanted their statements.

The Supreme Court was originally supposed to announce Monday whether
or not they would hear the Davis case.

According to Georgia law, Governor Sonny Perdue’s office says the
governor has nothing to do with the case, and cannot stop the
execution or sign a death warrant.

Davis’ current death warrant, which expires at noon Tuesday, will expire.

Davis’ attorney tells News 3 this afternoon the warrant must come from a judge.

News 3 spoke to Mark MacPhail’s mother Anneliese MacPhail. She says
the family has no official comment at this time. They are just
waiting to see what the Supreme Court will do.

September 29, 2008

2008.09.29: Troy Davis Update – NO EXECUTION TONITE!!!

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 5:15 pm

From:  Kurti, Rebecca
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008 5:15 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Troy Davis Update – NO EXECUTION TONITE!!!


Hey Legal Aid,

The Supreme Court will not make any decisions on Troy Davis’s case until Wednesday. Troy’s death warrant will expire tonight. As such, the attorney general of Georgia will have to seek a new death warrant. Since the state of Georgia requires that two weeks notice be given prior to an execution, a new execution date cannot happen in the next two weeks. This means that the fight for Troy’s life will continue!


2008.09.29: Background: “We Will Not Be Silent” and “Why Arabic”?

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008 12:17 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Background: “We Will Not Be Silent” and “Why Arabic”?

ALAA: In Defense of Civil Liberties (February 21, 2002)
As a labor union whose members fight each day for the statutory and constitutional rights of indigent New Yorkers, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, is deeply opposed to the Bush administration’s broad assault on precious civil liberties and democratic rights.

What is the “We Will Not Be Silent” Campaign?
Artists Against the War: We deplore the death, destruction and lawlessness that the “coalition of the willing” unleashed with its invasion of Iraq. We are shamed by our government’s contempt for other cultures and the silencing of dissent in America. . . . “We Will Not Be Silent” is a statement attributed to a student-resistance movement in Nazi Germany called The White Rose. It is a statement of purpose, intended to inspire acts of resistance and dissent against a corrupt government that abuses its power, and abandons the rule of law.

“Why Arabic?”: ACLU Challenges Airline Ban on “We Will Not Be Silent” T-Shirts
JetBlue and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script. Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.'”

The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the TSA official and JetBlue Airways. “It is a dangerous and slippery slope when we allow our government to take away a person’s rights because of his speech or ethnic background,” said Reginald Shuford, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program.

“We Will Not Be Silent” T-shirts in Additional Languages
Available in Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, English, German, Hebrew at

September 26, 2008

2008.09.26: Free Speech Posters

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 3:08 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Free Speech Posters

You have the right to remain vocal No Nos Quedaremos SeanBellPoster Union Defender We Will Not Be Silent Arabic

To visibly exercise our free speech rights at work, the following are posters are attached.

1. Free Speech @ Legal Aid: You have the right to remain . . . VOCAL

2. Union Defender

3. We will not be silent (Spanish)

4. We will not be silent (Arabic)

5. We are all Sean Bell

September 25, 2008


Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 3:23 pm

From:  Kurti, Rebecca
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 3:23 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS


Day of Action



Please help


Come to 26 Federal Plaza

On Monday, September 29th @ Noon

To put pressure on the US Supreme Court & the US Attorney General

To Consider Troyʼs appeal

Even staunch death penalty supporters agree

there is strong evidence suggesting his innocence!

For more information and other ideas for action contact: nyc@nodeathpenalty. org

(campaign to end the death penalty)

Take the 6 train to Canal Street

on Monday to get to 26 Federal Plaza

2008.09.25: There’s also a Wall Street demo at 4pm

Filed under: Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 9:40 am

From: Herschel, Lucy
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:40 AM
To: Albro, George; ALAA MEMBERS
Cc: 1199 Members
Subject: There’s also a Wall Street demo at 4pm

If folks can’t make the CLC demo at noon, there’s also an after-work demonstration at Bowling Green, to protest Sect. Paulson’s  “cash for trash” scheme where they use our tax dollars to buy up toxic Wall St. securities.  (People are encouraged to bring their own trash to see if they can get a bailout too)  I’ve seen this call bounce around a number of activist list-serves.  Here’s the announcement from United for Peace and Justice.

— On Wed, 9/24/08, Leslie Kielson, NYC-UFPJ <> wrote:

From: Leslie Kielson, NYC-UFPJ <>
Subject: Tomorrow: Bring Your Trash for Cash to WALL ST!
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 4:21 PM

NYC United for Peace and Justice Alert | 212-868-5545 | Click to subscribe

Please share this as widely as possible!


When: Thursday, September 25, 4 PM
Where: Southern end of Bowling Green Park, in the plaza area
What to bring: Your OWN junk, banners, noisemakers, signs, leaflets, etc.

As you know from yesterday’s UFPJ e-mail, people around the country will be demonstrating tomorrow to oppose the White House’s biggest financial theft in world history. Here in NYC, we have the opportunity to go to Ground Zero of this outrageous bailout: Wall Street!  Join NYC-UFPJ, True Majority and many other groups in the city to say “Money for Main Street, not Wall Street!”  Thursday, Sept. 25, 4 PM at the southern end of Bowling Green Park.  If you cannot go to Wall Street, find out about other demonstrations in your area.

This is a historic moment. We need to act now while we can influence the debate. COME TO WALL STREET TOMORROW!

Since Bush wants to buy up Wall Street’s worthless investments with Main Street’s hard-earned tax dollars, some folks are planning to bring their OWN junk to Wall Street to see if they can get a bailout, too. Bring your 8-track tape collection, high-school yearbook, Grampa’s old recliner, and that snow globe from Great Adventure – not to mention your mortgage statements and student loan invoices – and add ’em to the pile!  And tell Secretary Paulson why you deserve a bailout, too! Bring your most audacious junk.  Junk that has a story. Make your case.  (Ordinary garbage discouraged.) This action inspired by  No Bush Bail Out signs can be downloaded from

Post your events to the UFPJ calendar and bookmark it to check what else is happenning around the city and state!

To subscribe, visit

If you no longer wish to receive emails from us, visit





From: Albro, George
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:33 PM
Cc: 1199 Members
Importance: High

See attached for emergency labor rally on Wall Street tomorrow at noon.

From: Scott Sommer []
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:29 PM
To: Scott Sommer

Hi All,

The NYC CLC just voted to have an emergency mobilization on Wall Street (Wall and Broad Streets by the NYSE) at 12 Noon on Thursday, September 25, 2008.  As you are all aware, Congress will be giving away hundreds of billions to the financial industry, by the weekend, to bail them out and it appears there will be limited oversight, accountability and protections  for homeowners, renters and every day consumers.  Working families and the poor are getting screwed once again.

It is imperative that we as a labor movement weigh in on this giveaway of our tax dollars to those who deserve it least.  Please mobilize as many members as you can, (especially any who work in Lower Manhattan), consider releasing all your staff to attend and do come yourselves.  Wear your UAW t-shirts (wear the Obama UAW 2008 t-shirt if you have one), bring your banners and be loud.

If you have any questions please call Scott or June at the Subregional Office in New York, (212) 529-2580.

In solidarity,


Bob Madore


Region 9A UAW


Scott M. Sommer
New York Sub-Regional Director
UAW Region 9A
113 University Place — 6th floor
New York, New York 10003-4527
(212) 529-2580 (phone)
(212) 529-1986 (fax)


2008.09.25: Police Abuse: Brooklyn Man Dies After Police Use a Taser Gun

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 9:24 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:24 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Police Abuse: Brooklyn Man Dies After Police Use a Taser Gun

September 25, 2008
Brooklyn Man Dies After Police Use a Taser Gun

A naked and apparently emotionally disturbed man fell to his death from a building ledge in Brooklyn on Wednesday after an officer shot him with a Taser stun gun, the police said. The police and witnesses said he had been yelling at passers-by and swinging a long light bulb tube at officers before he fell.

The man, identified by the police as Inman Morales, 35, was taken to Kings County Hospital Center with serious head trauma after falling about 10 feet to the ground, witnesses said. He was later pronounced dead, officials said.

Mr. Morales’s death on Wednesday afternoon was another episode in the controversial history of Taser use in the city.
While Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has looked cautiously on the use of stun gun technology by the Police Department, he recently said he was open to broadening the use of the weapons after a city-commissioned study on police shooting habits urged the department to consider using Tasers more frequently instead of deadly force when applicable.

A video taken by a witness and posted on the Web site of The New York Post shows Mr. Morales naked on the ledge, waving the filament tube over the heads of officers as onlookers screamed, an eerie soundtrack to what soon followed.

“It was a dead man’s fall,” said a witness, Charlene Gordon, the property manager for the four-story brown-brick building at 489 Tompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where Mr. Morales rented a third-floor apartment.

Ms. Gordon said that another tenant in the building told her that she had heard Mr. Morales screaming in his apartment, and then saw him in the hall acting strangely. Ms. Gordon talked to his mother during the standoff, and she told Ms. Gordon that she had not seen her son in a couple of days. She also said he had stopped taking his medication, Ms. Gordon said.

Mr. Morales’s mother went to the building, where she found her son out of control, witnesses said. About 3 p.m., she called 911.

Officers with the Emergency Service Unit who arrived at the building were soon chasing Mr. Morales through his apartment, out a window and onto a fire escape. By then he had ripped a long light bulb from a ceiling fixture and was jabbing it at the pursuing officers, the police said.

He then jumped from the fire escape onto the narrow housing of a rolled-up security gate over the storefront on the ground floor of the building, the police said. Mr. Morales again swung the long tube, hitting an officer on the head, the police said.

“He was naked and he kept screaming,” said Joseph Adrien, who works at a nearby dry cleaners. Another witness said Mr. Morales’s mother was kept off to the side, pleading with the police to let her calm her son’s nerves, but being told repeatedly that it was now a police matter.

For about 30 minutes, Mr. Morales yelled that he did not want anyone touching him, and the police yelled back that they wanted him to come down, witnesses said. Then, an officer approached the man on his perch and fired the Taser at him.

Ms. Gordon said that Mr. Morales had lived in the building for about three years. She described him as quiet and neat. He had previously worked in the financial industry, but had been receiving rent subsidies, she said.

Community activists held a news conference after Mr. Morales’s death, urging neighbors not to prejudge the police and urging the authorities to fully investigate.

City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said in a telephone interview that the situation could have been handled better by the police.

“My first take is that while I’m sure there are no experts out there on how to handle a crazy naked man with a weapon on top of a ledge, I’m also sure this wasn’t the right way, ” Mr. Vallone said on Wednesday evening.

“A situation like that is never going to end in a good way,” Mr. Vallone said after watching the video. “The most important thing is that no innocent bystanders or police got hurt. But clearly, it could have been handled better.”

Mr. Vallone said a public hearing on the department’s use of Tasers might be needed to fine-tune its policy on using them.

The use of Tasers in New York has a troubled history. In the early 1980s, the police were condemned for using them to force drug suspects to confess. Mr. Kelly, then a deputy inspector, was assigned to reform the police practices.

The study on police shootings, which urged the department to consider expanding its use of Tasers, was conducted by the RAND Corporation and commissioned seven weeks after the shooting of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets in Queens on his wedding day in November 2006.

The chief spokesman for the Police Department, Paul J. Browne, said Mr. Morales’s death was under investigation. Department guidelines say an officer may use a Taser if an emotionally disturbed person is a danger to himself or to others. Emergency service units may use it in an emergency without direction, or, as on Wednesday, at the direction of an emergency unit supervisor on the scene, Mr. Browne said.

Currently, emergency service unit officers use the Taser about 300 times a year, mainly when responding to some of the 80,000 calls regarding emotionally disturbed people, officials said.

The handgun-shaped device, which incapacitates a target with a pulsating electrical current and is meant to be an alternative to deadly force, got a higher profile in the department in June when Mr. Kelly announced that Tasers would also be used by sergeants on patrol, who would carry them on their belts instead of keeping them in the trunk of their cars.

Mr. Browne said that officers responding to a situation in which someone is threatening to jump from a building or other high structure will routinely request an inflatable bag to help break the jumper’s fall. But he said that Mr. Morales was only about 10 feet from the sidewalk, and that it was unclear whether a bag had been requested but had not made it to the scene on time, or whether it had not been requested at all. Mr. Browne said the matter would be explored as part of the investigation.

“His mother called 911,” said Sharonnie Perry, a community advocate who lives down the street. “She called for assistance and the assistance she got was her son being killed.”

Karen Zraick contributed reporting.

2008.09.25: ALAA Amended Bylaws

Filed under: Union Democracy and Structure — nyclaw01 @ 12:00 am

Original format: Bylaw_Amendments 2008

Bylaws of The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys,  Local Union 2325 of The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace And Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO
As Last Amended on September 25, 2008

Article I:  Name

The name of this union will be The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA), Local Union 2325 of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO.

Article II:  Constitution

The Constitution of this union will be the Constitution of the International Union, UAW.  These bylaws shall be subordinate to said Constitution.

Article III:  Principles and Purposes

It will be the purpose of this union to:

•Organize and unite into the union all staff attorneys of The Legal Aid Society;

•Improve the working conditions, treatment, wages, benefits and professional standing of staff attorneys of The Legal Aid Society and protect all staff attorneys from illegal, improper, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment;

•Ensure the provision of high-quality legal services to our clients and advocate for the improvement of these services within the Society and in other appropriate arenas;

•Advocate for the advancement of the interests of our clients and of poor and working people in general through political and legislative outreach;

•Maintain relations with other labor organizations and work cooperatively with other unions for the advancement of the interests of our members, our clients and of poor and working people; and

•Educate our members in the history of the labor movement and develop and maintain an informed and dignified membership in the ranks of organized labor.

Article IV:  Membership

§ 1. Principle and Authority.  Since the union seeks to benefit the members and thrives by virtue of their support, the membership will be the highest authority within the union.  It alone will have the authority to determine all critical issues.  These include to:  ratify contracts, strike, return to work, set dues, and elect Officers and at-large EB members and Delegates to UAW Conventions.

§ 2. Eligibility.  Membership will be open to all employees of the bargaining unit(s) currently represented by the union and to those employees of other units who subsequently agree to the union’s representation and to those terminated employees whom the membership or the (J)C votes to retain as members.

§ 3. Good Standing.  Members who have paid, or authorized checkoff of, all dues and other financial obligations will be members in good standing, unless suspended or expelled from membership as specified in Article 31 of the Constitution.  Members on leave or layoff will remain in good standing so long as they have paid all dues or dues check-off is authorized and other financial obligations established by the union or required by the Constitution unless suspended or expelled from membership as specified in Article 31 of the Constitution.  Members in good standing will be entitled to the benefits of membership, including voting and participating in the union’s affairs.

§ 4. Termination.  Membership in the union will be terminated under any of the following circumstances:  (1) Final termination of employment within the bargaining unit unless the membership or (J)C votes to retain the terminated employee as a member; (2) Acceptance of a managerial position; (provided, that acceptance of a (Delegate Council (DC)-approved temporary management position of three months or less will result in an approved leave status during such period); *NEW: Interim supervisors shall not be part of the bargaining unit and shall not pay dues while holding such position; (3) Expulsion by decision of the Trial Committee pursuant to Article 31 of the Constitution; or (4) Resignation pursuant to the procedures set forth in Article 6, § 17 of the Constitution.

*NEW: Conduct unbecoming a member shall include (but not be limited to): (1) Violating a strike as defined  in Article X, or non-compliance with any other resolution that is binding on the membership;  (2) An act of physical assault or vandalism directed at the person or property of another member of the union or of Local 1199; (3) A public expression of bigotry, slander or vilification directed at another member of the union or of Local 1199.

§ 5. Reinstatement.  Any member who has resigned, or been suspended or expelled, from the union and who seeks to rejoin or to become a member in good standing will pay a reinstatement fee established by the union.(Interim supervisors who return to the bargaining unit shall not be required to pay a reinstatement fee).

§ 6. Meetings.

§ 6.1. Frequency.  The membership will meet at least monthly in each of the offices where employed.  (There will be a citywide membership meeting at least thirty (30) days prior to Officer and Executive Board (EB) elections, at which nominations for such offices will be accepted and a candidates’ forum held.  At other times,) The membership will meet citywide upon the (1) call of the President; (2) majority vote of the EB or the (J)C; or (3), petition of twenty-five percent (25%) of the membership. There shall be a least one citywide membership meeting annually.

§ 6.2. Quorum.  A quorum at any citywide or local membership meeting will consist of twenty-five percent (25%) of the members in good standing prior to the meeting.  If applicable, absentee ballots, as permitted by the EB or the (J)C, can be counted toward establishing a quorum.

§ 7. Voting.  Except for the election of Officers and Delegates, which requires in-person voting at designated offices or polling place(s) (see Article VIII), and votes to strike or call off a strike, which will occur at a membership meeting, the membership may vote by mail, at a citywide or other appropriate meeting, or in person at a designated office or polling place(s), as determined by the EB or (J)C.  Provision for absentee ballots for membership votes may be made by the EB or (J)C to the extent that it is consistent with the Constitution Art.  19, § 3; Art.  38, § 10; or Art.  50, § 1(b).

Article V: (JOINT) Council

§ 1. Authority.  The (J)C will be the highest authority in the union after the membership.  Among other powers, it will elect three pension Trustees and the Election Committee.  No grievance will be arbitrated without its approval.

§ 2. Composition.  The (J)C will consist of (the following):

1. In the NYC Legal Aid Society Unit:

Delegates elected by members of each work site (complexes in the Criminal Defense Division (CDD), offices in the Juvenile Rights Division (JRD) proper and the Civil Division (which shall include the Prisoners Rights Project), units in the Criminal Appeals Bureau (CAB) (which shall include the Parole Revocation Defense Unit (PRDU) and the CDD Special Litigation Unit).

2. In ALAA’s other Units:

The Unit Chair plus at least one additional delegate.

3. All (Constitutional) Officers;

Delegates shall be apportioned according to the following formula:  one (1) Delegate per every ten (10) members, rounded up to the nearest multiple of ten (10), with each office, unit and complex entitled to at least one (1) Delegate;   There will be a reapportionment every October 1 for the purposes of establishing the number of Delegates to which each office, unit and complex is entitled.

§ 3. Meetings.  The (J)C will meet citywide at least every two (2) months, and at other times as scheduled by the President, the EB or itself.  Delegates from each office, unit and complex will meet at least monthly.  A quorum consists of twenty percent (20%) of the total number of Delegate positions allocated, regardless of whether they are filled.

§ 4. Voting.  Each Delegate is entitled to one (1) vote.  The members of each office, unit and complex may elect up to three (3) ranked alternates, who may vote only if the Delegate is absent at a (J)C or office, unit or complex Delegates meeting.  Officers, other than the President, will be entitled to vote as if they were Delegates.  The President may vote only when the (J)C is equally divided and the President is presiding.  If an Officer other than the President is presiding, that Officer will only have a right to vote when the (J)C is equally divided.

Article VI:  Executive Board

§ 1. Authority.  The EB will be empowered to represent the union between meetings of the union when urgent business requires prompt and decisive action.  The EB will also serve as the (NYC LEGAL AID UNIT’s) Bargaining Committee

§ 2. Composition.  The EB will be composed of the following (seventeen) Executive Officers:


Financial Secretary-Treasurer;

Recording Secretary;

Three (3) Union Trustees;



Vice Presidents (of the NYC Legal Aid Unit, to be proportionately constituted as                             follows:one voting VP for its Civil, JRD, CAB units and the CDD Boro Offices with                  50 or more members; a second voting VP for each of those units with 100 or more                   members; and a third voting VP for each of those units with 200 or more                                  members.

Unit Chairs of ALAA’s other units, to be proportionately constituted as above.)

The EB will also include at-large members representing the following areas:

Senior Attorneys;

Junior Attorneys;

Middle Attorneys;

Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid (ACLA);

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Attorneys;

Affirmative Action; and

Part-time Attorneys.

The at-large EB members will be responsible for calling regular ongoing meetings of the caucus or committee s/he represents and for arranging advance notice of such meetings to the membership.

§ 3. Election.  All Executive Officers and at-large EB members will be elected by the entire membership; the Vice-Presidents (and Unit Chairs) will be elected by their respective constituencies.

§ 4. Meetings.  The EB will meet at least monthly, except during August.  The Recording Secretary will take the minutes of EB meetings, unless unavailable, in which event the President will designate another EB member to take the minutes.

§ 5. Voting.  Each EB member is entitled to one (1) vote.  The members of constituencies represented by a Vice-President (and Unit Chairs, as well as all  members regarding at large representatives), may elect up to two (2) ranked Alternate(s), who may vote only in (the primary representative’s) absence.  Alternates may simultaneously serve as Delegates on the (J)C; however,  no unit or representative office) may cast more than one (1) vote.

§ 6. Reporting.  All decisions of the EB shall be reported to the membership and the (JC).

Article VII:  Executive Officers

§ 1. President.  The President will be the chief executive Officer of the union.  In addition to the duties specified in the Constitution, the President will preside over meetings, and be charged with carrying out all resolutions of the membership, (J)C and EB.  The President will be responsible for the administration of the union between meetings of those bodies, and will represent the union in its dealings with other UAW bodies, organizations, and any public entities.  The President, and the Financial Secretary-Treasurer in his/her absence, will be an ex-officio member of all union committees.

§ 2. Financial Secretary-Treasurer.  The Financial Secretary-Treasurer will, in case of resignation, illness, removal, death or absence of the President, carry out all duties of the President, until, if necessary, an election for President is held pursuant to Article VIII, § 3.  In addition to the duties specified in the Constitution, the Financial Secretary-Treasurer will carry out all duties prescribed by the President and resolutions of the membership, (J)C and EB, and attend all meetings, and take custody of all votes and minutes of meetings of those bodies.  The Financial Secretary-Treasurer will also have custody of all union funds, keep records of all receipts and disbursements, and submit periodic accountings of the union’s financial transactions to the union Trustees, the (J)C and the EB.

§ 3. Recording Secretary.  In addition to the duties specified in the Constitution, the Recording Secretary will take the minutes of EB and (J)C meetings.

§ 4. Vice-Presidents (Unit Chairs)  will carry out all duties prescribed by the President and their respective constituencies and attend all meetings, and carry out all resolutions of the membership, (J)C and EB.  The Vice-Presidents (and Unit Chairs) will preside over all meetings of the members and Delegates of their respective constituencies.

§ 5. Union Trustees.

§ 6. Sergeant-at-Arms.

§ 7. Guide.

Article VIII:  Elections

§ 1. Eligibility.  Executive Officer candidates must be a member in good standing for one (1) year prior to the nomination.  Candidates for Delegate must be a member in good standing for six (6) months prior to the election.  The Senior Attorney representative must be in the tenth (10th) year or greater of service within the bargaining unit.  The Junior Attorney representative must be at seniority step 4 or below, and, once elected, cannot continue to serve after step 6. The Middle Attorney representative must have between 4 and 10 years of service. The ACLA GLBT and Part Timer representatives must be members of their respective constituencies.

§ 2. Terms.  Pursuant to Article 38, § 2 of the International Union Constitution, all terms of office for Officers, Alternates, and at-large members of the EB will be three years.  Pursuant to Article 45 of the Constitution, Delegates and Alternate Delegates will have a (three) two year term.  The first elections under these bylaws will take place by October 31, 1999.  The precise date of subsequent general elections will be set by the EB or (J)C, provided that (the Executive Board election) occurs within thirty (30) days of the three (3)-year anniversary of the previous general elections of EB members ( and the two (2)-year anniversary of the previous election of ) and (the election of delegates to the Joint Council occurs within 60 days after the EB election).  The election of members of the Election Committee will occur at a (J)C meeting prior to general elections.

§ 3. Vacancies.  All Officer and other EB vacancies shall be filled promptly by a special election.  Pending the special election:  (1) A presidential vacancy (may) shall be filled by one of the vice-presidents (or Unit Chairs) elected by the (J)C; (2) A vice presidential vacancy shall be filled by the first Alternate vice-president; (3) All other officer or EB vacancies (may) shall be filled by the (J)C.

§ 4. Procedure.

§ 4.1. Elections Committee.  An Elections Committee, comprised of non-candidates and elected by the (J)C, will conduct, oversee and certify all union elections.  Non-candidate Officers, Delegates and Alternates may assist in conducting elections.

§ 4.2. Nominations.  Written or e-mailed officer nominations will be accepted by the Election Committee (or its designee) during a  (Fifteen (15)) thirty (30) day (period) prior to a citywide membership meeting during which additional oral nominations will also be accepted. and a (C)andidate forums (shall be) conducted. (so as to assure the ability of as many members as possible to attend).

§ 4.3. Time and Notice of Voting.  All elections will occur not earlier than seven (7) days after the close of nominations. and for general elections regardless of whether a quorum was present at the nomina¬tions/candidate forum meeting.  Fifteen (15) days notice of general elections and special Officer elections must be given.

§ 4.4. Location of Voting.  Members will vote in person in their offices or at designated polling place(s).

§ 4.5. Margin Required.  Pursuant to Article 38 of the Constitution, election of Executive Officers will require a majority of votes cast.  All other elections will be by plurality vote.    § 4.6. Uncontested Elections.  Pursuant to Const.  Art.  38, Sec.  17, unopposed candidates shall be considered elected.

§ 4.7. Voting Procedure.  Voting procedures utilized will be designed to accommodate the greatest number of members, particularly those assigned to work night arraignment shifts.

§ 4.8 Installation.  Within 30 days of a general election, there shall be a membership meeting at which, regardless of quorum, the elections committee shall give its report on the election results and the elected officers and EB members shall be installed.  Any timely protest to the election could be discussed at this meeting, but shall only be voted on by the membership at a subsequent meeting or other form of vote, held within 30 days thereafter.

Article IX:  Dues And Fees

§ 1. Initiation Fee.  There will be a fifty dollar ($50) initiation fee for new members.

§ 2. Reinstatement Fee.  Any member who has lost “good standing status” for whatever reason and applies to be reinstated to same shall pay a $50 reinstatement fee, in addition to any dues or fees owed the union.

§ 3. Dues.  Any changes in the dues structure must be approved by the membership.

Article X:  Strikes

§ 1. Violating a Strike.  Any member who works for The Legal Aid Society (LAS) or another bargaining unit represented by the union during a strike at that employer will be guilty of violating a strike.  Any member accused of violating a strike will be subject to a trial under Article 31 of the Constitution and, if found guilty, to the penalties specified therein.

Article XI:  Staffing

Finances permitting, the President and Financial Secretary-Treasurer, in that order, will be on union staff, and will receive the same salary and benefits they would have received on active LAS staff. Any additional union staff will be determined by the EB.  (Per diem, mileage, lost time, and other reimbursement for attendance at UAW or Local Union functions may be payable as allowed by the International Union.)

Article XII:  Parliamentary Order

Robert’s Rules of Order will apply in all situations not covered by the International Union Constitution or these bylaws.

Article XIII:  Amendments

These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the members, after thirty (30) days notice of the proposed amendment, or by a majority vote of the (J)C, after the proposed amendment is noticed on the agenda of two (2) consecutive (J)C meetings.

Article XIV:  Savings Clause

A declaration that any provision of these bylaws is null and void will not in any way affect the validity of other provisions or the bylaws as a whole.

Article XV:  Adoption

These bylaws will become effective upon their adoption by a majority vote of the membership.

September 24, 2008

2008.09.24: October 3rd – House Party for Abolition (of the Death Penalty)!

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 1:01 pm

From: Kurti, Rebecca
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 1:01 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: October 3rd – House Party for Abolition (of the Death Penalty)!

Hey Legal Aiders,

Here is an announcement for a fundraiser for the Campaign to End the Death penalty (with flyer attached).  All are welcome!


From: Rebecca Kurti []
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:56 PM
To: Kurti, Rebecca
Subject: Fw: Save the Date: House Party for Abolition (flier also attached)

— On Wed, 9/24/08, Ben Davis <> wrote:

From: Ben Davis <>
Subject: Save the Date: House Party for Abolition (flier also attached)
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 10:57 AM

Lawrence Hayes – former Black Panther & Death Row inmate

Brian Jones – actor and activist

Alan Newton – exonerated in 2006 after 22 years in prison

Tony Papa – artist, Rockefeller drug law survivor and activist

Yusef Salaam – exonerated in the Central Park 5 case

All invite you to…


Friday, October 3rd

6:30 pm

145 W. 122nd St. #3, Harlem

Between Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X Blvds

closest train stops: A/B/C/D 125 St., 2/3 125th St.

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty needs your help to continue the fight to end capital punishment. Come to this special get-together to celebrate the movement with us, and to support the fight for abolition. All are welcome.

$15-$20 donation at the door – food, wine & beer included in cover.

For more information 718-964-7875 /


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