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It took the liberal New Republic to really open my eyes into the abject injustice of the federal government's case against Maria Butina. They essentially kept her in solitary confinement for 3 months, with only 45 minutes of sunshine outside in that time. The goal? Find a scapegoat for the Russian investigation. They wore her down until they obtained a single guilty plea of conspiracy to fail to register as a foreign agent.
Read the full article here.
With less than one month to go before the 2018 elections, the ground is shifting for major political donors. Developments over the last several years, and especially in the last few months, show that the rules of the road are changing with respect to many of the common election law issues faced by high net worth individuals. These complex rules present an array of compliance traps for the unwary. To help high net worth individuals and their family offices navigate this thicket, this advisory describes steps high net worth individuals can take to ensure compliance.
Read the rest of the article here.
One of the more difficult questions criminal defense attorneys are often asked outside the office is "How can you defend people accused of that?"
The idea that everyone has a right to an attorney sounds great as an ideal. When it's time to defend someone accused of abhorrent behaviors, it not so easy for some to see how a lawyer with sound moral character could represent someone accused of such reprehensible acts. Yet our adversarial justice system serves well - most of the time. And an adversarial system requires intelligent, trained professionals on both sides - prosecution and defense.
Now, if police and investigators were perfect in their work, maybe we could argue there is no need for an adversarial system. They are not perfect though. Police sometimes get the wrong suspect - often by no fault of their own. They take statements from eyewitnesses who are mistaken. They interrogate suspects who tender false confessions to get out of the interrogation-room sweat-box. They might use underhanded techniques to frame an otherwise guilty person against whom they can't quite prove a case using honest evidence. Or they even might go rogue. As long as humans are less than perfect, we will need a court system to administer justice.
Consider the role of a sex crimes attorney. Sexual offenders are the subject of widespread social disdain. Serial sexual predators pose especially troubling risks to society. So why would anyone make a career of keeping those people out of jail?
If police and investigators get it right, the best defense attorney in the world might not keep a sexual predator out of jail. Recent celebrity trials suggest it takes more than a good lawyer to beat charges.
But not every defendant is guilty. For the wrongly accused, the role of a sex crimes lawyer is obvious. The wrongly accused certainly needs someone who has the knowledge and experience to stand up against the prosecution.
What of the guilty offender though? Why do they need an attorney?
An attorney's job is not always to get someone off. A skilled legal counselor will advise a defendant how to begin turning around parts of a flawed life in preparation for post-conviction sentencing. A compassionate lawyer can explain a client's remorse, detail what the client has done to remediate the behavior and plea for mercy from the court.
For the defendant - whether wrongly accused or guilty as sin -- the confidence that they will be represented zealously in court can make the difference between running from the law or doing the right thing and facing the consequences. While defense lawyers might not be the most admired members of our society, their service remains an important part of the American justice system.
In October 2006, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order came into effect providing that every person who owns, operates or manages a business in England and Wales must comply with the regulations. In essence, the Order was established to ensure that a responsible person takes measures to minimize the risk of fire on a premises as well as ensure that any persons on the premises can escape a fire safely should one occur.
The Regulatory Reform puts forth certain responsibilities that must be complied with. Although these responsibilities may vary depending on the type of business, the size of the premises and other factors, these responsibilities generally include:
Fire Safety Training
Fire safety training must cover the following categories:
Fire Risk Assessment
The Fire Risk Assessment forms a very important part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. A competent person within the business must be chosen to run the Fire Risk Assessment and is referred to as the responsible person. The primary purpose of the fire risk assessment is to identify any fire risks or hazards that exist on the premises. Over and above this, the responsible person must also:
The Fire Risk Assessment is not a once off process and needs to be constantly updated and reviewed by the responsible person. A record of the assessments must be kept in any business that has 5 or more employees although it is recommended to do so for smaller businesses as well.
It is also necessary to take into consideration all people that are on the premises at any given point in time. This includes employees, visitors, the general public, contractors, etc. Provisions must be made for these people in the fire safety plan and precautions.
Although the Fire Risk Assessment can be carried out by another person (other than the responsible person) the responsible person will still be held accountable for the fire risk assessment being performed, the findings as well as taking the necessary precautions to reduce fire risks and hazards.
In the case where the business is operated in a building or forms part of another premises, the responsible person must work in conjunction with the person responsible for fire safety in the building or other parts of the premises. They need to be made aware of fire risks or hazards that exist in other parts of the building as well as provide information on any risks as well as precautions that exist as part of their business operation.
Some fire safety precautions that should be implemented include:
The local fire brigade may arrive to inspect the premises at which the Fire Risk Assessment as well as emergency fire safety plan should be presented.
FREE EBOOK: Knowing and Protecting Your Rights When an Interstate Gas Pipeline Comes to Your Community
The Legal Services Board has the overall responsibility for overseeing all lawyers in England and Wales. In addition, there are separately approved regulators directly responsible for regulating different types of solicitors. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the approved regulatory body responsible for regulating Solicitors in England and Wales including the following types of legal professionals:
The other regulatory bodies are respectively responsible for different types of legal professionals, for example, Barristers, Legal Executives, Licensed Conveyancers, Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, Cost Lawyers, and Notaries. The Solicitors Regulatory Authority regulates all types of legal work a firm does, including probate services and conveyancing.
What does the Solicitors Regulation Authority Do?
The SRA sets Principles and a Code of Conduct that the solicitors regulated by them must adhere to in order to provide legal services in England and Wales. Making use of a risk-based, outcome-focused approach to regulation they ensure that individuals and law firms operate independently and with integrity in the best interests of clients and the broader public interest. Their main task is to regulate the professional conduct of solicitors as well as other authorized individuals and those working in the public and private sectors they regulate.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority was formed by the Legal Services Act of 2007 to act as an independent regulator of solicitors. The SRA is a statutory body and, while it is a formal arm of the Law Society, it operates independently of the Law Society since the government adopted the recommendation by Sir David Clementi that professional bodies should not hold both representative and regulatory roles but should be separate. The Law Society still remains the representative body for solicitors.
What is the SRA’s Function?
The SRA carries out its functions by creating and upholding the Solicitor’s Handbook that includes the Code of Conduct. The handbook contains ethical principles to guide solicitors in their profession including:
They also ensure that the solicitors they regulate are insured and qualified to provide legal services by:
The SRA has a range of legal sanctions available to them that enable them to undertake a variety of actions depending on the severity of the breach and the risk posed to the legal profession and the public. More severe cases can be prosecuted at a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The SRA can also monitor the quality of training of those entering the legal profession and increase the standard for those practicing within it. Examples of enforcement action include:
The SRA deals mainly with misconduct, dishonesty, and cases of fraud but does not take complaints about poor service provided by solicitors. Complaints are handled by the Legal Ombudsman, an organization that handles problems from clients.
Regulating in the Public Interest
The SRA regulates firms in the public interest by setting minimum professional standards so that clients as consumers can get the services they expect. When these standards are not adhered to, sanctions are taken in order to act as a deterrent for future wrongdoing.
The SRA regulates more than 180,000 solicitors in England and Wales and their main purpose is to protect the public by ensuring that high standards are adhered to and to act when risks are identified.
In 2001 a group of public school employee unions brought litigation against the State of Ohio, various charter schools including ECOT, and their management companies.
That the state’s charter school legislation which permitted privately operated schools to receive public money was unconstitutional.
The 2005 oral arguments are strikingly similar to the issues now being debated. Those archived oral arguments can be viewed here.
Fortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court, by a narrow 4-3 majority, upheld the constitutionality of this system.
Unfortunately, those that want to shut down every charter school in Ohio haven’t given up. They are now trying to overturn this seminal 2006 decision through a series of backdoor legal actions tied to the current ECOT litigation.
Let me explain:
In 2016 during the midst of the presidential primaries, a group of school choice opponents within the Ohio Department of Education, along with the Governor’s office, discovered a way to go after online charter schools. As a result of their actions, the largest online school, ECOT, was closed. 3rd Rail Politics has extensively covered this issue.
Additionally, six other smaller online schools have closed while three are struggling on repayment plans.
Those efforts were just the beginning.
Now, unless the Ohio Supreme Court overturns the lower courts and find those efforts unlawful, the path will be clear for bureaucrats and ambitious politicians to eliminate all of Ohio’s charter schools.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE
News Flash: Timken, Husted and Pollster Neil Newhouse to Attend Speaker Smith's OHROC 2018 Candidate Seminar Tomorrow
Speaker Ryan is holding the OHROC 2018 Candidate Seminar tomorrow. The premise is to work with Republican candidates for the Ohio House including many of whom have never run for state office before. 3rd Rail has obtained a copy of the agenda which includes GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, Secretary of State and Candidate for Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Pollster Neil Newhouse.
It appears Speaker Smith has selectively picked who he wanted to attend the event as several top lobbyists were not included in an email invite blast that seemed to include those on the OHROC contact list.
While one can understand why Chairwoman Timken would be invited to speak along with Jon Husted who shares a close relationship with Ryan Smith (and their puppet master bff Mike Dawson), Pollster Neil Newhouse’s attendance is raising some eyebrows!
Read the rest of the article here.
Thanks to Dave Cash and our friends at Charter School Specialists for putting this material together for us:
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Earlier this Spring the NAPCS prepared a lengthy defense of charter schools nationally, and that organization used a "myth versus fact" approach in doing so.
Over the last 10 years, the public charter school movement experienced a dramatic 80 percent increase in the number of students and a 40 percent increase in the number of schools. Despite that growth, there is still an overwhelming unmet parental demand for quality school options, with more than one million student names on charter school waiting lists nationally. While charter schools enjoy at least some measure of bipartisan support among policymakers and the general public, they also have some vocal critics who continue to perpetuate a number of myths about charters.
The champions of charter schools in Ohio and beyond don't need to be defensive about charter schools, yet it seems we're constantly being put on the defensive by our critics, many of whom have seemingly endless resources devoted to doing us harm.
Charter School Specialists has made the effort to briefly summarize the NAPCS document so that our colleagues in the charter school community have ready access to the best arguments in the debate over charter schools. We believe it's critical that all of us involved with charter schools, at every level of our movement, are armed with the facts and the findings of independent research in making a compelling case in favor of charter schools.
Finally, we stand ready to help you refine your arguments in favor of charter schools. Just let us know how we can help.
MYTH: Charter schools are not public schools.
FACT: As defined in federal and state law, charter schools are indeed public schools. They must meet the same academic standards that all public schools are required to meet. They are tuition free and open to all students; Nonsectarian and do not discriminate on any basis; Publicly funded by local, state, and federal tax dollars based on enrollment, like other public schools; and Held accountable for meeting state and federal academic standards. Charter schools are approved, funded, and overseen by a government-endorsed authorizing entity, just as traditional public schools are overseen by a school district.
MYTH: Charter schools get more money than other public schools.
FACT: On average, charter schools receive less public funding than traditional public schools. Moreover, in many states, charter schools get no facilities funding and don't enjoy the benefits of receiving local property taxes. This national funding discrepancy continues to grow. In our state there are many instances where urban charters receive barely one-third of their neighboring district schools.
MYTH: Charter schools receive a disproportionate amount of private funds.
FACT: It's a plain fact that charter schools receive fewer private funds per pupil than traditional public schools. Since charter schools operate with far fewer funds than their neighboring traditional public schools and often do not receive funding for facilities or property taxes, many charter schools fund-raise to make up this difference. Like traditional public schools, charter schools raise money through school fundraisers, community partnerships, booster clubs, or donations by parents, businesses, or philanthropic organizations. However, a University of Arkansas study debunked the myth that charter schools received disproportionate funding from non-public sources to reduce the gap in the funding disparity.
MYTH: There is a lack of transparency around charter schools' use of funds.
FACT: Charter schools have greater accountability and scrutiny over their finances than traditional public schools. As public schools, charter schools are held accountable for their finances by state law. Though public reporting laws vary by state, charter schools in every state are required to be financially transparent.
Charter schools also have another level of oversight beyond traditional public schools because they are accountable to their authorizers. Public charter school authorizers are required to approve and renew only those charter schools that have demonstrated they can improve student performance in a fiscally and organizationally sound manner. Charter School Specialists, for example, has recommended that several charter schools be closed for those reasons. Closure of district schools happen very rarely.
MYTH: Charter school teachers are less qualified than teachers in traditional public schools.
FACT: Like all public school leaders, charter leaders aim to hire talented, passionate, and qualified teachers who will boost student achievement and contribute to a thriving school culture. But in contrast to many other public school leaders, charter school leaders have flexibility to ensure that the teachers they hire not only are qualified but also are producing results for students and families. These flexibilities include the ability to decide whom to hire, how to pair teachers to best meet students' needs, and how to fairly hold teachers accountable for improving student achievement. Further, the flexibility that public charter schools have to make personnel decisions allows them to draw from a wider candidate pool, including content area experts who may not have followed a traditional teacher certification path. The public charter school model also gives teachers the flexibility to use their talents and abilities to design programs that work better for the students they serve, while at the same time being held accountable for student achievement.
MYTH: Charter schools are anti-union.
FACT: Charter schools are neither pro-union nor anti-union: They are pro-teacher. Teachers in any school should be treated fairly and should be given the due process rights they are accorded under the law. Charter leaders should also be given the flexibility needed to staff their schools with teachers who support the mission and will meet school standards.
State legislatures determine whether or not charter schools are required to be unionized. Even when state law doesn't require charters to be unionized, teachers still can voluntarily decide they'd like to unionize. Most of the time, when given that choice, public charter school teachers decide not to unionize.
MYTH: Charter schools aren't accountable to the public since their boards aren't elected.
FACT: Charter schools are directly accountable to the public. They are approved and overseen by a government-endorsed authorizing entity (St. Aloysius, for example). If they do not serve the public by producing results, they can be improved or closed far faster than other schools.
Charter schools are also funded with public funds, just like all other public schools. In fact, charter schools are uniquely accountable to the public because they sign contracts with a government-endorsed authorizer explaining how the schools will operate and the results they will achieve. If they don't produce these results, their authorizer has the power to work to immediately fix the schools or close them. 11 states have automatic closure laws for charters that fail to meet their obligations. Traditional public schools can fail for years-even generations-and never be closed down for bad performance.
In addition to being accountable to their authorizers and being subject to fixing or closure for poor performance, charter schools are accountable because:
FACT: Public charter schools are generally required to take all students who want to attend. If there are more interested students than available seats, the schools are generally required to hold lotteries, which randomly determine which students will be enrolled. Unlike magnet schools overseen by school districts, public charter schools cannot selectively admit students. According to federal law, they must accept all students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, regardless of previous academic performance.
MYTH: Charter schools don't enroll children from underserved families.
FACT: Public charter schools enroll more students of color and from low-income backgrounds than traditional public schools. According to the most recent national demographic data, public charter schools enroll a greater percentage of:
FACT: There is no significant difference in the percentage of English Learners served by traditional or public charter schools. The most recent U.S. Department of Education survey data showed that 10 percent of charter school students are English Learners, compared to 9 percent of students in traditional public schools.
MYTH: Charter schools serve fewer students with disabilities.
FACT: According to the most recent publicly available data, 10 percent of charter school students are students with disabilities, compared to 12 percent of students in traditional public schools. Beyond these largely comparable numbers, students with disabilities are thriving in charter schools. Stanford University found that in terms of achievement, students with disabilities attending public charter schools gained 14 days of learning in math compared to their traditional school peers.
MYTH: Charter school students do no better than traditional public school students.
FACT: Between 2010 and 2013, 15 of 16 independent studies found that students attending charter schools do better academically than their traditional school peers.31 The Stanford University study found that overall, students in public charter schools are outperforming their traditional public school peers in reading, adding an average of seven additional days of learning per year, and performing as well as students in traditional public schools in math.
MYTH: Competition from charter schools is causing neighborhood schools to close and harming the students attending them.
FACT: No research has shown that the presence of public charter schools causes neighborhood schools to close. Neighborhood schools close for a variety of reasons, including declining student enrollment due to changing community demographics or shifting population centers.
MYTH: Charter schools take funding away from traditional public schools.
FACT: Public school funding is sent to the public school that a student attends. If a student chooses to leave one traditional public school for another traditional public school, funding goes to the new school, which is now responsible for educating that student. The same is true if a student chooses to leave a charter school to attend a traditional school. The previous school, no longer responsible for educating that child, no longer receives those funds. However, if a student leaves a traditional public school for a charter school, only a portion of that student's funding goes to the new school.
So, in fact, charters are at a disadvantage when they receive an unequal portion of funds for educating the same child. Charter schools don't affect districts financially any more than district student transfers do. There's no question that resources are strained in American public schools. Bottom line is that charter schools allow public resources to stay in the public school system and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are well spent by requiring schools to perform well or close.
Scott Pullins is a Mount Vernon, Ohio business, elections, and general practice attorney.
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