Weekly News Update


*Following two controversial decisions by grand juries in New York and Missouri, New York’s top judge is calling for an overhaul of the system. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman proposed making two big changes to the system: First judges — not prosecutors — should oversee grand juries weighing police-related deaths and second, he said the testimony heard by the grand jury should be released in cases of “high public interest.” [NPR]

*A federal judge has temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, just one day before the first of the policies announced in November was set to go into effect. [New York Magazine]

*With tenant harassment complaints against landlords on the rise, New York City and state officials announced on Thursday the creation of a multiagency task force aimed at weeding out and punishing bad landlords. Many of the complaints stem from a similar motivation: Landlords are accused of harassing tenants to push them out of affordable apartments and replace them with tenants paying higher rents. [NY Times]

*The federal judge in the Boston Marathon bombing case says he has found 54 of the 70 people needed for a suitable jury pool, and a court official predicted testimony would begin in the “near future.” But defense lawyers will once again ask an appellate court to halt the proceeding or move it out of the Boston area, claiming impartial jurors cannot be found so close to the site of the terrorist attack. [WKBW Buffalo]

*Schools throughout New York state will now be forced to reform policies after an investigation uncovered illegal enrollment obstacles placed on undocumented children. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday that 20 school districts have agreed to modify enrollment policies after investigations unearthed a pattern of illegal enrollment requirements, including schools that made students present Social Security cards. [MSNBC]

*The New York State Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed a lower court ruling that reduced the charges for a defendant who knowingly infected his partner with H.I.V., in a decision that could limit prosecutors’ ability to charge infected people who don’t disclose their status. [Capital New York]

*A Park Slope nursing home has agreed to pay $750,000 to the family of a Brooklyn judge who was confined against his will. The family of Judge John Phillips filed the suit against Prospect Park Residence five years ago after they said they were repeatedly blocked from visiting the man known as the “Kung Fu Judge” because of his martial arts gestures in court. [NY Daily News]

*Many law firms have been seeking new ways to keep themselves financially sound as their clients become more cost conscious. Now, a founder of a major litigation finance company, who is also a law professor at Georgetown University, is urging a more radical step: Abandon the partnership structure and instead go public. [NY Times]