Environmental Activist Daniel McGowan, Jailed for Blogging, Is Suing the Bureau of Prisons

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Photo by Brandon Jourdan courtesy of Daniel McGowan
Daniel McGowan, the environmental activist and former member of the Earth Liberation Front who spent five and a half years in an extreme prison isolation unit, is suing the federal Bureau of Prisons for violating his right to free speech. McGowan, a New York native, was imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communications Management Unit in Terre Haute, Indiana in 2007, after being convicted of burning down two Oregon lumber mills on behalf of the ELF in 2001, an action that was deemed an act of domestic terrorism. (McGowan says he left the ELF soon after the second arson). After his release in December 2012, he was sent back to New York to begin his probation at the Brooklyn Residential Reentry Center, a halfway house near his home in downtown Brooklyn. But in April 2013, when he wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post about his time in the CMU, the Bureau of Prisons and the "reentry manger" in charge of the Brooklyn RRC reacted very, very poorly.

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NYC Public Advocate Calls for Faster Deployment of Police Body Cameras

Categories: Lawsuits, Legal

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NYC Comptroller's Office
Interactive map created by the New York City Comptroller showing claims against police.
Letitia James, New York City's public advocate, called Monday for the NYPD to hurry up and make with the body cameras, a proposal that emerged partly out of a court decision last year on the controversial stop and frisk program. Part of the ruling in Floyd v. City of New York called for a pilot program with small, wearable cameras to record interactions, which have been used in other jurisdictions with dramatic results.


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NYCLU Weighs in on Facebook Search Warrants in New York Court

Categories: Lawsuits, Privacy

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Photo Credit: bloomsberries via Compfight cc
The NYCLU thinks warrants sought by the Manhattan DA pose constitutional problems.
The New York Civil Liberties Union is throwing its support behind Facebook in a lawsuit the organization believes could have big implications for social media privacy in New York.

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New York Pawnshop Owner Sued by Feds For Calling His Female Employees "Bitches" and "Whipping Slaves"

Categories: Lawsuits, Misogyny

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Image via Google Maps
Seapod's Cypress Hills location
Seapod Pawnbrokers, a pawnshop with locations scattered across Brooklyn and Queens, is being sued by the federal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the many racist, sexist, extensively disgusting things that Seapod's owner, Frank Morea, allegedly said to his black and Latina employees. Morea is accused by the feds of a laundry list of sexual and race-based harassment, including referring to his employees as "my Seapod bitches" and "whipping slaves," asking them for "graphic details" about how they used toilet paper and tampons, "joking" about putting cameras in the women's restroom, demanding his employees dance for him and that they rub his belly.

The EEOC is the agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. They seem very unhappy with Morea, whose nickname is "Fat Frank," according to Reuters.

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City Will Pay $2.75 Million to Family of Killed Rikers Inmate

Ronald Spear was arrested and charged with burglary in September 2012. He awaited trial at Rikers Island. He was 52-years-old and had health problems. He had a kidney disease and he walked with a cane. He needed dialysis and other treatment.

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Fromer BK D.A. Charles Hynes Must Testify in Cy Greene's Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit

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Wikimedia Commons
Former BK DA Charles Hynes
In 2006, a judge vacated the conviction of Cy Greene, who had spent more than 22 years in prison for a 1983 murder in Brooklyn. Greene had produced evidence suggesting that prosecutors had hidden information pointing to his innocence.

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Family of David Ranta, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 23 Years, Sues City for $15 Million

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The police line-up in which David Ranta was falsely identified as a murderer.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's review of 90 questionable convictions, the tarnished reputation of former detective Louis Scarcella, the seven exonerations in Brooklyn in 2014, the renewed focus on police and prosecutiorial misconduct during New York City's crack era--it all started with David Ranta.

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Brooklyn Man, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 24 Years, Sues City for $162 million

Categories: Justice, Lawsuits

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For 24 years, Jonathan Fleming was in prison for murdering a man in Brooklyn. All those years he claimed that he was innocent and that he was in Florida on the day of the crime.

And all those years, the evidence proving his innocence lay untouched in his case file.

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Two Long Island Men Get $18 Million in Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit

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Flickr / RĂ¼diger skINMATE
John Restivo and Dennis Halstead spent 18 years in prison after a jury convicted them on charges of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl on Long Island in 1984. In 2003 DNA evidence showed that somebody else actually committed the crime, and Nassau County prosecutors dismissed the charges, setting the men free.

They sued the county. Jurors in federal court in Central Islip heard testimony suggesting that a detective planted evidence on Restivo and hid evidence that worked in the defendants' favor. On Thursday, the jury awarded Restivo and Halstead $18 million each.

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Empire State Building Says Photographer of Topless Ladies Is Making a Mockery of Its Very Serious Lawsuit

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Photo by guy being sued Allen Henson, obviously
The offending photograph
Back in January, as you may recall, we told you about Allen Henson, the fine art photographer who was slapped with a million-dollar lawsuit after he took photographs of a model, Shelby Carter, topless atop the Empire State Building's observatory deck. Not to be outdone, Henson roundly mocked the lawsuit in the press and then countersued the company behind the iconic building for $5 million.

Representatives for the Empire State Building have never publicly commented on the lawsuit. As it turns out, though, lawyers for very tall buildings have feelings, too, and those feelings are, at the moment, deeply bruised. In new court filings, the building's representatives accuse Henson of "relishing" the publicity around the lawsuit, and planning an in-court demonstration consisting of dozens of topless women.

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