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FDNY firefighter saved by defibrillator he requested

Many people would assume that firehouses are among the safest workplaces around. However, last year, one veteran firefighter with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) noted that the building where he worked in Queens had no automated external defibrillator (AED). He believed it should, so he submitted a request to management and the AED was installed.

Several months later, in September, that AED likely saved his life. The 63-year-old firefighter went into cardiac arrest. His colleagues used the AED to resuscitate him and then got him to the hospital.

Tips for taking your prescription medications on vacation

If you're planning a vacation this spring or summer and you need to bring one or more prescription medications with you, be sure that you have the proper documentation to prove that these are your prescriptions. Many people don't realize that possessing prescription drugs without a prescription can land you in jail.

Whether you're traveling within the state, driving down the coast or flying across the country, it's best not to take any chances -- particularly if you're taking schedule 1 drugs that are often sold illegally and can be easily abused -- like oxycodone, Xanax, Adderall and Valium.

Could R. Kelly's victims gain justice under New York's Child Victims Act?

Allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R&B star R. Kelly for upwards of 20 years. Kelly, who was married to a 15-year-old girl, is accused of exercising cult-like control over women. Despite all of that, R. Kelly was never convicted of any crimes. Recently, however, Chicago prosecutors leveled 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual misconduct against him. The music icon pled not guilty before being brought into custody a second time for failure to make child support payments.

Although he was acquitted on 14 counts of child pornography back in 2008, he could face an uphill battle in the current climate. Kelly could also face a massive court fight under New York's recently passed Child Victims Act that extends the statute of limitations for survivors to seek justice through civil lawsuits.

The many reasons car accidents happen

Human error and mechanical problems are two of the most common reasons why car accidents occur. For instance, if a driver is under the influence of alcohol, that is generally seen as human error. The same could be true if a driver was in an unfamiliar part of New York state and was distracted looking at street signs. If an individual is traveling too fast for road conditions, that would also be human error.

Mechanical problems could result from a faulty car part or the fact that a person didn't maintain his or her vehicle. For instance, a person who is driving on bald tires may be at fault for an accident that occurs because it isn't safe to use tires without proper tread. The same is true if a person drove a vehicle that had squeaky brakes or other problems that a reasonable car owner would have known to remedy.

Alternatives to incarceration may decrease repeat offender rate

The United States holds the record for the most incarcerated individuals in the entire world. In 2008, the numbers peaked with 1,000 out of every 100,000 adults being in state or federal prisons. Since this time, many jurisdictions, including those in New York, have instituted a variety of changes to decrease this number. This includes reformations in police practices, decriminalization of some minor offenses and offering rehabilitation options to low-risk offenders. As a result of the changes, incarcerations have decreased to 830 per every 100,000 adults in the United States.

In 2018, the First Step Act was passed by Congress. The newly-instituted law helps reduce sentences for nonviolent federal prisoners through work training programs and good behavior. Though many criminal defense experts believe the First Step Act was a positive step, it only affects a small fraction of federal prisoners and doesn't affect those in state prisons. Experts are encouraging additional changes in order to reduce the current prison population.

New Hope for Child Sex Abuse Victims in Hands of NYS Legislature

     For far too long, child victims of sex abuse have been largely unable to sue their attackers and those that protect them, because of NYS's antiquated statutes of limitations.  As the New York Times pointed out in an editorial published in January of 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/opinion/albany-child-victims-act.html) by the time most victims of child sex abuse are able to report the crime, or think about filing suit, they are barred from doing so by NYS law.

     The reasons for the delays in reporting are many, but mostly center upon the immaturity of the victim.  Immaturity that the predator counts on when choosing their victim.  That immaturity works to impede enforcement of legal rights both in criminal and civil court.  Several states in the U.S. have eliminated this hurdle by allowing a longer time for such victims to seek arrest or sue, and by allowing the opening of a short window to sue, regardless of how long it's been since the assault.  But so far, New York has failed to move in step with other progressive states in the U.S.  That is expected to change.

     Until recently, the only impediment preventing such reforms in NYS was Republican control of the NYS senate.  The Democratically controlled assembly and Governor Cuomo have demonstrated their overwhelming support for "The Child Victims Act", Assembly Bill A05885A, which would allow the reforms.  The bill passed the assembly in May of 2018 by a vote of 130-10, a vote which no doubt included some Republicans.  Sadly, Republicans in control of the senate have refused to even allow a vote on the bill.

     Now that the NYS Senate is also controlled by the Democrats, the bill is expected to come to the floor for a vote, and we are urging its full passage.  It is time for NYS to join the march of progressive legislators around the country and stand up for victims of child sex abuse.

     If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sex abuse, especially a child by a member of the clergy, please contact us at Kelly & Rubin, LLP.

MAYOR OF POMONA N.Y. SUED FOR MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

The mayor of Pomona, N.Y. along with the Village and the Village Trustees have been sued in a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit filed in White Plains.  The suit alleges that the defendants violated the civil rights of the plaintiff, former Pomona Village clerk Lisa Thorsen, by having her arrested.  The arrest was based on a three-year-old bogus allegation that Thorsen stole postage from the village postal meter without permission.

The criminal case against Thorsen was dismissed by a Judge in nearby Ramapo, at the request of Thorsen's attorney, shockingly, with the consent of the prosecutor, who agreed that the arrest and prosecution of Thorsen was "groundless and politically motivated".

At Kelly & Rubin, LLP., we have been specializing in protecting the rights of those falsely accused for over 25 years.  We are looking forward to standing up for Ms. Thorsen against those who falsely accused her and getting her the just compensation she is entitled to.

First Step Act seeks to reform federal criminal sentencing rules

After decades of tough-on-crime laws and mandatory minimum sentences that sent people in New York to prison for years, the First Step Act marks a transition in attitudes toward criminal sentencing guidelines. The bill won approval in the U.S. Senate on a vote of 82 to 12. Although critics call it a "prisoner release bill," the legislation, if it succeeds in becoming law, would provide sentencing relief to people convicted for crack cocaine offenses prior to 2010.

In 2010, the federal government corrected disparities in criminal sentences that required longer sentences for crack cocaine convictions compared to regular cocaine convictions. People convicted before the reform, however, remain in prison under the previous rules. If signed into the law, the First Step Act would grant prisoners convicted on crack cocaine offenses the ability to petition for release.

Driving safely in the winter months

New York residents should consider the tips offered by AAA and the National Safety Council when it comes to safe winter driving. First, vehicles must be made ready for cold conditions. A mechanic could check components like the brakes, ignition and battery while also assessing tire wear, tire pressure and antifreeze levels. Drivers should also know the function of safety features like anti-lock braking, which comes in handy during this season.

Furthermore, it's important for a vehicle to contain an emergency kit containing essentials like jumper cables, tire chains, an ice scraper, a first-aid kit and flares or reflective triangles. When stranded in the snow, a driver should not push their vehicle out. Instead, it's better to signal distress with a brightly colored cloth. Drivers are encouraged to keep a container of gas and fresh antifreeze in the car as well.

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