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Month: April 2015

Fed Agency Slaps Debt Collector Hired by Prosecutors

Fed Agency Slaps Debt Collector Hired by Prosecutors

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently settled a lawsuit it filed against National Corrective Group (NCG), a debt collection agency that was working under contract for various district attorneys’ offices in California, Maryland, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.  The settlement put a stop to the abusive practices NCG was using against people in bad check writing diversion programs. What??? Why Are District Attorney Offices Hiring Debt Collectors? In many states, if you are charged with writing…

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SCOTUS: A Tracking Device Makes for a Search

SCOTUS: A Tracking Device Makes for a Search

At the tail end of March, the Supreme Court of the United States provided a little refresher on the relationship between modern technology and search-and-seizure law. In the case in question, the Court decided whether imposing a physical monitoring system on someone in order to collect data is a “search.” The case, Grady v. North Carolina, involved a man (Grady) who had been convicted of sexual offenses in 1997 and 2006. After completing the sentence for the second offense, the…

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One Person’s Junk Is Another’s Castle, in Ogden Utah

One Person’s Junk Is Another’s Castle, in Ogden Utah

Aw, c’mon, are the city authorities really tearing down a kids’ cardboard fort in Ogden, Utah? It would appear so. According to news reports, Ogden City Code Enforcement ordered Jeremy and Dee Trentelman, parents, to remove the huge play castle that they’d put together for their two toddlers in their front yard. It’s an impressive structure, built mostly of boxes, and containing a slide, trap door, tunnel, windows, and of course endless room for imagination. But the city is calling it “waste materials or junk,” and will penalize the…

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KOSKINEN LAMENTS STATE OF THE IRS

KOSKINEN LAMENTS STATE OF THE IRS

Some highlights from Commissioner Koskinen’s recent speech to the National Press Club: -IRS “absolutely deserved” the criticism is has been receiving for things like overspending at conferences and inappropriate scrutiny of some applications for tax exempt status. -IRS suffers from “brain drain,” in that more than half of its workforce is over 50, and by next year more than 25% will be eligible to retire, and there just isn’t enough money available for hiring and training of enough younger replacements….

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California DNA Collection: Back in Effect

California DNA Collection: Back in Effect

In December of last year, a California appeals court seemingly broke from U.S. Supreme Court precedent. (See California Court: Police Can’t Take DNA From Arrestees.) To oversimplify: SCOTUS upheld a Maryland law calling for authorities to collect DNA from people arrested for “serious” offenses, after which the California court struck down a similar law. (Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1958 (2013); People v. Buza, 231 Cal. App. 4th 1446 (2014).) The California decision was notable: It showed how state…

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