In the wake of revelations involving the misconduct of a Brooklyn homicide detective, Steven Banks, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, has renewed The Legal Aid Society's call for independent oversight of all prosecutors.
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New York County Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan yesterday ruled that the City may not end the hotel program for hundreds of Sandy evacuees and pointed out that a new federal program to provide $9 million in rental assistance for Sandy victims could be used to help the families. The Legal Aid Society and the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP represented the plaintiffs. The Legal Aid Society has urged the City to find permanent housing for the Sandy victims.
The Prisoners’ Rights Project has won two important victories on behalf of Lucy Tasama (formerly Amador), a woman who was repeatedly sexually abused while in State prison. This month, Magistrate Judge Feldman of the federal court for the Western District of New York ruled that a correction officer’s forcibly kissing her, groping her breast and buttocks, and exposing himself can be serious enough in the coercive environment of a prison to violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. In one of the first decisions of its kind in New York State, Judge Feldman acknowledged that contemporary standards of decency have evolved in recent years and such conduct is no longer permissible. This decision is an important step in vindicating the rights of our clients who are sexually abused while in prison. This decision clears the way for the case to go to trial this summer.
Legal Aid lawyers have questioned the testing of DNA samples by the City Medical Examiner's office because of the use of a controversial testing tool and the recent resignation of a senior official in the ME's office. Legal Aid lawyers questioned a DNA sample taken from a .38-caliber revolver police recovered, demanding to know whether Theresa Caragine was involved in testing the sample. Caragine has recently resigned. Legal Aid lawyers also requested details about Caragine’s “Forensic Statistical Tool,” querying prosecutors in at least one Brooklyn criminal case as well.
The Legal Aid Society's 36th Annual Awards Dinner, held on May 9 at the Waldorf Astoria, was the most successful in the organization's history. Philip T (Pete) Ruegger, former Chair of the Executive Committee of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, received the Society's 2013 Servant of Justice Award, and Raymond J. McGuire, Citi's Global Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, received the Theodore Roosevelt Award.
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