Archive for May, 2010

Vermont Wage & Hour Rights

This is a really great video that offers some insight on Vermont workers law n the area of wage and hour rights.  Tom Somers of Bergeron Paradis & Fitzpatrick talks about a current case in Vermont where workers are attempting to force the state to follow the overtime laws.  Learn more about the case, laws and how you can get involved in this video.


Tribune Bankruptcy Exit Plan – One to be Remembered by

May 27, 2010 1 comment

As we all know Media conglomerate, Tribune Co. has been operating in bankruptcy for the last couple of years.  Back in 2008 Tribune filed for bankruptcy protection in order to restructure.  Sam Zell, it’s billionaire owner at the time called it a “perfect storm” that took place due to the turbulent economy.  As the web era has taken its boom over the last few years, classifieds, which made up about half of the ad revenue suffered shrinking margins.

Tribune is known for their publishing as well as broadcasting segments represented by such entities as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.  They are now getting ready for a “bankruptcy exit” like no other after stabilizing.  After all, why not leave with a bang for your buck?  According to court documents, upon exiting, Tribune plans to pay their top managers bonuses and incentives in the amount of $16.2.  In the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, Tribunes plans to pay about $10.3 million to the organizations top 20 managers, $4.6 to 19 managers who spearheaded the operating units and five will also receive bonus payments under the cash flow-based program.  They are looking out for their “little” guys as well.  In a program worth 1.3 million, 70 employees will be eligible to receive up to $65,000 in bonuses.

With cash payouts like this, it has some not so glad unions standing by with a critical eye.  Since mid last year unions have had concerns such as management setting up easy to achieve targets making for a “a lay-up for management.”  Other points the unions have made is that they are incentivizing management on cash flow but cutting staff and holding salaries steady due to declining revenue.

The unions as well as Tribune Co. have to sit and wait while the plan goes into review by creditors and the Delaware Bankruptcy Court.

Happy Memorial Day! + Drink Safely=Anti-DUI Campaigning

As the long weekend approaches all of us on this coming Memorial Holiday weekend, so do legal efforts to limit drunk driving around the Nation.  In places like Cotati County, California the “Avoid the 13 DUI Campaign” roles out this Friday.  This is a campaign that is a conglomerate of 13 law enforcement agencies throughout the county who join together for the cause of decrease the instances of DUI’s.  This is coordinated by the Petaluma Police Department.

Some of the ways that this crew of fab 13 are looking to crack down on drunk driving incidents is by instilling checkpoints in key locations, as well as having saturation patrols throughout the county.

According to the Petaluma Police Sargent Ken Savano, these such efforts over the last few years have proven success with a decrease of alcohol-related deaths & injuries statewide from 526-385.  That is a 26% decrease from 2007 to 2009.

I small group of individuals with a common cause or concern can go a long way, and the team of law enforcement behind the Avoid the 13 DUI campaign are patrolling proof.  This memorial day, you can make a simple difference by making smart decisions and encouraging the people around you.  Have fun, do your thing, but plan ahead and have other means of getting home safely if you are going to drink.  Happy Memorial day!

Miranda Rights- Is a new recipe in the making?

David Axelrod who is a top White House adviser said in an interview with CNN that president Obama is “open to looking” at amendments to the Miranda rule.  The Miranda rule prohibits the prosecution from using statements made by suspects before they have been informed they have the right to remain silent and a right to an attorney.  This was after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called for a law that allow for interrogators to pose questions to individuals who are suspected terrorist prior to giving them their Miranda rights.  Watch the video below for more on his interview

David Axelrod continued to explain that he although he is willing to commence talks with congress in regards to this- he is aware they will be more interested in adjustments instead of a full reform.  A major premis of his recommendations is that in the situation of terrorists suspects, the Miranda Rights should be modified.
In 1996, the Supreme court instilled the law that is currently enforced.  The Miranda rule is line with the Fifth amendment and intends to make sure confessions are not coerced for self-incrimination.  Attorney General holder is asking for legislation to build a new exception.
Republicans have been critical of President Obama’s handling of certain terrorists suspects.  Most recently, the handling of Faisal Shahzad who attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square.  The criticism is that he was handled as a criminal defendant instead of as a military detainee under wartime laws.
What are your thoughts on this?  What are the potential repercussions of making amendments to the Miranda laws?

Anti-Immigration in Arizona Law & Los Suns de Phoenix Take a Stance

Even the NBA got into the boycott spirit with the new anti-immigration law passed in Arizona on April 23rd. The Phoenix suns faced their match on May 5th during their playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs. That’s not all they were up against though. In lieu of the great Arizona anti-immigrant law heat, the Phoenix Suns rocked alternative jerseys to show their support and protest the new laws passed by Governor Jan Brewer.

Los Suns guard Steve Nash, described the new law as being “misguided” and went on to explain that the Suns would wear “Los Suns” jerseys during their Game 2 appearance against the Spurs. Nash went on to explain, “I think (the law) will encourage racial profiling and sets a very dangerous precedent.”
It’s not only Steve Nash whose speaking up from the Suns, Robert Sarver who is the managing partner had a lot to say about it as well.

“The frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law,” Sarver said in statement. “However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.”

“Hopefully, it’s all going to get worked out and the federal government will step in and there’ll be a national solution. I realize that immigration is a problem and we have issues that need to be dealt with. I just don’t think this bill accomplishes that,” said the team executive. “I don’t think it’s the right way to handle the immigration problem.”

Suns coach Alvin Gentry chimed in with his two cents as well.

“We’ve worn these jerseys before. We’ve worn them 3 times. We’re 3-0 in these jerseys.”

“We’re wearing these jerseys just because it’s a…holiday. It’s Cinco De Mayo. We’re wearing them because of the diversity that we have in the state of Arizona and we’re wearing them because of the diversity in the NBA.
“There are more than 400 guys who come from more than 70 countries. That’s it.”

The outcome, Los suns took the lead in the serious and left Nash to saying:

“Our team is proud to wear those jerseys. We have a sense of pride in our Latino community…They give us diversity…It’s important sometimes to stand up for what we believe…”

“I’m proud of our owner for taking a stand.”

It is pretty great to see so many people and organizations standing behind their words with action.

Arizona Immigration Law Boycott- Shakira Speaks out

Stars from all walks of life are joining in protesting the new Arizona Anti-Immigration laws. Shakira is amongst them. Check out her interview with Ryan Seacrest. Check it out.

Arizona Immigration Law- What’s the big deal?

May 7, 2010 2 comments

It’s been on the tip of every tongue and at the point of all writers pens.  The new Arizona immigration law that is.  Stars such as Ricky Martin, Seth MacFarlane, Shakira and Gloria Estafan have been publicly speaking against the new law.  So what’s the “hype” all about?  Well, a new immigration law was signed and passed on April 23rd by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer with outstanding republican support.  This is now the toughest anti-immigration law in the country and is set to take effect on July 28th.  It requires police to demand proof of citizenship or legal residency, i.e. a drivers license or state ID to anyone that they suspect to be residing in the country illegally.  A couple of other key points of the law is that it makes the employment or transport of illegal immigrants anywhere illegal.  It also allows for those citizens who feel that the law isn’t being enforced appropriately, to sue their local government.  It would be interesting to see the point of view of an immigration lawyer.

According to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer the bill “represents what’s best for Arizona” When Governor Brewer was asked if she thinks she could identify an illegal immigrant she responded by saying “ I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like.  I can tell you that I think that there are people in Arizona that assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks like.  I don’t know if they know that for a fact or not” A stance held by some republican supporters of the new bill is Arizona spends about $3 billion to educate, medicate and incarcerate illegal immigrants.

Hmmm?  I think, sorta, kinda maybe if they are sure… but I’m not too sure?  My point is, it seems that this is a pretty dramatic law with heavy ramifications to be based on someone who thinks they know people who can assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks like.

Protestors of the new law fear that it will make people who appear to be foreigners targeted and victims of racial profiling.  President Obama said during a ceremony for new citizens, that the new law threatens to “undermine basic notions as fairness that we cherish as Americans”.

Further, the Supreme Court has ruled that police cannot stop an individual based solely on their Mexican appearance.  This brings into question the boundaries’ between the state and federal government.  Does Arizona even have the right to be tampering with immigration laws in this fashion?  If you area facing issues with immigration, it may be to your best advantage to seek out the advice of an immigration lawyer.
What do you think about the new law?  Is Arizona overstepping their boundaries?