U.S. SENATE News:WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) helped secure extensive workers relief provisions in the emergency coronavirus response bill, including direct payments to New Mexico families and an emergency four-month expansion of unemployment insurance (UI) worth an additional $600 per week. The third congressional COVID-19 funding package that passed the Senate Wednesday, and the House passed today, also includes protections for furloughed workers that safeguard employer-provided health insurance.The direct payments will provide the vast majority of New Mexicans with a one-time $1,200 payment, with married couples receiving $2,400, with an additional $500 for each child. The payment amounts start to phase down above income levels of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, and completely phase out above $100,000 and $200,000 respectively. One independent estimate of an earlier but similar version of the proposal estimated the average New Mexico family would receive over $1,800 and the state’s population as a whole would receive over $1.8 billion combined. The payments are based on 2019 or 2018 tax returns, and include those without income tax liability. If no return is available, the payments will be made through information in 2019 Social Security Benefit Statements. They are expected to be made as early as three weeks after final passage, according to the Department of the Treasury.The expansion of unemployment assistance means more workers’ will see assistance that covers more of their lost wages, with many workers receiving 100% of their previous pay. The expansion also opens up the unemployment insurance program for the self-employed and part-time gig workers for the next four months, who would not otherwise have been eligible to apply for unemployment insurance. The bipartisan funding bill expands the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week to meet the unprecedented need from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensures that laid-off workers have more means to make ends meet during a time of public health closures. The agreement ensures that all workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy. The provisions also allow workers to get unemployment insurance more quickly and allow furloughed workers to stay on as employees and receive health benefits while receiving UI so they are ready to quickly resume work with their employer and restart the American economy when the COVID-19 pandemic draws to a close. “Across the country and throughout New Mexico, workers have lost their jobs and are facing unprecedented economic hardship – almost overnight and through no fault of their own. The American people deserve our full support during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and help is on the way to New Mexico families and workers,” Udall said. “The bill passed this week puts workers and working families first—over corporate executive bonuses and no-strings-attached corporate bailouts. It puts money into the hands of all New Mexico families that need it and every worker losing a job. This funding is vital to our economic future because it will help families today with their bills while helping to alleviate some of the stresses of tomorrow—money in the bank today and a better chance at a job to return to in the future. I will continue to fight for all New Mexicans to ensure that working people have what they need to stay healthy while providing for themselves and their families.” “Workers who have lost their jobs—even if only temporarily—are deeply worried about how they can support their families who depend on their paychecks,” Heinrich said. “Unemployment insurance will serve as an essential lifeline for them during this crisis. I’m proud that our negotiations secured a massive expansion of benefits and eligibility for the unemployment insurance program so that all workers in New Mexico impacted by this economic upheaval can receive the support they need. Democrats also fought to double the direct cash payments to working Americans. I will hold the administration accountable for delivering this much needed relief to New Mexico families as soon as possible so they can have the peace of mind they need to ride out this storm.”The New Mexico senators also advocated for a provision that was included in the bill to enable paid leave for New Mexicans who work at the national labs or as federal contractors at other federal facilities in the state, if they cannot perform telework due to the nature of their duties. Without this provision, potentially thousands of New Mexicans working at the labs and other federal sites would be forced to drain their leave and eventually lose pay if they are unable to telework because their job cannot be performed remotely. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is the third ‘phase’ of coronavirus response passed by Congress. That bill is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives on Friday and President Trump has committed to signing it into law as soon as possible thereafter. The bill also includes unprecedented direct support to small businesses to enable them to keep paying employees during this public health emergency [link to small biz release] and a major investment in the needs of hospitals and frontline health care workers who are faced with rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients.Udall and Heinrich also voted for the second ‘phase,’ the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, to provide free nation-wide testing for COVID-19 and initial economic relief for the impacts of the pandemic and the associated public health response. In addition, Udall and Heinrich voted for the first measure – an $8.3 billion supplemental appropriations bill, to provide the first wave of support for the country’s public health infrastructure and social safety net programs.
RCLC News:The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) Board will meet online at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 15. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed HERE.Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, and upon consultation with legal counsel, RCLC Chairman Henry Roybal has directed that the May 15, 2020 RCLC board meeting be conducted via the electronic media application Zoom.In accordance with Open Meetings Act guidelines published by the New Mexico Attorney General, RCLC members of the public wishing to attend may view the meeting via Zoom, by linking to the following URL address, or listen by calling the conference call line listed below:Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/7487396057, Meeting ID: 748 739 6057Zoom dial in: (748) 739 6057, Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/ab9QKihTg5Conference Call dial in: (605) 313-5545, Access Code: 606547#
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The appellants appealed against the imposition of antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) following their pleas of guilty to supplying class A drugs including heroin and cocaine. The appellants had been tried under separate indictments for offending which was uncovered as part of the same police operation in the St Paul’s area of Bristol: Operation Polar. Each appellant had been caught selling drugs to undercover police officers on several occasions. Open drug dealing had a negative impact on the St Paul’s area which had resulted in a general decline of the area. Residents suffered fear, intimidation and nuisance as a result of the drug dealing. The judge imposed sentences of imprisonment and detention and similar post-conviction ASBOs on all four appellants preventing them, inter alia, from entering the Ashley ward of Bristol. The first appellant (B) submitted that his sentence of four years’ imprisonment was manifestly excessive as insufficient account had been taken of his age, which was 18 at the date of the first offence. The appellants all appealed against their ASBOs on the basis that there was no need for an ASBO in light of the sentences passed, and it seemed to be police policy to apply for a standard ASBO for each offender caught up in Operation Polar without justifying them in the special circumstances of each appellant’s case. The appellants further argued that, if the ASBOs were upheld, the exclusion zone was too large. Held: (1) There was nothing wrong with a sentence of four years’ imprisonment in the circumstances of B’s case. R v Djahit (Turkesh)  2 Cr App R (S) 142 CA (Crim Div) established a starting point of 5-6 years for a street retailer of class A drugs, Djahit followed. Despite B’s age, he had previous convictions for possession of class A, class B and class C drugs, which indicated a lack of respect for the authority of the courts (see paragraph 17 of judgment). (2) The case of R v Dyer (Julio)  EWCA Crim 2096 was especially relevant as it was an appeal by an offender also caught up in Operation Polar against his ASBO which mirrored those imposed on the appellants. In that case it was open to the trial judge to decide that an ASBO was necessary and that the pre-conditions for the making of a post-conviction ASBO were met, Dyer followed (paragraph 21). The appellants’ challenge that the judge omitted to set out the factual basis for each appellant’s ASBO failed. The judge had vast background information before him of the circumstances of each appellant from which he could conclude that the statutory requirement of necessity for an ASBO was met in the case of each of the appellants. He considered the potential deterrent impact of the sentence. The post-conviction ASBOs were not simply directed at future drug offending, but also at their involvement in the antisocial behaviour associated with the open street dealing of drugs and their contribution to making St Paul’s a ‘no go’ area. The ASBOs were also targeted at the nuisance, fear and intimidation which were conducive and preparatory to open drug dealing. The ASBOs were justified in the case of each appellant. The appeals against the imposition of ASBOs were dismissed. However, the ASBOs were varied to reduce the exclusion area specified to the St Paul’s area (paragraphs 29, 33-34, 38). Appeals allowed in part. Criminal procedure – Antisocial behaviour orders – Sentence length – Supply of drugs R v (1) Kirk Jordan Barclay (2) Noah Ntuve (3) Francis Cowan (4) Trevor Junior Prince Campbell: CA (Crim Div) (Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Cranston, Judge Warwick McKinnon (Recorder of Croydon)): 1 February 2011 James Ward (instructed by CPS) for the Crown; David Miller (instructed by Allen Hoole) for the first and third appellants; Mark Worsley (instructed by Rodney King & Partners) for the second appellant; Ian Halliday (instructed by Elite) for the fourth appellant.
Effective September 1, Merja Kallio-Mannila has served as deputy head of sales and marketing and customer services at Finnlines.Torkel Saarnio, meanwhile, was named deputy line manager of Finnlines’ HansaLink, Hanko-Helsinki and Helsinki-Rostock services.Kallio-Mannila will continue in her role as head of sales and customer service, Finland. Saarnio will maintain his current responsibilities as head of truck and trailer segment.www.finnlines.com
Mark Kleinschmidt, Lansdowne ward councillorDanger In the Dark is an adaptation of the 1992 production of Poison by theatre duo David Kramer and the late Taliep Petersen. It’s a riveting look into the current drugs pandemic and the drug lords and gangsters behind it.The production’s relevance to the state of our youth at risk cannot be underscored enough.Kramer has cast a group of fine young actors, with “veteran” Loukmaan Adams in the lead role. Maestro Camillo Lombard and his band perform the musical score and music icon Petersen’s “jazzy ghoema” beats are discerned in the songs. This musical bonanza is a must-see production and destined to become a box-office hit. Kudos to the Baxter Theatre for staging this most relevant production – a befitting legacy for Taliep Petersen.
The government has stepped up efforts to ensure that a nationwide legal aid boycott causes minimum disruption in the Crown court as it prepares to meet practitioner groups for a further round of talks.The Legal Aid Agency has created a telephone service to provide information for legal aid clients seeking legal representation for Crown court cases.The agency said the service will offer clients ‘details on possible options’ to obtain representation. Court staff will also be able to use the number – 0333 003 7060 – to help unrepresented defendants.The agency said additional firms that wished to make services available through the phone line should contact the agency through their contract manager.The ministry is to meet practitioner groups on Tuesday – the third round of talks since a second 8.75% fee cut was introduced on 1 July, prompting thousands of solicitors to boycott new legal aid work.Confirming next week’s meeting, the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and London Criminal Court Solicitors’ Association today urged a ‘steadfast approach for now in terms of the action so as to keep our position as strong as possible’.Following a meeting with MoJ officials earlier this week, the CLSA and LCCSA said the ministry was ‘not willing to consider any representations’ that would affect the commencement of its two-tier duty provider contract plans. (The ministry is expected to announce the outcome of its tender process for 527 duty provider contracts next month. Service under the contracts will begin on 11 January next year.)The ministry did, however, invite the practitioner groups to ‘to provide bankable savings that would be offset against a three-month suspension of the cut’.According to MoJ figures, each 8.75% cut delivers £60m in savings a year; three months’ savings amount to £15m.The CLSA and LCCSA said the ministry’s offer was ‘not an acceptable position’, but confirmed further talks would cover ‘alternative savings’.The groups said today they ‘remain committed to fighting against the cut which we know to be unsustainable and against two-tier which we have fiercely opposed for two years’.When pressed for further details about the meetings, CLSA chair Bill Waddington told the Gazette the groups were unable to elaborate further as they were ‘at quite a delicate stage’ in the discussions ‘and it is therefore important that we focus entirely on seeking to achieve the best possible outcome for our members and the criminal justice system’.
In criticism of a US head of state unprecedented in recent years, the International Bar Association (IBA) has called for a halt in what it says is President Donald Trump’s undermining of the US judiciary – and consequently the rule of law – through ‘personal attacks on respected jurists’.In a statement after the decision of the judges of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals not to reinstate the president’s executive order banning nationals travelling to the US from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, the IBA cautioned against ‘further diminishing public confidence in the vital institution of an impartial and independent judiciary’.The IBA, established in 1947, represents practitioners and professional bodies in 160 countries. Its president, Martin Šolc, founding partner of Czech firm Kocián Šolc Balaštík, said: ‘The rule of law, the centuries-old legal principle that law should govern a nation, is something that is being chipped away at each time Trump publicly attacks and disrespects a judge. Not only is this demoralising for the individual who is the target of the contempt, but more widely it damages public confidence in the judicial system. ‘For all the president’s statements opposing elitism, he needs to remember not to attempt to place himself above the law.’IBA executive director Mark Ellis said: ‘The US president, though not having received the decision of his choice, should be reassured that, despite unrelenting public attacks, a component of the US judiciary held true to the oath sworn to safeguard the rule of law; an example which legal professionals everywhere should seek to emulate.’Supporting the independence of the judiciary and the right of lawyers to practise their profession without interference is one of the three core objectives of the IBA.However although the IBA’s Human Rights Institute frequently calls attention to governments’ failures to uphold these principles – most recently in Myanmar, following last month’s murder of Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni – attacks on named heads of state are rare.