This Weeks News

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. speaks about alternatives to incarceration programs in the Eastern District's ceremonial courtroom.

Holder Endorses Eastern District Alternatives to Prison

Andrew Keshner | October 31, 2014

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Thursday that alternative-to-incarceration programs taking root in the Eastern District of New York are "emblematic" of the sort of specialized programs that the nation needs in order to address overincarceration within the federal criminal justice system.

Judge Pooler

State's Highest Court to Hear Issue of NYC Debt Law

By Mark Hamblett |

The Second Circuit has asked the state Court of Appeals to answer two questions on a New York City law governing debt collection activities, part of which was invalidated by a judge who held the law conflicted with the state's authority to regulate attorneys.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Police to Face Damages Trial on Warrantless Search

By Mark Hamblett |

Police who entered a homeowner's yard without a warrant but who then shot and killed a dog in front of a horrified 12-year-old girl now have to go to trial on damages, the Second Circuit ruled Thursday.

The Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Ave.

Panel Vacates Plea Due to Illegal Sentencing Agreement

By Tania Karas |

A conviction may not stand in a case where neither the court nor the parties realized a sentencing agreement was illegal, a divided Manhattan appeals panel ruled Thursday in vacating a defendant's guilty plea.

Mt. Vernon Loses Immunity Bid for No-Knock Raid Error

By Ben Bedell |

A Westchester County judge has ruled in favor of a family whose apartment was mistakenly raided by Mount Vernon police in 2010, defeating the city's claim of qualified immunity.

Voters to Decide Occupants of 26 Supreme Court Seats

By Joel Stashenko |

The state's top administrative judge, A. Gail Prudenti, is among 10 incumbent Supreme Court justices on Tuesday's ballot.

NY Judge Grants Discovery in Fight Over Bahamian Beach

By Susan Beck |

Never underestimate how hard the rich will fight over beachfront property. That's one takeaway from litigation now unfolding in Manhattan, California and the Caribbean, where two billionaire neighbors are locked in a nasty battle over prime oceanfront real estate in the Bahamas.

Lawyer Indicted for Forging Judge's Name on Document

By Joel Stashenko |

Jeffrey Stark of Levittown was charged in a federal indictment unsealed Thursday with forging the name of a federal bankruptcy judge on a phony order in a case the lawyer never filed.

Panel Disbars Lawyer After Perjury, Theft Convictions

By Tania Karas |

The First Department has disbarred a Manhattan attorney who admitted to stealing more than $50,000, perjuring himself and submitting forged records as fake evidence in disciplinary proceedings.

Lawyer Disbarred Following Healthcare Fraud Conviction

By Tania Karas |

Victor J. Horowitz pleaded guilty in federal court to charges stemming from his participation in a $30,000 false insurance claim and overbilling scheme where he represented clients who falsely claimed to be involved in auto crashes.

Manuel Noriega as depicted in the 2012 game,

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Noriega Over Video Game

Disgraced Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega's lawsuit over his inclusion in a 2012 video game has been dismissed by a judge who determined the game's use of his likeness is protected by the First Amendment.

On the Move

Seven firms added new partners or attorneys.

Large inflatable rats are used for labor union demonstrations.

Judge Declines to Stop Union's Use of Rat in Protest

By Andrew Keshner |

Eastern District Judge Joseph Bianco said federal law divested him of jurisdiction to impose an injunction, and that putting large inflatable rats at work sites to voice displeasure was both within the union's First Amendment rights and outside a collective bargaining agreement's "no strike" provision.

The Rikers Island complex consists of ten jails.

False Arrest Suit Proceeds for Rikers Assault Claim

By Mark Hamblett |

Rikers Island corrections officers claimed they couldn't be sued for false arrest for placing a prisoner in near-solitary isolation because he was already in custody. But a federal judge disagreed.

Court Sees No Bar to Half-Uncle, Half-Niece Marriages

By Joel Stashenko |

Making a rare foray into human genetics, the Court of Appeals unanimously said that the Domestic Relations Law does not regard marriages between "half-blood" uncles and nieces as incestuous.

State Agrees to Limit Solitary for Juvenile Inmates

By Tania Karas |

As part of a settlement reached last week between the Department of Corrections and Community Services and Prisoners' Legal Services, underage inmates serving disciplinary confinement time for breaking DOCCS rules will get an extra hour of out-of-cell recreation time daily and have access to juvenile-specific education and transitional programming.

Split Court Clarifies Role of ASPD in Civil Confinement

By Joel Stashenko |

A diagnosis that a person suffers from antisocial personality disorder, without any other condition linked to sexual violence, is insufficient to support the finding of mental abnormality needed for civil commitment to a mental heath facility, the state Court of Appeals held.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Ex-Dewey Partners Barred From 'Value' Defense

By Christine Simmons |

Former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf are not entitled to use a "reasonably equivalent" value defense against the trustee's claims to claw back money, Southern District Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn has ruled.

Disbarred Attorney Sentenced for Larceny

By Andrew Keshner |

Shigetaka Ogihara, a disbarred attorney who stole $1.8 million dollars from a client, has been ordered to serve three to nine years in prison.

Skadden Partner Leaves Firm for Kirkland & Ellis

By Susan Beck |

In its latest prominent hire from a rival firm, Kirkland & Ellis has brought on corporate finance partner Richard Aftanas from Skadden Arps. Meanwhile, Simpson Thacher, which lost two top partners to Kirkland over the past year, lured back IPO specialist Joshua Bonnie.

Lawyer Charged With Theft of More Than $1.4 Million

By Andrew Keshner |

Long Island attorney Steve Weinstock is accused of stealing in excess of $1.4 million through his alleged theft of escrow money and failure to pay off a mortgage loan.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Banking Attorney to Serve on Jail Oversight Body

By Ben Bedell |

Derrick Cephas, a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, has been named to New York City's Board of Correction, one of three new appointees by Mayor Bill de Blasio to the nine-member board, which is empowered by the City Charter to set "minimal standards" for the city's jails.

Glenn Lau-Kee, the newly installed president of the New York State Bar Association and partner at Kee and Lau Kee

NYSBA President Seeks OK to Ask for Pro Bono Changes

By Joel Stashenko |

State bar president Glenn Lau-Kee's resolution to the House of Delegates will address objections that members have raised since Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced pro bono disclosure rules in 2013.

New Magistrate Judge

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

New Southern District Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy was inducted Tuesday during a ceremony in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. McCarthy, who will sit in White Plains, had been the executive vice president and general counsel of the New York Power Authority before being selected to serve the eight-year term.


Law school graduates line up to take the New York bar exam at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in July 2013.

July 2014 Bar Pass List

The names of the 7,264 candidates who passed the bar examination given on July 29 and 30. The passing rate for all candidates, including U.S. domestic-educated candidates and foreign-educated candidates, first time and repeat takers, was 65%.

The Court of Appeals in Albany

$44 Million Contingency Fee Upheld for Graubard Miller

By Joel Stashenko |

A contingency fee agreement that netted Graubard Miller $44 million for five months' work was valid and must be adhered to, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, saying that it was "dangerous business" to assess the fairness of a contingency fee arrangement, especially when the objection is that "the size of the fee seems too high to be fair."

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown

Judges Find Prearraignment Interviews to Be Invalid

By Joel Stashenko |

A pre-arraignment interview procedure routinely used by the Queens District Attorney's Office has been ruled invalid by the Court of Appeals, which found it renders subsequent Miranda warnings "inadequate and ineffective."

Robert Fuller with his daughter Lynthia. Fuller was arrested in Cuba on Oct. 15, 1960, and executed less than 24 hours later.

Family of Man Executed in Cuba Denied Access to Funds

By Mark Hamblett |

The family of the late Robert Fuller, whom the Castro regime arrested and executed by firing squad in 1960, cannot access electronic funds frozen in banks under U.S. government sanctions against Cuba to satisfy a default judgment, the Second Circuit has ruled.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, at  41 Monroe Place, Brooklyn

Panel Disbars Attorney Who Neglected Clients

By Andrew Keshner |

The Second Department has disbarred Steven E. Goldstein of the Bronx, unmoved by his unsupported mitigation arguments that a close friend's sudden death in Goldstein's living room triggered mental issues, alcohol abuse and his misbehavior.

David Buxbaum at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China

Court Removes Attorney Who Will Be Called as Witness

By Ben Bedell |

Running afoul of the advocate-witness rule, an American lawyer based in China lost his bid to remain as counsel in a case that his China-based firm brought against a former client for unpaid fees.

Law school graduates line up to take the New York bar exam at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in July 2013.

New York State Bar Exam Results Are Announced

By Tania Karas |

The New York State Board of Law Examiners on Tuesday released the results of its July 2014 bar exam, taken by 11,195 candidates. Graduates of New York's 15 law schools taking the exam for the first time posted an 83 percent pass rate.

Eric Schneiderman, left, and John Cahill

Reports Show Wide Spending Gap in AG Race

By Jeff Storey |

As the campaign for state attorney general enters its last days, incumbent Eric Schneiderman has been outspending his Republican rival John Cahill by a wide margin.

Skadden Signals Intention to Leave Times Square

By MP McQueen |

After months of rumors, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom confirmed on Monday that it would leave its current New York headquarters at 4 Times Square and head to the city's Hudson Yards district on the far west end of Manhattan in the spring of 2020.

Tappan Zee Bridge

Use of Clean Water Funds for Bridge Is Challenged

Environmental groups are suing New York state over Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to use federal clean water funds for the new Tappan Zee Bridge, saying it would create a dangerous national precedent if allowed to stand.

Judge Declines to Nullify Shredded Prenup

By Ben Bedell |

An effort to have a prenuptial agreement nullified on grounds of fraudulent inducement failed when Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine ruled the "language used by the parties is clear and unambiguous."

Pro Bono Recognition

As part of National Pro Bono Celebration Week, the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program, New York State Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers' Association honored attorneys from NYCLA's pro bono programs on Thursday.

Court interpreter Edward Luk in Manhattan Civil Court

Finding Interpreters Poses Challenge for State Courts

By Christine Simmons |

Six times a New York City woman appeared in Family Court to get an order of protection against her ex-partner. Four of those six times her case was adjourned because an interpreter wasn't there. Her plight highlights what many attorneys say is a significant problem.

Appellate Division, Third Department, courthouse in Albany

Panel Clarifies Test for a Punitive Contempt Ruling

By Andrew Keshner |

An Albany appeals court has ruled that when judges make contempt findings for violated protection orders and mete out defined jail sentences as punishment, the burden of proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Retaliation Lawsuit Can Proceed

By Mark Hamblett |

Police and city officials cannot be shielded by qualified immunity in a case where a Connecticut man claims he lost a city contract for security services in retaliation for suing the police department, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

Gigi Jordan in Manhattan Criminal Court in September.

Mother's Intent in Killing Son Debated in Closings

By Tania Karas |

Gigi Jordan, a former pharmaceutical executive, was driven to kill her autistic 8-year-old son in 2010 following years of sexual torture by his biological father and threats against her own life by another ex-husband, her attorneys insisted Monday during closing arguments in the seven-week murder trial.

Sonia Sotomayor.

Three Justices Muse on Strengths, Weaknesses—and Yale

By Tony Mauro |

In an amiable conversation at Yale Law School on Saturday, three U.S. Supreme Court justices revealed their strengths, weaknesses, pastimes and even coffee preferences.

Panel Reduces Fee to Match Retainer Agreement

By Joel Stashenko |

The Third Department ruled that while a court is not bound by a retainer agreement when determining whether an unreasonable fee should be restricted, it cannot award fees that exceed the agreement.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Holder Speech to Highlight Eastern District Programs

By Andrew Keshner |

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is scheduled to speak at an upcoming special session of the Eastern District of New York's alternative to incarceration programs.

NBCUniversal to Pay Former Interns $6.4M in Back Wages

By David Bario |

Plaintiffs lawyers at Outten & Golden unveiled a class action settlement with NBCUniversal Media for nearly 8,000 unpaid interns who worked on "Saturday Night Live" and other shows beginning between 2007 and 2011.

Thomas DiNapoli, left, and Robert Antonacci

Public Campaign Financing Experiment Falls Flat

The test of public campaign financing in the New York comptroller race has proved ineffective, with the Democratic incumbent declining to participate and the challenger falling short of the threshold that would parlay his $200,000 into $1.2 million.

Circuit Mulls Competitor's Use of Proprietary Database

By Lisa Shuchman |

Does allegedly spying on a competitor's wares to help sell your own products count as corporate espionage or legitimate market research? That was one of the questions at the heart of a 5-year-old legal battle between subsidiaries of McGraw Hill Financial and Reed Elsevier. The answer, as you might expect, is that it depends.

Lent Memorial Award

The names of Nassau County Court Judges Meryl Berkowitz and Tammy Robbins were affixed to a plaque in the county courthouse rotunda as the 2013 and 2014 recipients, respectively, of the Nassau Criminal Courts Bar Association's Norman F. Lent Memorial Award.

Three members of the Japanese Red Army undertook a terrorist attack on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine at Tel Aviv’s Lod airport (now Ben Gurion International) on May 30, 1972.

Terror Victims Lose Bid to Recover Funds From No. Korea

By Mark Hamblett |

North Korea's removal from a list of state sponsors of terrorism while a case claiming it provided the weapons used in a 1972 attack was pending has led the Second Circuit to refuse to allow the attachment of $378 million in funds recovered in a default judgment.

Judge Vows to Grant Parties Access to Forensic Reports

By Andrew Keshner |

Likening production of a custody evaluator's notes to prosecutors' disclosure obligations in criminal cases, a Long Island judge has ruled that a divorcing husband's expert was entitled to review all the raw information generated by the court-appointed evaluator, and said that, with certain ground rules, the parties themselves could read the evaluator's report and raw materials.

flower rings

Court Says Messages on Rings Aren't Protected Speech

By Andrew Keshner |

A woman's claim that her unlicensed street vending of homemade rings that carry environmental messages was protected political speech has been rejected by an appellate panel in Manhattan.