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News: Law
Photo courtesy of Limits

Housing Court Goes on Trial

Advocates who fault the court's facilities and lack of right to counsel found it guilty on all counts in a hearing at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Brooklyn Bureau: NYPD Towers May Defuse Cop, Community Friction

Some Brooklynites who live and work near the borough’s two police watchtowers say the observation posts are affecting more than the incidence of crime.

The Enforcement Of New York's Prison Sex Law

DOCS says that misunderstandings about pat-frisks might explain some of the sexual misconduct allegations its inmates have made against guards. Some evidence suggests, however, that the problems in New York’s female prisons are deeper than that.

Immigrant's Choice: Family Separation Or Child Mutilation

Some deportees must choose whether to leave their citizen children behind or bring them back to the ancestral land. That choice is even harder when genital mutilation is a threat.

AIDS Activists Threaten Lawsuit Against City

The activists say the mayor's proposed $4.2 million reduction of HASA's budget would force the agency to cut caseworkers to an illegal level.

Billboard Owner Censors Marijuana Reform Ad

The ad would have cited the hypocrisy of arresting users when nearly half of all New Yorkers, including Bloomberg, have tried the drug.

Secrecy Shrouds NYPD's Anti-Terror Camera System

In documents describing the multimillion-dollar Ring of Steel surveillance network, the redactions are as revealing.

Mentally Ill On Hold After Ruling

The state's appeal of a federal court decision on housing for the mentally ill has residents and advocates in limbo.

Latinos in NYC Embrace Census

Rather than play a high-stakes game around the U.S. Census in March, immigration activists in New York are poised to play a crucial role in the federal debate on immigration law reform.

The Forty Years War

The 'war on drugs' continues as ever, though you might not hear much about it anymore. The new issue of CLI looks at its advances and setbacks -- and who's caught in the conflict today.

Soldiers, Prisoners, Casualties—A Drug War's Characters

Just because the drug trade and the law enforcement crusade against it aren't as obvious as they were in the past doesn't mean drugs and the war against them have disappeared from New York.

Heroin: From the Civil War to the 70s, and Beyond

The heroin story of the 1990s was ignored, by and large, until it became so popular that some among the white celebrity set developed addictions that subsequently received a good deal of publicity.

Cocaine: A Club Drug Becomes Enemy No. 1

Sometime in 1975, Colombian drug dealers, who were already well established in the world's marijuana market with their high-grade Colombian Gold, wrested control of the cocaine importation business from Cuban crime organizations operating in Florida and New York.

A Cop's Death Accelerates the City's War on Crack

On Feb. 26, 1988, members of a drug gang murdered a 22-year-old rookie police of?cer named Edward Byrne, who was sitting guard in a patrol car outside the home of a witness who had been threatened by the dealers' boys. After that, things were different.

Today's Drug War: Marijuana and Mass Arrests

Despite the extraordinarily low crime levels and the near total absence of drugs from the city's public discourse these days, nearly a quarter of a million people in New York City have been arrested for drugs over the past two years.

In the Drug War, a Stalemate?

City Limits estimates that the yearly cost to government for investigation, contraband seizures, arrests, judicial processing, incarceration, parole hearings and probation services for all those arrested in drug cases in New York City could run somewhere between $825 million and $1.7 billion.

New York City's laws and regulations are adjudicated and interpreted by a large legal infrastructure that consists of private law firms, district attorneys, the New York Police Department, and a system of courts within the city's parameters.

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Doubts on Hate-Crime Laws Amid Rash of Anti-Gay Crimes - Jarrett Murphy

Some suspect the current bias-crime statutes aren't strong enough to deter or punish violent bigots. Others wonder if extra jail time is the best way to change mindsets.

Harlem: Will Booze Ban Boost Barbers? - Charu Sudan Kasturi

A new state law prohibits the sale of Nutcracker in hair salons and barbershops. But many hair cutters back the ban, saying the measure will snip away at a stigma.

Opponents Of Over-Policing Target 'Vague Laws' - Leah Robinson

When you bump someone on the subway, is it a mistake or a misdemeanor? One advocacy group wants New York State to clarify vague laws that it says grant police too much power.

DSK Case Is Unusual, But Scrutiny Of Accuser Is Not - Gena Mangiaratti

Advocates for sexual assault victims say the high-profile turmoil in the Dominque Strauss-Kahn case reflects some of the obstacles that come up in less-heralded cases.



Aiming Low

The pattern of narcotics arrests in New York City has shifted dramatically since 1980, with the number of misdemeanor arrests swamping those for more serious, felony crimes. (From City Limits' summer 2009 investigation of the drug war in New York City).

Are the Kids All Doing It?

Recent city youth surveys show a slight dip in pot use and indicate that other drugs are substantially less popular. The 2007 survey revealed that white youths are more likely to use drugs than kids of other races or ethnicities, and that a greater percentage of Staten Island kids use drugs than in the other boroughs. (From City Limits' summer 2009 investigation of the drug war in New York City).