By Heath Hardman, Albany Government Law Review
The fields of social science and psychology continue to make advances in human understanding, and courts sometimes make use of this information. But how can attorneys broaden their access to this information when representing victims of domestic violence? One way is by requesting that a court take judicial notice of certain legislative facts concerning domestic violence. While an attorney can support this request by citing scholarly sources, the court, in its discretion, need not grant the request. Citing legislative materials, such as sponsor’s memos, letters and statements of support, and bill jackets may increase an attorney’s chances of moving a court to take judicial notice of a legislative fact. After all, if the legislature cites the fact as part of its justification in enacting a law, and the court is required to enforce the law, surely the fact is compelling. Indeed, some courts have in fact cited the legislature’s reliance on certain facts when taking judicial notice of legislative facts or relying on them for decision making.
By Ed Delauter, Albany Government Law Review
We need a government that performs better and costs less . . . . [this] means enacting mandate relief. By next year, pension costs for schools and state and local governments will have increased one hundred percent since 2009. We need to reform the pension system and create a Tier VI. The joint Legislature and Executive Mandate relief Council we created last year will begin its work this month. I will request that Council hold public hearings. We need a robust discussion on the pros and cons of the mandates.
Amidst the backdrop of a national recession and record federal and state budget deficits across the nation—including New York—Governor Cuomo stood before the crowd gathered at Empire State Plaza on January 4, 2012 and delivered the 2012 State of the State address. The Governor emphasized the need to reduce the amount of retiree benefits received by public workers, specifically public pensions. To achieve this reduction the Governor announced his plans to include a Tier VI pension plan into his budget proposal. The proposal for a Tier VI pension system was unsurprising considering the Governor’s efforts to get the legislature to pass the Tier VI pension system the previous year as a stand-alone bill, and the skyrocketing cost of retiree benefits in conjunction with a tail spinning economy.
By Courtney Elliott, Albany Government Law Review
In recent years, courts have had to examine wiretap statutes in relation to recording law enforcement officers during the performance of their job duties. Most Americans now carry at least one mobile device capable of recording audio and video with the simple click of a button. Several commentators have observed that it is now common for citizens to use video cameras to document daily life, as well as police activity. On November 26, 2012, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case of Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois, leaving in place a federal appeals court’s injunction against an Illinois anti-eavesdropping law which criminalizes audio recording of part or all of a conversation unless all parties involved agree to the recording.
By Thomas Lamb, Albany Government Law Review
ERISA’s Standard for Fiduciaries
In December of 1963, the Studebaker-Packard Corporation shut down its plant in South Bend, Indiana, giving rise to one of the most “glorious stor[ies] of failure in business.” At the time of the plant’s closing, the pension fund for hourly workers was about as broke as the rest of the company. Participants enrolled in Studebaker-Packard’s retirement plan whose benefits had vested received their full pension; but the plan did not have enough funds to honor what it had promised younger participants whose benefits had not yet vested. “Some received a lump-sum payment worth a fraction of the pension they expected, and others got nothing at all.” Thousands of employees were left without compensation for years of contributions, and also without a legal remedy.