The Washington Post published an opinion piece by ECBAWM partners Jonathan Abady and Ilann Maazel about the Jill-Stein-sponsored and ECBAWM-led recount effort in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. They urge Americans not to “ignore the lessons of the past weeks and preserve the status quo that is our broken voting system.”
In the first-ever legal effort to challenge election results in multiple jurisdictions for a Presidential contest in the United States, ECBAWM is representing Jill Stein and her campaign in election integrity efforts and attempts to obtain recounts in three states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Stein filed petitions for recount in Michigan and Wisconsin, and mobilized voters to seek recounts in Pennsylvania. ECBAWM has litigated various state and federal actions to pursue those recount requests.
ECBAWM attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Matt D. Brinckerhoff, Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ilann Maazel, Elizabeth Saylor, Debra L. Greenberger, Ali Frick, David Lebowitz, Hayley Horowitz, Doug Lieb, Alanna Small, and Jessica Clark are the lawyers litigating these efforts.
In January 2016 Jaime DeJesus, who was serving a 20-year sentence for assault in the first degree, had his conviction overturned by the First Department appellate court. At the request of his appellate attorneys, who believed in his innocence, ECBAWM agreed to handle his retrial. After a five-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than three hours and acquitted Mr. DeJesus of all charges. ECBAWM partners Earl Ward and Elizabeth Saylor tried the case.
On November 16, 2016, ECBAWM submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Asian Americans Advancing Justice ǀ AAJC and other civil rights and advocacy groups in Lee v. Tam, a First Amendment and trademark case pending before the Supreme Court.
Tam, the Respondent, is the leader of a band called, “The Slants”—a racially derisive term referring to Asian Americans. Tam has stated that his use of “The Slants” is an effort to reclaim that term. Nevertheless, his trademark application for the name was rejected under a section of the trademark law that prohibits registration of derogatory marks. The Supreme Court will consider whether that section is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Though not submitted in support of either the Respondent or the Petitioner, the amicus curiae brief represents the interests of a coalition of groups whose constituents are harmed by the dissemination of racial slurs. The brief sheds light on the complicated nature of the inquiry before the Court, the free speech interests on both sides, and the power and difficulties of reclamation efforts. ECBAWM attorneys Daniel Kornstein and Alanna Small worked on the brief. You can read the brief here.
To read Ilann Maazel’s Op-Ed “Stand up to GOP on Supreme Court,” click here.
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, along with Morrison & Foerster, have been named as the Bronx Defenders’ Pro Bono Partners of the Year for their work to end court delays in the Bronx Criminal Court. You can read more about the class-action lawsuit, Trowbridge v. Cuomo, here.
The City of New York has agreed to pay $6 million to Derrick Deacon, a man who spent over twenty years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Mr. Deacon was initially convicted in 1989 as the result of egregious misconduct by law enforcement and prosecutors. After new evidence came to light showing that Mr. Deacon was not the perpetrator, he was granted a retrial and acquitted in minutes. This suit, filed after his acquittal, challenged the official misconduct used to initially convict Mr. Deacon. The New York Daily News covered the settlement here.
ECBAWM attorneys Earl Ward, Andrew Wilson, Hayley Horowitz, and Jessica Clarke represented Mr. Deacon, together with Glen A. Garber, P.C.
After a three-week trial, Oral Nicholas Hillary was acquitted of the 2011 murder of Garrett Phillips, a 12-year-old resident of Potsdam, New York.
Hillary’s legal team, led by ECBAWM partner Earl S. Ward and co-counsel Norman Siegel, argued that the lack of evidence against Mr. Hillary mandated that he be acquitted of all charges. As Mr. Ward stated in his closing argument, “There is absolutely no direct evidence tying Mr. Hillary to this crime. Nick Hillary is not the type of person that would walk into a room, put his hands around the neck of a child and strangle him, kill that child. That is not Nick Hillary.” Judge Felix J. Cantena agreed, finding Mr. Hillary not guilty of all charges.
The New York Times extensively covered the trial, along with North County Public Radio and ABC News. You can watch Judge Cantena read the verdict here.
The Legal Aid Society Prisoners’ Rights Project and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel announced a settlement in the case of Bradley Ballard, whose horrific death at Rikers Island in 2013 was ruled a homicide. The settlement of $5,750,000 is the largest ever entered into by New York City for a death in custody.
Mr. Ballard, 39, was a seriously mentally ill and diabetic man who died in 2013 due to the abuse and cruelty of the Department of Corrections staff and the medical providers on Rikers Island. From the moment Mr. Ballard arrived at Rikers, on a parole violation for failing to change a report of address, his serious medical and mental health needs were mishandled by the City’s health care contractor at the time, Corizon Health, Inc. The abuse took a macabre turn when Department of Corrections staff illegally shut him in his cell as a rogue punishment for perceived rudeness, leaving him to decompensate without medication or treatment for his schizophrenia and diabetes. For seven days, until Mr. Ballard died on September 11, 2013, corrections and medical staff walked by the locked cell without offering assistance, turned off the water to his cell, and ignored his obvious and fatally deteriorating state until it was too late.
Mr. Ballard’s death was unusual in its gruesomeness, and his suffering was unmatched as reflected by the historic settlement. But the torture he endured resulted from longstanding and known system failures that have plagued Rikers healthcare and supervision of medical and corrections staff. In 2015, Corizon’s contract for healthcare was finally canceled, though many of the corrections staff who so woefully failed in their duties remain in the jails. Mr. Ballard’s family can only hope that the City can usher in a new era of basic humanity and competence at Rikers. They hope that the settlement will spark a rigorous review of the cascade of failures and misconduct that caused Mr. Bradley’s premature and painful death. No other patient, and no family, should have to endure their suffering.
Mr. Ballard’s mother, Beverly Ann Griffin, was represented in this lawsuit by Jonathan S. Abady, Debra L. Greenberger and Hayley Horowitz of ECBAWM and Jonathan Chasan and Mary Lynne Werlwas of the Legal Aid Society.
On September 22, 2016, ECBAWM, along with Ressler and Tesh PLLC, filed a federal lawsuit in Long Island on behalf of a young, special needs child who was improperly placed by the agency SCO Family of Services in the home of an abusive pedophile: Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu. This child, who is originally from Washington State, was transferred through SCO Family of Services nearly 3,000 miles away to Mugaburu in Long Island. Once there, he suffered a fate similar to the many vulnerable boys forced to live with this madman. He was physically and mentally abused, subjected to long periods of starvation, and sexually assaulted. As alleged in the lawsuit, SCO Family of Services ignored repeated complaints about Mugaburu, including those from J.A. himself, warnings from Suffolk County’s foster agency, and numerous red flags about Mugaburu and his home.
Read more about the case and Mugaburu in press coverage by the New York Times and Daily News.