NYPD Agrees to $180,000 Hijab Settlement

The City of New York has agreed to pay a total of $180,000 to three Muslim females who were required to remove their hijabs for mug shots after being arrested. All of the women filed cases in Brooklyn federal court. The three lawsuits have now prompted implementation of NYPD policies on taking mug shots of arrestees who are wearing religious head coverings. Prior to 2015, there were no uniform NYPD policies on mug shot arrests of people wearing religious coverings over their heads. The initial 2015 policies were updated in 2017.

One of the women was a high school student in 2012 when she was arrested, but the criminal case against her was later dismissed. At the police station, she was told to take off her hijab for her mug shot, and she refused. She was then taken to a private room where her photo was taken by a female police officer. It was the mug shot issue that brought her civil rights lawsuit.

When the same woman was transferred to central booking, police wanted another mug shot. She was told that no female officers were available for that purpose, and it couldn’t be taken elsewhere. A male officer took her photo on a stationary booking room camera. The woman claimed that she felt “exposed, violated and distraught” without her hijab in the presence of male officers and arrestees.

According to the New York Times, another woman was asked to remove her hijab at central booking, but she refused as she purportedly was only allowed to do so in the presence of men who are family members. The third woman asked for a female officer to take her mug shot in private, but her lawsuit alleges that police refused.

The two other hijab cases were filed in 2015 and 2016. All three of the women settled their cases at $60,000 apiece. The three cases operate as examples of how law enforcement agencies and airport security personnel have been required to change policies in order to satisfy religious requirements.

Allegedly Drunk Horse Rider Taken Into Custody

In yet another drunk driving on a horse case, a 29-year-old Placentia man who was celebrating his birthday was arrested earlier this week for drunk driving after riding his horse down a freeway in Long Beach. California Highway Patrol officers were summoned to eastbound Highway 91 by motorists, but the horseman exited the highway at Downey. He was apprehended on Bellflower on his white Arabian. The cowboy agreed to field sobriety testing at the scene of the stop. After two tests with a portable testing device, the man’s blood alcohol content was determined to be somewhere between .19 and .21. Both are more than twice the legal limit. As reported by USA Today and the Associated Press that the horse named Guera was released to the man’s mother who arrived at the scene shortly after his arrest.

The rider was booked, charged with drunken driving on a horse and jailed with a bail of $10,000. The California Motor Vehicle Code section 21050 provides that while riding an animal on a highway, the rider is subject to the same legal duties and obligations as the driver of a motor vehicle. The rider must maintain control of the animal at all times. If the animal becomes spooked, and it runs out into traffic, the rider can be held liable for any resulting accidents or injuries. Riding a horse on a roadway while intoxicated or impaired by drugs poses an unreasonable risk of harm to everybody around.

In 2017, a Florida woman who was riding a horse on a public roadway was taken into custody for drunk driving. The law on whether a person can be arrested for driving drunk on a roadway while riding a horse varies from state to state. Had the facts of either the California or Florida case arisen in Montana, the rider might not have been taken into custody. That’s because Montana requires a person to be operating or otherwise in physical control of a motor vehicle. Devices that are moved by animal power are specifically excluded. Any defenses asserted in the California case will certainly be interesting.

Supreme Court Holds Dodd-Frank Does not Apply to Internal Whistleblowers

On February 21, the United States Supreme Court made it more difficult for whistleblowers in to claim protections under the Dodd-Frank Act. In Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers the court held that in order for Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation protections to apply a whistleblower must report the wrongdoing to the SEC. The court decided internal disclosures of securities law violations do not offer protection under the rules of Dodd-Frank.

The facts of the case fit the mold of retaliation after a report of illegal conduct. Paul Sommers was a vice president at Digital Realty Trust. At that time, Digital Realty Trust was a real estate investment firm. Sommers discovered what he believed to be a number of securities law violations and proceeded with internal notification. Soon after his report he was fired. Digital Realty Trust terminated Sommers’ employment before he could notify the SEC.

A unanimous court found the SEC’s rules applying Dodd-Frank’s protections to internal whistleblowers invalid because it violated the clear language of the statute. Dodd-Frank states that anti-retaliation protections apply to individuals who have reported securities violations to the SEC and makes no mention of internal reporters.

As this article in the National Law Review explains, there are two statutes that protect individuals who report violations of securities laws, the Dodd-Frank and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Although they both protect whistleblowers, they define the concept differently and diverge in several other ways. Whistleblowers under Sarbanes-Oxley must file a wrongful termination claim with the Department of Labor within 180 days of being fired to be eligible for protection under the statute. Dodd-Frank does not make such a demand. The two statutes also offer different levels of monetary recovery with Dodd-Frank authorizing the payment of double back pay with interest in case of a violation. Sarbanes-Oxley limits the amount of recovery to back pay with interest.

Internal reporters can still use the protections provided by Sarbanes-Oxley. The consequences of the ruling, of course, remain to be seen. Some legal experts argue the holding will increase the likelihood of whistleblowers reporting violations of securities law to the SEC instead of just internally to ensure they remain protected under Dodd-Frank.


Supreme Court Debates Voting Dress Code

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the case of a man who says that dress codes for voting are unconstitutional. The Minnesota man said that he tried to vote while wearing a Tea Party shirt and a button showing his support for voter identification laws. He also wore a “Don’t Tread on Me” message which is commonly associated with the libertarian movement.

An election official stopped the man from voting wearing those items. They told the man that if he wanted to vote, he had to either hide or cover up the slogans and statements that aren’t allowed. The man tried to vote three times wearing the clothing. The first two times, election officials refused to let him vote. The third time, they let him vote, but they noted his name and contact information.

Minnesota law says that people can’t wear anything with political insignia on it to vote. That includes a button or any other item of clothing that’s “political.” Voters can’t wear political items anywhere at the voting location.

The man vowed to take his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. His wish came true. The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the case of Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky.

The man’s supporters say that political buttons and the like are a way for average people to show their support for a political candidate or cause. They say the prohibition is too broad. There isn’t any reason to restrict references to political parties, ideology and hot-button issues, they say.

They also say that polling officials have too much discretion. They can allow a logo if it’s a cause that they support. They can refuse a similar logo that they don’t like just by calling it political.

In one case, Texas voting officials tried to ban someone from voting because they wore a shirt with the word “Alaska” on it. They said it showed support for Sarah Palin. In Colorado, voters faced the wrath when they wore shirts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Voting officials said that MIT might be short for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but it might also show support for then-Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The states say that these laws are necessary to keep voting fair. They say that local polling officials have to have discretion in order to deal with any kind of situation that arises on voting day. The U.S. Supreme Court expects to issue its decision by June 2018.

Officers Charged In Lackawanna County Start Legal Proceedings

Over the last month, almost ten correctional officers from Lackawanna County Prison were arrested. These arrests occurred after a number of women testified to investigators and law enforcement officials about being sexually mistreated while inmates at Lackawanna County Prison. A few women who testified to officials are still in prison today. After almost a year-long investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI believed they acquired enough evidence to take the men to trial. Most of the men are still working at the prison while others already quit. Those who currently work at the prison were suspended without pay.

All of the guards charged in this matter are being tried separately. The first hearing was held Friday. James Walsh, age 51, was the first guard to appear before a Lackawanna County Judge. Several women testified against Walsh. One woman described Walsh as a guard who knew how to take advantage of women who made wrong choices in life. With tears in her eyes and almost being unable to speak, another woman talked about how Walsh watched her while on the work-release program. Any mistake the woman made, Walsh would hold it over her head unless she performed sexual acts on him. The woman described this happening on almost 20 different occasions.

James Walsh did not address the court in any way, and there were no objections made by his attorney. There is no indication yet whether James Walsh will take the stand or not. What the public is anticipating is whether or not the guards will testify against each other. Many believe this is why the law enforcement officials working on this case made it mandatory to charge each guard separately. The rest of the guards will have their hearings between the end of March and the end of June.

As James Walsh left the courthouse, family members of the victims were heard screaming profane words at him. Walsh kept the hood from his sweatshirt over his face and did not address those yelling at him.

Officer Failed to Act While Students Died in School Massacre

As students cowered behind desks as an active shooter killed 17 teachers and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there was one more person cowering for safety. Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy spent the entire six-minutes of the attack cowering outside behind a building. Despite being a trained deputy with a firearm and assigned to the school in order to protect students, Scot Peterson hid outside and listened to the sounds of gunfire as students waited helplessly for police protection that never came.

Peterson has since resigned. The local sheriff’s department is protecting Peterson’s house for his own safety, even though Peterson made no attempt to protect the students at the school while they were murdered by an armed gunman. Peterson is still eligible to collect his retirement benefits.

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has reignited nationwide debates about guns, mental health and police protection in schools. Some say that Peterson’s failure to act is a reminder that police protection alone may not be enough to stop a school shooter. Others say that Peterson merely ran away when he should have run in to do his duty.

It’s unclear if Peterson may face criminal charges for his failure to act. In Florida, it’s a crime for a police officer to fail to perform a required duty. Any police officer who doesn’t perform a required duty is guilty of a misdemeanor in the second degree. However, in Florida, a misdemeanor in the second degree is only punishable by up to 60 days in jail. For many, that hardly seems adequate given the number of people that Peterson may have saved if he had gone into the building to engage the shooter.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that police officers have no duty to protect someone or respond to an emergency. Gun owners say that’s exactly why they don’t want lawmakers to restrict gun ownership in the wake of the Florida tragedy. Others say that addressing gun ownership will prevent gun violence.

There’s no word if Peterson will face charges of dereliction of duty for failing to go inside the school. Peterson was present and outside of the school building for four of the six minutes during which the school shooting took place. U.S. President Donald Trump says that he’s open to raising the minimum age for gun ownership. He also wants to allow teachers to carry weapons.


How The Legal Industry Is Being transformed By Blockchain Technology

The advent of blockchain technology is making its way into mainstream use in the legal industry where major law firms are using it to make their day-to-day operations a lot more efficient and easier. Many people have only heard about blockchain technology in its use in cryptocurrency. However, this technology is being used in many industries other than finance and law happens to be one of them. It is not only being used to store client’s issues, it has the potential to become a fundamental way of how the legal practice of the 21st century operates.

The most premium resource that the topmost employment and labor professionals in the country rely on is Daily Labor Report® which give an analytical and authoritative coverage of top employment and labor news. According to Bloomberg, one of the partners in K&L Gates law firm which is based in London and New York, Judith Rinearson notes that you don’t need to be issuing tokens or doing initial offerings for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin so that you can benefit from blockchain technology. Judith is leading her firm in an initiative whose main focus is to eventually have an internal blockchain which could offer utility in handling acquisition and merger transactions, filing deeds and time-keeping.

Blockchain technology allows the user to maintain a digital ledger which is shared by everyone who is connected to that same network. There are a number of blockchain technologies that are currently available in the market with the Ethereum blockchain having a feature known as a smart contract. This feature allows coded programs to act on a certain task upon triggers that have been pre-defined. The blockchain is increasingly becoming useful in the building of infrastructure and tools that assist attorneys draft contracts, do verification of legal documents and record any commercial transactions that may have taken place in the law firm. There are two examples of such infrastructure and tools namely Integra ledger and OpenLaw.

OpenLaw enables attorneys to automate the generation of legal documents and agreements and attack smart contracts that are executable through the blockchain technology. Integral Ledger offers a permission blockchain technology to add more integrity to legal documents. Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly reduce the time taken by lawyers to perform a routine task. It also frees them up to assign more time on other insights in the legal practice. The interest by the law profession in blockchain technology grew exponentially in 2017.

Disgraced Subway Spokesperson Claims Judge Bias

If federal prosecutors have their way, Jared Fogle isn’t going to be eating Subway sandwiches anytime soon. The disgraced former Subway Spokesperson is serving a 16-year prison sentence. He says that the sentence is unfair because the judge had a bias at his sentencing. Fogle says that his sentence is invalid and the court should let him out of prison.

Fogle says that the judge couldn’t have been fair and impartial in her decision. He says that the judge couldn’t have decided the case fairly because she has teenage daughters. However, the judge had only one daughter who is over the age of adult majority.

Fogle spends his days in a federal prison in Colorado. He began serving his 16-year sentence in 2015. He pleaded guilty to possessing or distributing child pornography. He also faced charges of traveling to another state in order to accost a minor for sexual purposes in exchange for a fee. In exchange for Fogle’s guilty plea, the federal prosecutor agreed with Fogle and his defense team on a recommended sentence. The judge exceeded that recommendation.

Today, Fogle doesn’t have any expensive lawyers or a deal as a Subway spokesperson. He represents himself. He says that because his case involved teenage girls, a judge with teenage girls couldn’t possibly have been fair and impartial. Fogle says that the judge should have recused herself from the proceedings. However, the judge had only one daughter and the daughter was an adult when the judge heard Fogle’s case.

The most recent filing isn’t the first time that Fogle has tried to appeal his case. In 2016, he tried an appeal with the help of an attorney. His attorney at the time said that Fogle only thought about wanting to commit a crime and that he didn’t actually commit any conspiracy to commit a crime.

U.S. prosecutors say that’s untrue. They say that Fogle repeatedly sought out teenage girls for immoral purposes and sexual assault. However, Fogle’s legal team for the appeal said that Fogle was unfairly punished for things he wanted to do or thought about doing instead of just the things that he actually did. If the conviction stands, Fogle can’t see the light of day until he serves 85 percent of his sentence or more. When he gets out, he’ll be more than 50 years old. There’s no word if Fogle is eating fresh in federal prison.

Trumps’ Answer To The Victims Of The Parkland Shootin

With the recent mass-shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump made a comment suggesting a connection between the shooting, the FBI and the Russian Investigation. The FBI had dropped the ball which was focusing on the recent Russian hoax. A student from the high school where the shooting happened read some notes from the back of your AP government assignment stating that all of these people should be back in their homes grieving. Instead they are here together to stand up against the government about the need for changes.

The student also had a specific message for the president himself. She said that even if he came up and gave her sympathy in person for the shooting, she would accept but still ask him to answer for how much money he has received from the National Rifle Association. According to a report out of the Center for Responsive Politics, there is no other politician who benefited from the 2016 election spending from the NRA as Trump did. They had spent more than $30 million to support his candidacy. This was more than all other combined spending for other presidential candidates in both the 2008 and 2012 campaign elections. These conclusions also included the 145 House races and the 45 Senate races during this time period.

This week, President Trump is going to host a teacher and student listening session. According to representatives from the White House, there is no official list yet about which teachers or students will be attending this session. It was also recently announced that President Trump will be meeting with local and state officials about school safety later in the week.

While all of the gun tragedies in schools are unfathomable, they may have a positive outcome in the end for future students. They are all starting to highlight the passion, intellect and drive for changes by groups of motivated and informed high school students, especially those affected by and attending Stoneman Douglas High School.

The students from the high school are organizing a march next month. In a recent interview with some of the students, they are hoping to use political action and protests to make the mass shooting at their school a turning point for discussion in the national debate going on currently about gun control. Many people feel that now is not the time to be discussing gun control while families are grieving. They respect that and will be hoping that schools and students across the nation will be marching together next month in hopes of protesting for their lives and changes.

Judge Wants the Supreme Court to Reverse Her Sentence

What happens when a judge regrets their decision? The U.S. Supreme Court might get a chance to answer that question if they accept the appeal of Bobby Bostic. Bostic is serving 214 years in prison for felony convictions relating to a robbery he committed at age 16.

Judge Evelyn Baker of Missouri heard the case. Baker sentenced Bostic to serve 241 years in prison. Baker said that at the time, she believed that she was doing the right thing. She says now she has regret for giving someone that young a life sentence. She says she hopes the Supreme Court accepts the case and reverses the decision.

Baker says that at the time of the sentencing, she confidently told the teen that he would die in prison. She told Bostic that he made the choice to break the law. She said the life sentence was the fair result of his choice.

Bostic was convicted of armed robbery. He and a friend robbed a group of people. The group was out delivering Christmas presents. There were shots fired during the robbery. Judge Baker said that the defendant wasn’t remorseful. In fact, she called him a fool.

Now, Baker says that she realizes her sentence was inappropriate. She says that doctors have learned a lot about brain science since the time of Bostic’s sentence. She says that she thought that Bostic was a lost cause. However, since the sentencing, she says that she has come to understand that young people are still growing, learning and changing. Baker says that a teenager can’t fully appreciate their actions and the consequences of their actions.

Rehabilitation is possible for teenagers like Bostic, Baker says. Baker says that it’s unfair to hold a teenager to adult consequences because teenagers can’t fully appreciate the consequences of their choices especially when a life sentence is on the line. She says rehabilitation should be a possibility because young people are able to learn from their actions and reform their behavior.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed life sentences for juveniles who aren’t convicted of murder, the decision may not help Bostic. Judge Baker didn’t give Bostic a life sentence. Instead, Baker gave the teen 214 years. Even though the effect is essentially a life sentence, the case may still not qualify for reversal because it isn’t classified as a life sentence. Bostic and Baker both hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case and rule in Bostic’s favor.

EPA Reaches Settlement With Amazon.com on Illegal Pesticide Distribution

Marking a victory in the efforts to safeguard online consumers from the hazards of toxic pesticide compounds illegally distributed by overseas merchants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement agreement with eCommerce giant Amazon.com earlier this week.

Initially released details of the Consent Agreement and Final Order allowed Amazon to avoid stipulating to any admission or denial of wrongdoing in connection with the nearly 4000 violations of Section 3 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act that the firm was accused of.

The allegations resulted from unregistered pest control products that were sold and distributed through Amazon.com’s online marketplace.

As part of their agreement with the EPA, Amazon was ordered to pay $1.2 million in penalty assessments and to implement a mandatory compliance program that includes an online education course that all sellers engaged in pesticide products will be required to pass before being allowed to sell those products on the eCommerce site.

The course’s downloadable education materials will be available in Chinese, English and Spanish.

Spokesperson for the EPA, enforcement officer Ed Kowalski stated that Amazon.com was directly engaging in commerce transactions, storing and warehousing and preparing shipments of the illegal substances.

Following the enforcement action by the EPA, Amazon removed all the products from its website and banned international sellers from distributing the pesticides through its marketplace. The company also stated that it had increased its monitoring efforts.

Customers who purchased the chemicals were asked to dispose of the products by Amazon, who also agreed to reimburse the buyers for the amounts of those purchases.

To date Amazon has agreed only that third party sellers sold the products through its marketplace.

However, the EPA’s complaint lists several unregistered pest control compounds that Amazon distributed and held for distribution, shipped and held for shipment between 2013 and 2016 including “Miraculous Insecticide Chalk,” “R.B.T.Z. Safe Highly Effective Roach Killer Bait Powder Indoor” and “Refill for ARS Electric Mosquito Killer Convenient, Clean & Smokeless.”

In their enforcement action documentation the EPA noted that Amazon.com had engaged in these practices on multiple occasions.

During July, 2017, in a related announcement, the EPA stated that it would be increasing its focus on hazardous chemical waste sites as part of the administration’s high priority monitoring and management of citizens’ exposure to toxic substances.

Government Immigration Attorney Steals IDs

Even though federal immigration attorneys are supposed to protect the public by providing honest, ethical representation, one U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement attorney decided to abuse his position and steal the identities of the immigrants whose information came through the office. Raphael Sanchez was the chief counsel for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Seattle. Now, he’s set for sentencing in a federal court after pleading guilty to using his position to steal the identities of people filing immigration paperwork in his office.

Sanchez entered a guilty plea to aggravated identity theft. He also admitted to committing wire fraud. A judge in the U.S. Western Washington federal court accepted the guilty plea. The case now moves to a sentencing hearing in May that will decide Sanchez’ fate.

According to Washington Post, as part of the plea, Sanchez worked out a sentence recommendation with federal prosecutors. They say both sides agree that four years in federal prison is fair. There’s no word on whether the judge will honor the sentencing agreement.

As ICE’s leading man in the Seattle office, Sanchez oversaw cases in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. With that power, he chose to steal the identities of eight different people. Using the identities, he took out loans that totaled $190,000. Sanchez allegedly found his victims by using the ICE database.

Once he had a victim in mind, he used their information to make a fake driver’s license and fake utility bills. For a photo, he used his own picture. If he stole the identity of a woman, he used a photo of a murder victim.

Once he had the paperwork, he took out credit cards and loans using the false identities. Some of the victims were in deportation proceedings and weren’t even in the United States to know that they were being scammed. Authorities say that was part of Sanchez’ plan to avoid discovery. Authorities also say they found 20 more identities ready to go in Sanchez’ home.

It isn’t the first time that a Seattle ICE attorney has abused their position. In 2016, another official forged a document in order make an immigrant ineligible to stay in the United States. Officials noticed the fraud because the officer forged a document with a date that was earlier than when the form even existed for use. The offending offer served time in prison for the offense. Officials decided to grant the victim a green card.


Grandmother Attacks Policing and Prosecution for Profit

Ramona Morales is a 79-year-old woman who bought a total of six dilapidated homes in Indio and Coachella, CA. All of the homes were renovated by her and her family with sweat equity, and then they were rented out. Her intention was to leave something for her children and grandchildren.

Prosecution Fees
At one of the Morales properties in Indio, a city code inspector noticed some chickens inside of a small coop in the home’s back yard. That violated a local ordinance, and Morales was warned accordingly. She told her tenant to get rid of the chickens, paid $150 in fines and went about her life. The tenant failed to get rid of the chickens, and Morales was prosecuted in the criminal courts. According to the Desert Sun, Indio and the law firm of Silver & Wright, its prosecutors, now want nearly $6,000 in prosecution fees from Morales. She isn’t the only one that the Indio and Coachella has sought prosecution fees from. A Desert Sun investigation revealed that the two cities have billed other similarly situated individuals $122,000 of prosecution fees.

She Sued Them
Morales is fighting back. California courts have already ruled that it’s against the law for prosecutors to have a financial interest in cases that they might pursue. The Institute for Justice represents Morales. As opposed to Indio, Coachella and Silver & Wright, it’s a not-for-profit public interest law firm that confronts government entities that police for profit. Morales has now filed a class action lawsuit against Indio and Silver & Wright. At this point in time, she’s the only plaintiff, but other individuals are expected to join.

The Institute of Justice is trying to stop enforcement for profit and obtain the return of the fines paid by Morales and others. The Desert Sun reports that in other cases “the disparity between the severity of the crime and the cost of the bill is even more staggering than what happened to Morales.” Ramona Morales is now a convicted criminal.

Florida Immigration Arrests Increase Drastically

Immigration arrests have increased faster in Florida over the past year than any other state in the country. On that basis, more than 12 immigration advocacy activist groups have advised travelers to Florida to think carefully about trips to the state. They have been told to be ready to be questioned by immigration authorities at Florida travel hubs.

The Chilling Florida Effect
The Associated Press reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has teamed up with the sheriffs of 17 Florida counties in preparation for the spring break season that begins in March when millions of travelers will be arriving in the state. As per ICE, arrests increased from about 3,500 to about 6,200 in Florida during the agency’s last fiscal year. That’s a 76 percent increase. Advocacy groups say that the teaming of federal and county law enforcement agencies coupled with the spike in arrests of undocumented individuals have chilled the desire of undocumented immigrants to travel to Florida.

Related Texas Legislation
Federal legislators are requiring an examination of detentions and arrests within 100 miles of United States borders and coastlines. In the last week, immigration activist groups have held demonstrations at Florida bus stations where a minimum of two arrests were caught on camera. In Texas, where new legislation banned sanctuary cities, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cautioned travelers of the new law. Texas law enforcement officers are now authorized by statute to inquire into an individual’s immigration status during routine detentions.

In January of 2018, Florida released information on what it labeled a nationwide model that allows law enforcement agencies to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for unrelated offenses. This policy was objected to by both the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. A representative of the Florida Immigration Coalition remarked that with Florida and ICE teaming together, immigrant communities are not safe in the state.

Alimony Tax Laws Set to Change

The 2018 tax cut changes the way that U.S. tax law treats alimony. Payers can no longer deduct alimony payments from their taxable income. Recipients no longer have to claim it as income. The net result is that alimony payments will be taxed at the higher level of the payer instead of at the lower level of the recipient.

Women’s advocacy groups are upset about the change. They say that it’s going to make men run to the courthouse to get divorced before the law goes into effect. They say that men aren’t going to want to pay alimony if they have to pay tax on it.

People who support the new bill say that it’s all going to even out. They say that alimony awards will be a little bit smaller to account for the change in taxation. However, they say that the end result will be the same. They say that most people aren’t thinking about an alimony tax payment when they make the decision of whether or not to file for divorce.

Lawmakers say that the change is part of an overall effort to simplify the tax code. They say that most people receive a tax cut when you consider all of the rules taken together. Opponents of the law say that it isn’t true and that promises of real tax cuts are just smoke and mirrors.

Even though the tax law change impacts alimony payers and recipients worldwide, it doesn’t change how state courts determine alimony payments. Each state sets its own rules for determining alimony payments. The amounts can vary wildly by state.

For example, in Texas, alimony is for a shorter duration and typically paid in lesser amounts than in other states. Alimony is seen as a way to quickly rehabilitate the recipient in order to become financially self-sufficient. However, in other states, alimony is seen as a way to make the recipient financially whole for what they might have made if they hadn’t entered into the marriage. In states like Michigan, the court can order alimony indefinitely if the judge feels that’s what justice requires.

States like North Carolina take spousal misconduct into account. If you want to receive alimony but you cheat on your spouse, the judge typically can’t award you anything. On the other hand, if you’re the higher earner and you’re the one who cheats, a judge in North Carolina must order you to pay alimony. Each state makes up their own rules, but the federal tax implications are uniform throughout the United States.