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NHTSA Funding Cuts Could Impact Traffic Safety in Surprise

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Funding for essential traffic safety campaigns in Surprise, Arizona including those that are linked to intoxicated driving is likely to be hampered, after the U.S. House approved slashed funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s state highway safety projects.

The new bill which will fund the government’s operations right through September 30 will cut almost $50 million from highway safety grants made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Those grants are used for funding a number of campaigns and initiatives across several states, including Arizona. These initiatives are aimed at reducing the number of motorcycle accidents, helping reduce the number of lives lost in these accidents, and reducing intoxicated and distracted driving on our roads.

Teen drivers in Surprise may be especially affected by the funding cuts, because the highway safety grants are very often used for improvements in graduated driver licensing laws. Much of the money is also used for enforcing seat belt laws across Arizona. The agency’s grants for such campaigns are likely to be cut by 9% percent to end at just over $500 million.

There couldn’t have been a worse time for the federal administration to consider slashing funds for highway safety. The federal administration recently confirmed that preliminary statistics indicated an increase in traffic accident fatalities in 2012. Surprise car accident attorneys therefore believe strongly that funding must be continued in order to help reverse the trend, and save more lives every year.

It's unfortunate that highway safety concerns are being compromised by budget issues. Surprise car accident lawyers believe that this is the wrong time to cut funding for essential highway safety and traffic safety campaigns.

Legislation to Create Safety Valve for Federal Minimum Sentences

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last month, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat-Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Rand Paul Republican-Kentucky, introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that is aimed at creating a safety valve for federal mandatory minimum sentencing.

The Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 would amend existing codes to add a new subsection that would create a safety valve for federal mandatory sentences. Under the bill, judges would be given the authority to sentence offenders to below the minimum federal sentencing standards, if they believe that the sentence does not fulfill the guidelines, or meet the punishment goals that are defined in 18 USC 3553 (a)

According to the lawmakers, the point of creating a safety valve like this is not to help people avoid prison time for drug crimes. Rather the point is to make sure that they do not get more prison time than is necessary. This is a fairly common situation that San Jose criminal defense attorneys come across, and very often, people who have been convicted of minor drug crimes may be sentenced to several years in prison under federal law.

According to the lawmakers, the legislation provides a certain amount of flexibility to the courts to punish wrongdoers, but not beyond the extent that they are eligible for. Under this law, courts would have the power to sentence certain drug offenders to lower than the minimum punishment if they feel that the sentence is simply excessive, too lengthy, unfair or unreasonable.

Ultimately, the goal of the legislation is to ensure that few people are sentenced to prison for lengthy prison terms for fairly low-level drug crimes, ultimately freeing up space in our overcrowded prisons.

Billionaire’s Wife Gets Second Shot at Divorce Lawsuit

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Multi-billionaire Steve Cohen’s ex-wife is likely to get her day in court, after a court ruled that her lawsuit against her hedge fund founder ex-husband, can be reinstated.

Back in 2011, a Manhattan court had dismissed Patricia Cohen’s lawsuit which alleged that her ex-husband concealed some assets during his divorce from her in 1990. During dismissal, the court ruled that many of these allegations were old and unsubstantiated, and therefore, the lawsuit could not go forward, especially because the lawsuit came 20 years after the divorce. At the time of the divorce, Cohen was well on his way to becoming one of the richest men in the country.

Back in 2009, her lawsuit alleged that Cohen had concealed assets worth more than $5 million during the divorce proceedings. The lawsuit also claimed that the hedge fund that Cohen operated was a racketeering scheme that was based on insider trading, and a number of other illegal practices.

However, now the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it has no basis to dismiss Mrs. Cohen’s lawsuit as being untimely, because she came across evidence that revealed that her ex had concealed assets in 2008, years after the divorce was finalized.

At the time of the couple's divorce in 1990, Cohen had already become a highly successful Wall Street trader, and in just a couple of years had launched his company, SAC Capital with $25 million in assets. The company has increased several times in value to become one of the most successful names on Wall Street.

San Jose divorce lawyers believe that this reinstatement of his ex-wife’s lawsuit is likely to be another major legal headache for Steve Cohen, who is currently dealing with plenty of unwanted legal attention on the operations of his hedge fund.

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