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News stories tagged with "law"

The St. Lawrence County Courthouse, built in 1893. Photo: Mark Kurtz
The St. Lawrence County Courthouse, built in 1893. Photo: Mark Kurtz

St. Lawrence County DA disputes call for special prosecutor

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain says she'll defend what she calls her obligation to conduct a grand jury probe into use of county money.

Her comments come after a state judge appeared to put the probe on hold while he determines whether a special prosecutor should replace her.  Go to full article
District attorney Mary Rain (right) during her campaign last summer. Photo: David Sommerstein.
District attorney Mary Rain (right) during her campaign last summer. Photo: David Sommerstein.

St. Lawrence DA asks county judge to disqualify himself

There were more legal twists involving St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain's probe into two county spending issues Monday.

At the start of court in Canton, Rain asked county court Judge Jerome Richards to step down from all cases involving her office. Rain argued Richards couldn't be "detached and neutral".  Go to full article
The St. Lawrence County courthouse and legislative building.
The St. Lawrence County courthouse and legislative building.

High-level legal feud escalates in St. Lawrence County

A legal feud between two prominent St. Lawrence County officials continues to escalate.

Days after being served a subpoena to deliver 10 years of financial records to a grand jury, county Administrator Karen St. Hilaire asked a stay of any grand jury action.

And she filed complaints with the state Attorney General's office against District Attorney Mary Rain.  Go to full article
St. Regis Mohawk chiefs Ron LaFrance, Beverly Cook, and sub-chief Eric Thompson are hoping to build support for the land claim settlement among tribal members. Photo: David Sommerstein.
St. Regis Mohawk chiefs Ron LaFrance, Beverly Cook, and sub-chief Eric Thompson are hoping to build support for the land claim settlement among tribal members. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Mohawk chiefs: "The most important thing is our land"

Mohawks in Akwesasne are trying to absorb the terms of a deal to end their historic land claim.

Last week, tribal chiefs signed a framework agreement with New York State and St. Lawrence County. It would allow the Mohawks to buy almost 5,000 acres of land and add the parcels to the reservation. In return, the Mohawks will pay a share of their casino revenue to New York. And St. Lawrence County and the towns of Massena and Brasher will share a payment of $4 million a year.

Talks are ongoing with Franklin County, where several thousand more acres are part of the 32-year-old land claim lawsuit.

The proposed settlement is huge news in Akwesasne. And it's very controversial. David Sommerstein and Martha Foley sort out why.  Go to full article
The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy c. 1720. Graphic: <a href=" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iroquois_6_Nations_map_c1720.png">Nonenmacher</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy c. 1720. Graphic: Nonenmacher, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Onondaga land claim will go to OAS human rights commission

The Onondaga Indian Nation has brought its decade old land claim case to an international human rights commission.

A lawsuit first filed in 2005 argues land was illegally taken from the Onondagas in the 18th and 19th centuries. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in October.  Go to full article
Five Omar Mualimm-ak, speaking at St. Lawrence University earlier this month. Photo: Tzintzun Aguilar
Five Omar Mualimm-ak, speaking at St. Lawrence University earlier this month. Photo: Tzintzun Aguilar

Five Mualimm-ak: A voice out of solitary confinement

Last month, the state of New York made sweeping changes to its use of solitary confinement. The new policy, signed by a federal judge, prohibits anyone under the age of 18, women who are pregnant, and people with severe mental illness, from being locked away in solitary.

Five Mualimm-ak helped write the new protocol. He's a prison reform activist. Mualimm-ak spent five years of his life in solitary confinement, out of 12 years he served inside New York prisons on charges that were later overturned. He was in Canton last week for talks and events at St. Lawrence University, and sat down with Martha Foley.  Go to full article
Rotunda, NYS Court of Appeals. Photo: NYS
Rotunda, NYS Court of Appeals. Photo: NYS

NY top judge backs clearing some criminal records

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's top jurist wants to clear old misdemeanors from court records of people who don't get re-arrested for seven years and various non-violent felonies for people who stay out of trouble for a decade.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman says research shows the risk of committing new offenses drops steadily with time, and individuals after 10 years without trouble are no more likely than anyone else to get arrested.  Go to full article

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Democrat Nicole Duvé (left) faces a challenge from Republican Mary Rain for St. Lawrence County district attorney. Photos: David Sommerstein
Democrat Nicole Duv (left) faces a challenge from Republican Mary Rain for St. Lawrence County district attorney. Photos: David Sommerstein

Accusations, but little information, in St. Lawrence DA race

The district attorney race has dominated the election season in St. Lawrence County. Incumbent Democrat Nicole Duv has run a low-key - you could say, lawyerly - campaign for a third term. Republican challenger Mary Rain, on the other hand, has aggressively attacked Duv's record and credibility, while calling for change.

Both women have their vulnerabilities. Duv failed to get convictions on two high profile murders. Rain left her job as the county public defender under mysterious circumstances two years ago.

David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

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