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The contents of the First Step Act

The First Step Act, which is a bill that is being considered in Congress, might have an effect on some inmates in New York. It will make the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which addressed the sentencing disparity in cocaine and crack cocaine cases, retroactive, and this will affect approximately 2,600 inmates. They will still have to go to court to address the issue.

The act will also lessen the length of some automatic sentences and expand the number of people for whom judges are allowed to set aside mandatory minimum guidelines. Those guidelines apply to people with no criminal history, but the act will include people with only a minor criminal history.

Avoiding a car crash in bright sunlight

When people in New York head out onto the road, they may face unexpected dangers from the most unlikely of places. While few people think of a clear day as a driving hazard, the bright sun glare that can accompany a rising or setting sun can make it difficult for drivers to see, leading to traffic snarls and dangerous crashes. Indeed, the risk of a car accident is 16 percent greater in bright sunlight than in average weather. However, there are tips that drivers can keep in mind to improve their safety.

Sunglasses can help. They can reduce the intensity of the sun's brightness while protecting drivers' eyes from the dangers of UV rays. By keeping sunglasses stored in the car, drivers can prepare to help avoid car crashes caused by excessive glare. The built-in sun visors in almost all cars and passenger trucks can also help a driver's vision. They can be positioned to block some level of sun coming through the windshield or side windows. While they are limited in coverage, they are also designed not to hinder a driver's visibility.

Sexual assault standards in schools may change

Proposed rule changes would provide greater rights to students in New York or elsewhere who are accused of sexual assault. During the Obama administration, schools were encouraged to use a preponderance of evidence standard in such cases. This means that a person could be found guilty of sexual assault by a school if it seemed more likely than not that it occurred. The changes proposed by Betsy DeVos would allow schools to choose their own standard of proof.

It may also be possible for students to use mediation as a means of resolving disputes regarding sexual harassment. Under previous rules, mediation was discouraged as it was thought to be potentially traumatizing to a victim. Schools would only be held liable in cases where a sexual assault took place on its campus. Furthermore, it would only be liable in cases when it had knowledge of the event.

Elements of an assault charge in New York

In order for the government to get a criminal assault conviction in New York State, they have to prove that any injury caused by the defendant was intentional, meaning that it was not accidental.  It is necessary to prove that there was an intention by the defendant to cause "physical injury" or "serious physical injury".  Both of these terms have a specific meaning in the law; they do not have the general meaning we all use in everyday life.

It may be possible to infer an intention to cause physical harm based on the circumstances of the injury. For example, if a defendant pointed a gun at someone at close range and shot the person in the chest, that might indicate that the intention was to cause physical or serious physical injury, or of course to kill.  If the defendant fired a gun several times from close range and missed, one might argue that "missing was the intention" and there was no desire to hurt anyone.  On the other hand, firing a shot intentionally, and grazing another person might allow the government to argue a legal theory called "transferred intent".  For cerain types of assault charges, it is not necessary to demonstrate that the injury was intentionally caused.  Reckless or negligent assaults can be charged too.

Driver overconfidence contributes to traffic accidents

Although New York drivers have a bad reputation, the state has a lower death rate per mile driven compared to many other parts of the country. They likely still have a strong tendency to overestimate their driving skills because overconfidence afflicts most American motorists. This attitude makes most people believe that they are safe drivers.

One study surveyed American and Swedish drivers to measure possible international differences. Although more than 75 percent of Swedes reported that they were above average drivers in terms of safe practices, almost 90 percent of Americans gave themselves the same rating. When asked to rate their driving skills, roughly 66 percent of Swedes believed that they were above average, but an overwhelming majority of Americans described their skills as above average. The traffic death rate in Sweden is less than half of what it is in the United States.

New York woman sues city after sexual assault by peace officer

A woman has filed a lawsuit against New York City following the conviction of her attacker who was employed as a uniformed peace officer at the offices of Human Resources Administration in Lower Manhattan. She asserts that the city bears financial responsibility for her sexual assault and wants a $5 million settlement.

The assault occurred when she went to the office to pick up a check. Office workers said that no check was available. She then demanded to speak to someone in authority but was instead detained by the Social Services Supervising Sergeant. He took her to a locked room and handcuffed her. She then said that he unbuttoned her shirt and touched her cleavage.

2 cases on record of HRA police assaulting people in New York

The police force serving the offices of Human Resources Administration in Manhattan has initiated an internal investigation about claims of abuse. Court cases have recorded two cases of assault since 2017, suggesting a culture of misconduct at the department.

The first case involved a woman who was sexually assaulted by an officer on the HRA force. The case produced a conviction with a five-year prison sentence for the officer. The attorney who represented the woman has also advanced the complaint of a man who ended up in the hospital after going to the HRA offices to apply for food assistance because he had lost his job.

How to avoid vehicle accidents on New York roadways

The nation's roadways get busier all the time, and distracted driving causes a great number of motor vehicle crashes. There are simple guidelines for all drivers to keep in mind when operating a car. Those who follow some safe common-sense rules on the road may better avoid serious traffic accidents.

Drivers should stay focused on the road ahead and pay attention to all directions outside their vehicle. Distractions from inside the car such as cellphones, eating or children in the backseat can interrupt a driver's focus. If the situation demands it, drivers need to pull over for a better chance at avoiding accidents and possibly serious personal injury.

While a city avoids blame, a victim copes with trauma

It was only 15 months ago that a former police sergeant who was working as a guard for the Human Resources Administration held a woman captive in the administration's office and sexually assaulted her. Now, the survivor is opening up about her fight for justice from the city, and the lingering trauma that she experiences daily since the attack.

NYC tries to dodge #MeToo bullet in sexual assault case

A former police sergeant assigned to the New York City Human Resources Administration will soon start serving a five-year prison sentence for a committing a sexual assault during the course of his duties. However, the city is trying to deflect responsibility despite its zero-tolerance approach to sexual assault. At a time when the #MeToo movement is calling attention to the issue of improper sexual conduct by individuals who abuse their positions of power and authority, some say the city's attempt to dodge responsibility is outrageous.

In 2017, a Manhattan artist was arrested by the sergeant, who was assigned to the NYC HRA office on 14th Street, for alleged trespassing. The arrest had occurred after the artist became upset when she was notified that a paycheck owed to her was not ready. The sergeant admitted to locking the artist in a room for two hours and returning to find that she had urinated herself. It was at this point that she became a victim of a brutal sexual assault. The sergeant pleaded guilty to the crime.

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