Tag Archives: New York

Update on NYPD’s surveillance and infiltration of Muslim groupds

Are Muslim communities being unfairly targeted by law enforcement?  This is the conversation being raised after the New York Civil Liberties Union sought to revisit a 41-year old case.

You may have heard about news articles discussing NYPD’s surveillance and infiltration of New York-based Muslim groups.  Last year, the Associated Press confirmed the existence of a program, called the Assessment Program, formerly known as the Demographics Unit, which spied on Muslims.

As way of background, in 1985, a Manhattan federal judge ordered a consent decree (known as “Handschu guidelines”) whereby the police is barred from investigating political and religious organizations without “specific information” linking the group to a crime.  In that case, Handschu v. Special Services Division, the police had extensive dossiers on a large array of political groups, including the Black Panthers.

After 9-11, the judge loosened the Handschu guidelines to give police wider powers to investigate political groups in the war on terror.

The New York Civil Liberties Union released a memorandum, submitted to the court, seeking to end the NYPD’s Assessment Program.  In the memorandum there is testimony stating that an informant was paid as much as $1,500 a month to take part in the NYPD’s alleged “create and capture” program.  The informant stated,

This meant I was to pretend to be a devout Muslim and start an inflammatory conversation about jihad or terrorism and then capture the respond to sent to the NYPD.

I did this on numerous occasions with people I met at the mosques and other locations.

The question to be decided is – how much latitude law enforcement given when conducting surveillance of political and religious groups?

As a side note, you may have also come across the story regarding the FBI’s surveillance on Muslims groups, known as “Operation Flex.”  That story has been reported in many news circles, including the Business Insider here.

via Courthouse News Service.

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Filed under civil rights, Privacy Rights

NY Is First State to Require Law Students to Do Pro Bono Work to Get Licensed After Graduation

This is an article from the ABA News website:

In a move that is expected to improve access to the civil justice system for low-income individuals, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced at a press conference Wednesday a new Court of Appeals rule requiring all law graduates to complete 50 hours of pro bono work before they will be admitted to practice in New York.

It is expected that many will complete the pro bono requirement while they are still law students, according to Reuters. However, the pro bono requirement can also be met after an individual earns his or her law degree.

The pro bono requirement doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2015, so it does not apply to current third-year law students.

What qualifies as pro bono work is broadly defined, the article notes, alleviating concerns by law school deans that the program would be difficult to administer.

A 15-member advisory committee that helped draft the new pro bono rule will also oversee its implementation and evaluate how well it works, the news agency notes.

The New York Law Journal (reg. req.) provides a link to a copy of the new pro bono rule (PDF).

via NY Is First State to Require Law Students to Do Pro Bono Work to Get Licensed After Graduation – News – ABA Journal.

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Filed under attorneys, Law Schools, law students, rules