In a complaint filed Tuesday, a non-profit organization and a pastor from the South Bronx sued N.Y. AG Letitia James, alleging that New York’s rules governing the unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”) prevent them from advising low income clients facing debt collection lawsuits, in violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights.  The non-profit organization plans to train non-lawyers to provide “reliable, free, straightforward, and narrowly circumscribed” advice to low income New Yorkers facing debt collection lawsuits “on a strictly non-commercial basis to ensure that defendants can understand their rights and respond to the debt collection lawsuits against them.”  However, New York’s UPL rules make it a crime and civilly sanctionable to engage in, solicit, or aid in the provision of legal advice by non-lawyers.
Continue Reading Complaint: New York’s Rules on Unauthorized Practice of Law Violate Non-Profit’s First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights

In ruling this morning, Judge Scheindlin ruled unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policing method. As we have reported on in the past, Judge Scheindlin conducted a bench trial of claims brought by a class of plaintiffs who alleged to have been unlawfully detained under the policy. In the 198-page liability opinion, Judge Scheindlin found that the NYPD’s stops of 4.4 million people from 2004 to 2012 – 80% of which were of black or Hispanic individuals and more than half of which led to a frisk – were done without legal basis in violation of the Fourth Amendment and were targeted to particular races in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Judge Scheindlin explained that her decision was not based on the effectiveness of the stop-and-frisk method.
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin Rules “Stop-and-Frisk” Unconstitutional