ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

June 30, 2016

FYI: The Fining of Black America

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 10:16 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 10:16 AM
Subject: FYI: The Fining of Black America

Fining of Black America

The Fining of Black America
In states like Maryland, Missouri and New York, municipalities with large African American populations are more likely to have an unusually high amount of revenues from fines, even after accounting for poverty rates.

NYPD Chopper

New York police deploy helicopters and K-9 units to find teen who skipped $2.75 subway fare
He’s been charged with escape and theft of services.


June 21, 2016

FYI: Racism, Gentrification, and “Broken Windows”

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:11 am

From: Letwin, Michael <>
Date: Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 10:11 AM
Subject: FYI: Racism, Gentrification, and “Broken Windows”

Jane Jacobs, Broken Windows and the Battle Over Public Space
“In this regard both conservative law and order and liberal-minded urban planning leave poor communities of color in the crosshairs. Deemed disorderly and unlawful, poor people of color become the primary recipients of enforcement. At the same time, urban planners, most of whom are white, design a city that becomes increasingly attractive to the white and well off. The pressures of displacement begin. Neighborhoods gentrify, leading to a change not only in rents and costs of living, but of standards and neighborhood norms. The loud block party once perfectly normal in Puerto Rican Bushwick becomes a quality life issue for a gentrified Bushwick, where white neighbors may now call 911. Public spaces, a theoretically shared space, become battlefields.”

In Brooklyn Bridge Park Conflict, Neighbors See Trouble. Players See Intolerance.
“Sometimes I try and avoid going on Joralemon,” said Aaliyah Johnson, 17, who is black and travels from Flatbush to play basketball. “It’s like they look at you, move their kids over like you’re going to do something, and clutch on to their purse. Your doing that — it just makes us not feel welcome. We just came here to play basketball.”


June 9, 2016

FYI: Today: Defend First Amendment Against Cuomo’s New McCarthyism

From: Torres, Azalia
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2016 11:16 AM
Subject: FYI: Today: Defend First Amendment Against Cuomo’s New McCarthyism


bds-logo-squareLegal observers needed.



Thursday, June 9th, 5:30 PM
Outside Gov. Cuomo’s office, 633 3rd Avenue between 40th and 41st
Organized by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; Jewish Voice for Peace-NY; and Jews Say No!

Tell Gov. Cuomo: We will proudly continue to stand for justice and boycott Israel until it complies with international law and respects Palestinian human rights!

State-sanctioned backlash against the movement for Palestinian human rights has reached a new low: Gov. Cuomo just signed a McCarthyite executive order requiring state agencies to divest from organizations that support the Palestinian call to boycott companies profiting from, or cultural institutions complicit in, Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the order requires the creation of a publicly available blacklist of all companies and institutions that support the movement.

Boycott is a time-honored tool of communities across the globe. Cuomo’s move is blatantly unconstitutional and is shamelessly designed to attack the movement for Palestinian human rights.

Please join us! Tell Gov. Cuomo: We will continue to stand for justice and boycott Israel until the Palestinian people achieve freedom, justice, and equality. We will continue to boycott Israel because it is the right thing to do.

Please RSVP to the Facebook event here and share with friends:



Protest Gov. Cuomo’s Anti-BDS Executive Order
Gov. Cuomo, Rescind Your Unconstitutional Executive Order


Statement on Cuomo’s Anti-BDS Executive Order
“Executive Order No. 157 is a blatantly unconstitutional attack on freedom of speech and establishes a dangerous precedent reminiscent of McCarthyism. It is unprecedented for a state to create a list of entities that support or engage in a First Amendment protected political activity, and deny them financial benefits because of it. Boycotts are a constitutionally-protected form of speech, association and assembly, and have a long history of being used successfully to address injustice and demand political change.”

The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US
“Students and scholars discuss the backlash they have experienced for engaging in Palestine advocacy. These and hundreds of other cases are documented in “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US,” a report released by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal in September 2015.”

What to know about anti-BDS legislation
“The Supreme Court has long held that boycotts to bring about political, economic, and social change – like boycotts for Palestinian rights – are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association, and petition. The government may not condition the receipt of government benefits on the requirement that a person forgo core political speech activity. Nor can the government enact measures that chill our speech rights.”

Video: Ali Abunimah: NY Governor Blacklists BDS to Defend Israeli Apartheid
“NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo ban on state business with organizations that support the boycott movement is unconstitutional and panders to Israel, says Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah.”

Palestinian-Americans respond to New York Governor’s Anti-BDS Executive Order
“When Cuomo says he opposes BDS, he’s saying he opposes international law and equality for Palestinians. Thankfully there are many in New York who do not let him speak for them.”

June 3, 2016

FYI: Defense lawyers say Las Vegas judge ‘was wrong’ to handcuff attorney — VIDEO

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2016 10:05 AM
Subject: FYI: Defense lawyers say Las Vegas judge ‘was wrong’ to handcuff attorney — VIDEO


(Used to happen here too*)


Posted  May 26, 2016 – 6:50pm Updated  May 26, 2016 – 8:14pm

Defense lawyers say Las Vegas judge ‘was wrong’ to handcuff attorney — VIDEO

Zohra Bakhtary (LinkedIn) Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen is shown on the bench on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. (Ronda Churchill/Las Vegas Review-Journal) Zohra Bakhtary (Courtesy Zohra Bakhtary)


Handcuffed public defender says she simply wanted judge to listen to her argument

Las Vegas judge handcuffs public defender in courtroom


A group of Clark County defense attorneys is backing a colleague who was handcuffed in Las Vegas Justice Court this week.

On Monday, Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen directed a court marshal to restrain Deputy Public Defender Zohra Bakhtary in his courtroom. The Clark County Defenders Union criticized the judge’s actions Thursday in a letter to news outlets.

“Judge Hafen improperly handcuffed one of our public defenders simply for doing her job,” according to the letter, signed by a 12-member board of directors. “His actions were unreasonable and unprecedented. Judge Hafen was wrong.”

The union represents about 105 lawyers from the Clark County public defender’s and special public defender’s offices, said its president, Ryan Bashor.

A surveillance video made public Thursday shows Hafen pointing to a court marshal and then at Bakhtary, standing at the defense table in Courtroom 6A. The video does not capture any audio.

Court transcripts indicate that Hafen told Bakhtary to “be quiet,” as she tried to argue that a man facing larceny charges should not be thrown behind bars. After Bakhtary tried to speak, the judge asked her if she wanted to be found in contempt.

There was a brief exchange between the judge and lawyer before the marshal approached Bakhtary, who placed her hands behind her back, and put her in handcuffs. Bakhtary was led out of the frame, while the defendant, Daniel Fernandez, stood alone in a white, short-sleeved shirt at the defense table.

Moments later the same marshal walked up behind the defendant and took him into custody. Fernandez was ordered to serve six months in jail for a larceny charge that he picked up after being ordered to perform community service on other similar charges.

“Go ahead and un-cuff Zohra,” the judge then stated, according to court transcripts. “I think she’s learned a lesson.”

The defense group wrote that with Bakhtary in handcuffs, Fernandez was denied his right to an attorney.

Hafen “violated one of our most sacred, fundamental, and constitutionally protected rights,” according to the letter.

About three minutes after being led away, Bakhtary walked back into the frame, her hands free.

In an interview with the Review-Journal earlier this week, Hafen said he ordered Bakhtary handcuffed because “there needs to be proper decorum with attorneys.” The judge could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Bakhtary, who has worked about once a week in Hafen’s courtroom for three years, said she “did not act unprofessionally. I simply wanted the Court to listen to my argument and consider it before remanding my client.”

Prosecutor Jake Villani said Bakhtary had been given a chance to argue for her client and was interrupting the judge’s ruling.

“My recollection is consistent with the transcripts,” he said. “The judge gave her ample opportunity and warning before taking action.”

Public Defender Phil Kohn has said that an audio/video system, known as JAVS, should have been turned on while the judge was holding court. Hafen said he does not use the system because of potential technological glitches, and the court reporter’s transcript is the official court record.

“There’s nothing unusual about JAVS being disabled in that courtroom,” Villani said. “I’m not aware of a Justice Court that uses the JAVS system actively.”

In Thursday’s letter, the defense group wrote that the transcript “appears incomplete.”

Letter from CCDU

Bakhtary said that after she was released she asked the judge for a break because she was shaking and wanted to call her boss.

The judge denied her request and asked her to continue with her caseload.

That exchange should have been captured in the transcripts, Bashor said, though it is unclear whether proceedings were on the record at that point.

“I can understand why it may not be included,” Bashor said. But “the more thorough thing, in the union’s position, would have been to include the aftermath.”

Contact David Ferrara at or 702-380-1039. Find@randompoker on Twitter.

Transcript of Hafen Contempt by Las Vegas Review-Journal


*On December 3, 1991, judicial abuse of Staff Attorneys resurfaced when Staff Attorney Michelle Myers was handcuffed for alleged lateness and for “smiling” at Criminal Court Judge Bernadette Bayne; Myers had asked that her client, charged with a misdemeanor, be unshackled for a pre-trial hearing. On December 12, Brooklyn CDD union members protested by walking off the job and picketing Criminal Court. Several days later, 100 Brooklyn CDD attorneys voted to boycott Bayne’s courtroom to protest both Myers’s treatment and the contempt citations issued by judges against four other Staff Attorneys — all of whom were either incarcerated or handcuffed for periods ranging from a few minutes to two hours for “being late.”

When, in February 1992, the State Commission on Judicial Misconduct dismissed the Society’s complaint against Bayne regarding this incident, ALAA told the New York Law Journal that “[u]ntil there exists a genuine remedy 1,000 Legal Aid attorneys facing judicial abuse in the future will remain compelled to defend our rights — and those of our clients — with immediate, direct action.(10)”

History of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW Local 2325

June 2, 2016

Graduate Student Workers Resist New Attack on UAW 2865 BDS Resolution

From: mletwin
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 10:20 AM
Subject: Graduate Student Workers Resist New Attack on UAW 2865 BDS Resolution

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