In a major victory for unhoused New Yorkers, the New York Court of Appeals recently adopted the analysis of an amicus brief that was filed by Proskauer on behalf of the Coalition for the Homeless. The amicus brief supported the City of New York’s defense of a proposed project to convert a midtown Manhattan hotel into a residential facility for homeless adults seeking employment opportunities.
One of the most important issues facing this country today is gun violence and how to prevent it. Lawyers can play a vital role in advising legislators who want to enact meaningful gun regulations, and by using their skills to try to prevent the adoption of laws designed to block meaningful gun regulations. Last month, a Proskauer team achieved a victory with nationwide implications by persuading a Florida state trial court to strike down a Florida gun law as unconstitutional.
The Florida law preempted “the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition,” meaning municipalities and counties could not pass gun regulations. Unfortunately, such a preemption provision is not unusual, but in 2011, the Florida legislature took it a step further by adding substantial penalties for violating the preemption. Under the law, if a municipality enacts a gun law later found preempted, it is subject to a private damages lawsuit with liability up to $100,000, plus uncapped attorneys’ fees, and the legislators who voted for the preempted law are subject to a $5,000 fine and removal from office by the governor.
A Proskauer team recently succeeded in obtaining parole on behalf of 69-year-old pro bono client Judith Clark, who has been in prison for nearly 38 years. This case may play an important role in effecting much needed parole reform in New York. Personally, it has been among the most satisfying cases on which I have ever worked.
Judith was the getaway driver for the infamous 1981 Brinks robbery that resulted in the killings of two police officers and a Brinks guard, and was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison. Judith’s transformation from radical revolutionary to a completely rehabilitated person began in the mid-1980s. Since then, she has devoted herself to helping others. Her efforts included starting an AIDS counseling program for prisoners that was copied nationwide, building a prison college program (and earning two degrees), helping to run her prison’s infant care center for incarcerated mothers, training more than a dozen dogs to help wounded veterans and law enforcement, and individually mentoring and counseling hundreds of women to help them turn their lives around. After personally interviewing Judith in 2016, Governor Cuomo granted her clemency, thereby making her eligible for parole.