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Colorado Court Affirms Use of Evidence Generated by STRmix


A Colorado court has denied a defendant’s motion to exclude expert testimony regarding DNA evidence produced by STRmix™ — sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret.

The DNA evidence generated by STRmix™ indicated “very strong support” for the prosecution’s contention that DNA from the defendant, Trinidad Nunez, was present on a handgun linked to distribution of methamphetamine. Both the handgun and the illegal narcotics were found during a motor vehicle search following a traffic violation.

Relying on the standards for determining admissibility of expert testimony established in People v. Shreck (22 P.3d 68 Colo. 2001), Colorado’s District Court of Weld County ruled in Colorado v. Nunez (Case No. 18CR 515, Div: 11) that “STRmix™ has been sufficiently tested and found reliable; It has been subjected to significant peer review and publication; And the potential rate of error … are reasonably reliable.”

The court continued, “Suffice it to say, STRmix™ is generally accepted in the field of DNA and there exists the specialized literature dealing with the technique to determine NOC [the number of contributors] from multiple experts in the field of forensic science.” Moreover, “Colorado and other states have determined that probabilistic genotyping software, including STRmix™, is reliable and admissible.”

Since its introduction in 2012, STRmix™ has been used to interpret DNA evidence in more than 120,000 cases around the world. It has also been used successfully in numerous U.S. court cases, including 35 successful admissibility hearings.

STRmix™ is currently being used by forensic labs at 55 U.S. agencies – including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – and is in various stages of installation, validation, and training in more than 60 other U.S. organizations.

John Buckleton, DSc, FRSNZ, one of the developers of STRmix™, points out that forensic labs increasingly are turning to STRmix™ “because it greatly improves the usability of DNA to produce evidence in a wide range of criminal cases. Organizations using STRmix™ are reporting an increase of interpretable DNA in gun cases from about 40% to more than 70%.”

According to Buckleton, STRmix™ is also proving to be highly effective in delivering a significantly higher rate of interpretable results in sexual assault cases.”

A new version of STRmix™, STRmix™ v2.7, was introduced late last year. STRmix™ v2.7 includes several new features in response to improvements recommended by forensic labs to better address the on-the-job needs they regularly encounter.

DBLR™, an application used with STRmix™, was also introduced last year. DBLR™ allows users to undertake superfast database searches, visualize the value of their DNA mixture evidence, and carry out mixture to mixture matches.

For more information about STRmix™ visit http://www.strmix.com.

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Massachusetts Legislation Filed to Speed Up Front-Line Health Workers’ Access to Workers’ Compensation Benefits


State Representative Christopher Hendricks

State Representative Christopher Hendricks

This bill is critical to those who are battling on the front lines every day to save lives

State Representative Christopher Hendricks (D-MA) has introduced an emergency bill in the state house which will provide extended workers’ compensation benefits to specific emergency personnel. The bill would enable those on the front lines; EMT’s and emergency room staff, to be quickly approved for benefits if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.

With workers’ compensation, there is typically a due diligence process before benefits are approved. This bill will expedite that process so our front-line health workers can quickly remove themselves from spreading the virus without worrying about loss of income. The bill was filed on 3/17/2020.

Representative Hendricks added “This bill is critical to those who are battling on the front lines every day to save lives and will have an immediate impact on the greater public health.”

What About Non-Emergency Personnel?

If any employee contracts the virus for any work-related reason, he or she could possibly be eligible for workers’ compensation. This will depend on where the employee works/what their position entails. If the employee is a first responder or health care worker, then it is likely yes that he or she may be eligible for workers compensation. For other workers, a worker’s compensation claim is feasible, but there would have to be several facts to support the claim.

Workers’ compensation claimants need to prove that the contraction of the virus took place at work and was caused by working at the location of the employer. Although COVID-19 is not an injury, it falls under current state law as an “occupational disease.” For it to be approved as an occupational disease, an employee must prove the following:

1. The illness/disease derived from the workplace

2. The illness or disease must arise out of or be caused by conditions unusual to the work and creates a threat of contracting the disease in a greater degree and in a contrasting manner than in the public generally.

Hourly Employees

Two Massachusetts representatives have also filed a bill to help create a new fund to aid hourly wage employees who may have to miss work due to contracting the COVID-19 illness.

State Employees

Senator Paul Feeney filed a bill to guarantee any state employee who must miss work because of coronavirus infection, has been ordered by a healthcare professional to quarantine, and does not possess enough leave to cover their absence be given the leave necessary. The employee will also be compensated for the time they are out of work due to the virus. As of now, these bills have not yet been approved.

Employees Eligible to take FMLA leave

The following workers are entitled to take FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer and:

  • Have worked for this employer for the last 12 months (at least)
  • Have completed at least 1,250 hours of work over the last 12 months; and
  • Work at a place where at least 50 workers are employed by the same employer within 75 miles

The FMLA will not cover you if you leave work solely to avoid exposure to the virus.

The team at Keches Law Group continues to work hard to bring all our clients up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and actions you can take if you’ve been impacted. Please continue to check our website for updates. For any further questions please contact Keches Law Group at 508-822-2000.

About Representative Chris Hendricks and Keches Law Group

Christoper Hendricks is an attorney at Keches Law Group and a State Representative currently serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing Acushnet and New Bedford as the 11th Bristol District. He has been serving since 2018 and is a member of the Democratic Party. Hendricks serves on the House Committee on Redistricting, Joint Committee on Housing, Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. At Keches Law Group, his practice focuses on workers’ compensation claims and labor rights.

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QuantaVerse Supports Financial Institutions Facing Financial Crime Investigator Scarcity Due to COVID-19


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“Having on-demand access to our Alert Investigator solution helps financial institutions fulfill their regulatory requirements in the event a temporary shortage of investigators should arise,” said David McLaughlin, CEO and Founder of QuantaVerse.

QuantaVerse, which uses AI and machine learning to automate financial crime investigation processes, is now offering new adaptations of the QuantaVerse Alert Investigator for financial institutions that may face emergency shortages of financial crime investigators due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Global financial centers like New York and other regions including India that are critical to supporting financial crime prevention efforts are incapacitated by the Coronavirus pandemic, reducing the availability of financial crime investigators. To ensure financial institutions can keep pace with regulated requirements and to keep the world’s financial transactions and trades flowing, applications of QuantaVerse Alert Investigator have been devised that can immediately augment screening and investigation efforts or can be added to disaster preparedness strategies and activated as an investigator contingency effort if a critical shortage develops.    

Officials are anticipating breakdowns in the system at this time. On March 16, FinCEN requested that financial institutions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic contact FinCEN and their functional regulator as soon as practicable if an affected financial institution has concern about any potential delays in its ability to file required Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports.

“Having on-demand access to our Alert Investigator solution offers a number of critical benefits in the event a temporary shortage of investigators should arise,” said David McLaughlin, CEO and Founder of QuantaVerse. “First, it helps institutions fulfill their regulatory requirements under difficult circumstances. Secondly, it ensures processes like sanctions screening do not delay transactions from being processed as slowing the pace of financial systems will only aggravate an already bad situation. Finally, the quality and consistency of results help organizations adjudicate and report money laundering and other financial crimes that often run rampant during global crises.”

By adapting the delivery of QuantaVerse Alert Investigator for the current circumstance, automated investigations of alerts generated by sanctions screening, trade surveillance, or transaction monitoring systems (TMS) can help lessen the impact of the investigator shortage.

Regulated AML/BSA Investigations

QuantaVerse Alert Investigator has been developed to replicate and automate industry best practices when conducting an investigation. Unlike RPA and AI-enabled AML tools that accelerate individual steps within an AML/BSA investigative process, the QuantaVerse end-to-end financial crime platform has been proven to automate more than 80 percent of the investigative effort. QuantaVerse is the only company that has a proven, deployed and third-party validated technology able to deliver a risk-scored and fully documented investigative analysis.

By automating the investigation, the QuantaVerse system can clear false positives and produce a QuantaVerse Financial Crime Report (FCR) for cases that require adjudication. In this way, available investigators can assess more cases each day and expeditiously file suspicious activity reports (SARs) when required. That means a reduced investigative staff can keep pace.

Regulated Trade Surveillance Investigations

In capital markets, broker-dealers and asset management firms must monitor trades to ensure they comply with regulations. Stay-at-home and business shutdown orders in India and other regions, where trade surveillance is commonly managed and work-from-home infrastructure is underdeveloped, has stressed investigative team capacity. Attempts to repatriate these labor-intensive functions are met with the challenge of training temporary workers in a remote setting. Consultants that normally provide skilled human capital are likewise overwhelmed.

Rapid deployment of QuantaVerse’s platform assesses alerts and automatically performs critical stages of trade-related investigations. QuantaVerse’s AI agents can evaluate trader risk characteristics, relationships between traders and related parties, trade typologies (wash sales, matched trades, price manipulation, etc.), and assess the beneficiaries of the alerted trades. The platform’s natural language processing algorithms also evaluate unstructured data held within email, text, or other communications to assess risks.

The Need for Speed

In most cases, an instance of the QuantaVerse Alert Investigator can be established within days. QuantaVerse examines sample files and alerts and maps them to machine readable formats that its platform can review. Once tested, the cloud-based instance can be deployed immediately or stands ready to be activated should an investigative team need support.

For qualified financial institutions, QuantaVerse provides independent third-party model validation documentation and standardized information gathering (SIG) to accelerate vendor due diligence as well as an addendum documenting capability and execution steps for business continuity and disaster recovery plans. For more information about establishing an instance to support your business continuity planning, please visit http://www.QuantaVerse.net/contact.

About QuantaVerse

QuantaVerse is the leader of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions purpose-built for identifying financial crimes. QuantaVerse utilizes its AI Financial Crime Platform to reduce financial crime risk by identifying patterns and discerning anomalies that current approaches and systems regularly miss.  The QuantaVerse solutions have helped customers more efficiently comply with AML (Anti-Money Laundering), KYC (Know Your Customer) and FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) regulations. Most importantly, QuantaVerse is helping to rid organizations of money laundering and other financial crimes that support our greatest global ills – the drug trade, human trafficking, terrorism and political corruption. For more information, contact QuantaVerse at (610) 465-7320 or visit http://www.QuantaVerse.net.

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A Charitable Virtual Conference for Lawyers


Rocket Aid, an Online Conference Fundraiser for Lawyers

Rocket Aid, an Online Conference Fundraiser for Lawyers

People in our society are at risk, with wage and food uncertainty suddenly a critical issue. Rocket Aid hopes to help with these concerns.

Rocket Matter, a leading legal practice management, billing, and payments company, today announced Rocket Aid, a virtual conference for lawyers. This online networking and CLE event will not only help lawyers connect in this time of social distancing, but it will also generate much needed assistance for people most affected economically by the coronavirus.

Sponsors of Rocket Aid include 3545 Consulting, Above the Law, Atticus, Dialpad, and NetDocuments, which are helping with the content, promotion, and execution of the virtual conference.

Rocket Aid will stream live, online on April 16th and 17th, from 10am to 4pm EST each day. The content will cover cutting-edge topics on running an online practice, ways to generate more revenue, and embracing modern tools that will help law firms adapt and thrive in a changing world. In addition to attending educational sessions, participants will have the ability to network during face-to-face virtual “happy hours” and breakout sessions.

“This virus is hitting us all differently—while experts say that most of us will likely escape major sickness, everyone is affected one way or another,” says Larry Port, CEO of Rocket Matter. “In the case of lawyers, we’re beginning to see them lose their jobs as law firms lay people off. Those who are employed can’t go to the office, attend court, get paid, attend CLEs, and even network with one another. Meanwhile other people in our society are also at risk, with wage and food uncertainty suddenly a critical issue. Rocket Aid hopes to help with these concerns.

Rocket Aid will charge a $25 registration fee which will be donated directly to United Way’s COVID-19 Fund, Pro Bono Net, as well as Feeding America, a charity network of more than 200 food banks. Register online here.

Rocket Aid’s content is mostly in place already, but the conference has a call for speakers for panels and additional suggested talks. Planned sessions include the following:

  • Panel: COVID-19 and Law Firm Operations: What are We Learning?
  • Session: Remote Lawyering Overview: The Tools You Need
  • Session: Hidden Gems of Office 365
  • Session: How to Increase Profits and Sanity by Running a Lean Law Firm
  • Session: Saying “Adios” to Billing Headaches and “Hola” to Increased Profitability
  • Session: A 12-Month Plan for Going Paperless
  • Session: Cybersecurity for the Remote Lawyer
  • Panel: COVID-19 Coverage and How to Think About PR
  • Panel: Remote Technology Do’s and Don’ts
  • Panel: Staying Sane While Working Remote
  • Mini-session: An Economic Outlook for Lawyers During and After COVID-19 (non-CLE)
  • Mini-session: Setting Up an Ergonomic Home Office (non-CLE)


Rocket Matter is also looking for speakers for mini 3- and 6-minute sessions on their remote successes as well as lawyers who would like to offer their thoughts on panels. To apply for a speaker position, please apply here.

Links

Main Event Page: http://www.rocketmatter.com/rocketaid

Registration Page: http://www.rocketmatter.com/rocketaid-registration

Call for Speakers: http://www.rocketmatter.com/rocketaid-speakers

About Rocket Matter

Rocket Matter helps law firms offer better client service and also increase revenues by more than 20%. The company was the first cloud-based legal practice management software on the market, landing its first client in 2007. It has been a leader ever since.

Rocket Matter helps law firms transition from their legacy software to the most powerful, easy-to-use time and billing software in the industry. Also, when law firms want to make more money, go paperless, or increase confidence in their trust accounting, Rocket Matter helps them achieve those goals. With award-winning customer service based in the United States, it’s no wonder thousands of law firms swear by Rocket Matter.

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Indiana Court of Appeals Affirms Murder Conviction, Use of DNA Evidence Produced by STRmix


Rejecting defense claims that the trial court erred in admitting DNA evidence produced using STRmix™ — sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret – the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the murder conviction of Keith B. Ivory, Jr. (Ivory v. State of Indiana, Court of Appeals Case No. 18A-CR-2575).

Ivory was convicted in the St. Joseph Superior Court of killing Bethel Smallwood, whom he believed was at least partially responsible for the death of his sister in 2013. STRmix™ testing of a t-shirt and handgun linked to the murder revealed a strong likelihood that the t-shirt and a moderate likelihood that the handgun contained DNA contributed by Ivory.

The Court of Appeals disagreed with the defense’s contention that STRmix™ is relatively new, and its results were of low statistical value which would confuse the jury. In affirming the lower court decision, the Court noted, “The age of a DNA analytical procedure is not, itself, a reason to exclude evidence … [Moreover] there is ample evidence to support a conclusion that the probative value of DNA evidence outweighed any confusion or undue prejudice.”

Since its introduction in 2012, STRmix™ has been used to interpret DNA evidence in more than 120,000 cases around the world. It has also been used successfully in numerous U.S. court cases, including 28 successful admissibility hearings.

STRmix™ is currently being used by forensic labs at 55 U.S. agencies – including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – and is in various stages of installation, validation, and training in more than 60 other U.S. organizations.

According to John Buckleton, DSc, FRSNZ, one of the developers of STRmix™, forensic labs have turned to STRmix™ “because it greatly improves the usability of DNA to produce evidence in a wide range of criminal cases.” He notes that agencies using STRmix™ are reporting an increase of interpretable DNA in gun cases from about 40% to more than 70%. STRmix™ is also proving to be highly effective in delivering a significantly higher rate of interpretable results in sexual assault cases.

A new version of STRmix™, STRmix™ v2.7, was introduced in late 2019. STRmix™ v2.7 includes several new features in response to improvements recommended by forensic labs to better address the on-the-job needs they regularly encounter.

DBLR™, an application used with STRmix™, was also introduced last year. DBLR™ allows users to undertake superfast database searches, visualize the value of their DNA mixture evidence, and carry out mixture to mixture matches.

For more information about STRmix™ visit http://www.strmix.com.

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The Berman Law Group Files Class Action Complaint Against the Chinese Government for Their Alleged Failures to Contain the Coronavirus


The Berman Law Group today announced that it has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the People’s Republic of China, Hubei Province, the City of Wuhan, and several Chinese government ministries, on behalf of residents and businesses in the United States and the State of Florida. The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida, and seeks billions of dollars in compensatory damages for those who have suffered personal injuries, wrongful deaths, property damage and other damages due to China’s failure to contain the COVID-19 virus, despite their ability to have stopped the spread of the virus in its early stages.

“As we have alleged in our complaint, Chinese officials knew by January 3rd that COVID-19 was transmitted human to human and patients started dying a few days later,” said Matthew Moore, the Firm’s class action attorney. “Yet, they kept telling the people of Wuhan and the world at large that everything was fine, even holding a public dinner in Wuhan for over 40,000 families on January 18th.”

“This could have been contained while Chinese officials instead attempted to put a positive narrative on the unfolding epidemic for China’s own economic self-interest,” continued former Florida State Senator Joseph Abruzzo, the firm’s Director of Government Relations. “When you read about the rising death tolls, and see the almost complete halt to normal life and travel, remember that China waited seventeen critical days before sharing the COVID-19 genome sequence with other nations, as the complaint makes clear.”

“This is an ambitious complaint against a world super-power,” said Russell Berman, co-founder of the firm. “But, as we have alleged, China has unleashed a pandemic upon the world, and the harm is now exponentially multiplying every day here in the U.S. and Florida — our firm isn’t afraid to take them on and get the justice that is deserved. It is the Chinese government that should be paying damages for economic stimulus to the United States not the American People.”

“The complaint highlights the fact that the number of cases is growing more out of control each day, and further alleges that the Chinese government knew of the dangers and how easily the virus passed by human to human transmission in early January,” said Jeremy W. Alters, a non-lawyer and Chief Firm Strategist at The Berman Law Group.

The Berman Law Group looks forward to fighting for the rights of people and businesses across Florida and the rest of the country, who are now becoming sick or caring for loved ones, dealing with financial calamity, and navigating this new world of panic and social distancing and isolation. If you have been diagnosed by a medical professional with Coronavirus (COVID-19) or, have been economically impacted by the Coronavirus, contact The Berman Law Group for more information at 1-800-375-5555 or help@thebermanlawgroup.com.

The case, currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is titled: Alters, et al. v. People’s Republic of China, et al., Case No. 1:20-cv-21108.

About the Firm: Established in 2008, The Berman Law Group has expanded to numerous offices in Florida and across the U.S., after quickly garnering a well-deserved reputation as an indefatigable and fearless defender of its clients’ rights. The firm is headquartered in Boca Raton and has four other offices in Florida, as well as offices in New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. For additional information see: https://www.thebermanlawgroup.com/.

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Attorney Audriana T. Anderson Named an Elite Lawyer 2020


Audriana T. Anderson, Wheaton, IL

Audriana T. Anderson

“It is a great honor to be recognized as an Elite Lawyer by my fellow peers in the legal community. I am truly grateful for this award that acknowledges the outstanding work my colleagues and I do on a daily basis to protect our clients’ rights,” Anderson commented.

Attorney Audriana T. Anderson has recently been named an Elite Lawyer. Audriana is the founding member of Anderson Attorneys & Advisors in Wheaton, Ill. With a focus on criminal defense and civil litigation, she has conducted over 250 trials to verdict throughout her accomplished career.

Elite Lawyer is a directory and rating service that awards and recognizes attorneys who have displayed a high level of competence in their practice and received an acknowledgment from their peers, community, bar, and committees. The honor is only given to lawyers who have met or exceeded the criteria of a rigorous, multi-phased selection process.

Audriana puts her extensive trial courtroom experience to work for her clients in the following practice areas: Criminal Defense, Drug Crime, DUI/DWI, Sex Offense, Traffic Ticket, Retail Theft, Burglary, Juvenile Law, Weapon Charges, plus Child Abuse and DCFS Investigations.

During her tenure as an Assistant State’s Attorney for DuPage County, Audriana supervised the Narcotics/Major Crimes Unit and the Juvenile/Child Abuse Unit. As a former prosecutor, she is well-versed in the tactics and techniques used to seek a conviction, which enables her to build aggressive defenses for her clients.

In addition, Audriana has coordinated various multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency investigations at the federal, state, and local levels, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Illinois State Police.

“It is a great honor to be recognized as an Elite Lawyer by my fellow peers in the legal community. I am truly grateful for this award that acknowledges the outstanding work my colleagues and I do on a daily basis to protect our clients’ rights,” Anderson commented.

Along with her Elite Lawyer recognition, Audriana has received many honors, including the Illinois State Police Certificate of Recognition and Felony Prosecutor of the Year, among others. Audriana received her undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and her Juris Doctorate degree from DePaul University College of Law. She was admitted to the Illinois Bar Association in 1999.

About Anderson Attorneys & Advisors

Anderson Attorneys & Advisors are skilled in a variety of practice areas, including: Driving under the influence (DUI); Drug crimes; Theft and burglary; Domestic battery and order of protection violations; Traffic violations; Juvenile crimes; as well as other misdemeanors and felonies.

The firm also handles real estate, business law, and estate planning matters. They can also assist clients who are seeking expungement and record sealing. Anderson Attorneys & Advisors’ estate planning services include wills, trusts, powers of attorney (POA), and advance medical directives.

To learn more, visit https://www.andersonaa.com/ or call 630-877-5800 to schedule a free consultation.

To learn more about Elite Lawyer, visit https://www.elitelawyer.com/

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Rosenfeld Firm Client Avoids 7 Consecutive Life Sentences; All Charges Dismissed in State Court Following Substantial Motions by the Defense


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Ken Rosenfeld, California Criminal Defense Attorney

My client, a businessman we will call M.R.N., intended to engage in what he perceived—and what all parties understood to be—a legal transaction. (M.R.N.) received a fantastic resolution, which did not include torture, mayhem, marijuana, or use of a gun.

An Illinois man who allegedly engaged in a transaction of cannabis that resulted in the kidnapping and torture of six victims, as well as the theft of marijuana and personal items in Calaveras, CA, in June of 2018, has found all charges against him (Case # 18F7351) dismissed by the State of California.

M.R.N., 32, was one of seven suspects involved in what court documents indicate was a prearranged purchase of 5,000 pounds of marijuana for $500,000. The court file states that no money was exchanged, but instead, six individuals were tied up, beaten, and threatened with firearms, and a van filled with cannabis was stolen. The incident concluded in a high-speed chase with police. One of the suspects jumped from a moving vehicle during the chase and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“My client, a businessman, intended to engage in what he perceived—and what all parties understood to be—a legal transaction,” said attorney Ken Rosenfeld of The Rosenfeld Law Firm, who defended M.R.N. “(M.R.N.) was looking at seven consecutive life sentences for the alleged acts. It was very satisfying that we were able to have all the charges dismissed in the state court.”

Eighteen charges, including one special allegation, were made against each of the defendants in the case. Included among the allegations, for which there were multiple charges, were: first degree robbery, assault on a person with a semiautomatic firearm, kidnapping to commit robbery, and kidnapping for ransom or extortion. There was also a charge involving the out-of-state transport and sale of an excess of 28.5 grams of marijuana.

The case, although dropped by the State of California, was picked up by the FBI as a federal case (Case # 1:18-CR-00219-DAD-BAM-4).

“The federal charges were very minor compared to the state charges,” said Rosenfeld. “(M.R.N.) received a fantastic resolution, which did not include torture, mayhem, marijuana, or use of a gun.”

About The Rosenfeld Law Firm

The Rosenfeld Law Firm, located in Sacramento and San Jose, has successfully defended a number of high-profile media cases. As a California criminal defense lawyer, Ken Rosenfeld aggressively serves his clients across a wide scope of cases, from first-degree murder to driving under the influence (California DUI defense), with a specialty in defending sex offense cases. An expert criminal law commentator who is regularly seen on KTXL FOX 40’s Ask An Attorney, Ken Rosenfeld has made a number of appearances on television and radio, including national media, as a legal expert. His criminal defense law firm also practices federal criminal defense and juvenile defense, as well as appellate law, prison law, and mental health law. For more information, please contact Ken Rosenfeld directly at (916) 447-2070, or visit http://www.therosenfeldlawfirm.com.

Press release writing by WebSiteText and Proofreading Services by The Proofreaders.

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Morrison & Foerster Continues Global Expansion of Investigations + White Collar Defense Practice with London Team Addition


Morrison & Foerster, a leading global law firm, is pleased to announce a further expansion of its global Investigations + White Collar Defense practice with the additions of Gareth Rees QC and Hayley Ichilcik as partners in London. Their arrival follows the addition of a powerhouse Investigations and Corporate Governance team in Berlin in 2019, led by Roland Steinmeyer and Patrick Späth, and further deepens the firm’s white collar and investigations offering.

The addition of Mr. Rees and Ms. Ichilcik underscores the continued momentum of Morrison & Foerster’s global Investigations and White Collar Defense practice, which has grown significantly over the past several years, in particular through the recruitment of former senior U.S. government officials and prosecutors, and SEC enforcement attorneys.

“For the past year, we have been seeking a market-leading white collar team, and we are thrilled that Gareth and Hayley have decided to join us. Their experience is extremely impressive — they have broad and deep white collar expertise and regularly advise on high-profile cases in the UK and EMEA,” said Paul Friedman, Morrison & Foerster’s managing partner for Europe. “Their arrival builds on the momentum the European practice has enjoyed since Roland Steinmeyer and Patrick Späth joined us in Berlin last year,” he added. “I’m delighted that 2020 has started on a high note in London, with a total of four lateral partner additions in the space of two months, following four years of transformational growth of our London practices.”

Mr. Rees is a highly experienced white collar crime and regulatory barrister who was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2003. His practice covers corporate fraud, bribery and corruption, insider dealing and market abuse, sanctions, and money laundering. Mr. Rees advises and represents both corporates and individuals. Between 2012 and 2017, he was the Executive Director of Enforcement and Executive Counsel at the Financial Reporting Council, the UK’s statutory audit regulator and corporate governance authority, where he led high-profile investigations and prosecutions of accountants, auditors and actuaries. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Rees spent more than 30 years in private practice, acting as trial lawyer in some of the highest profile cases of the last three decades in the UK, including the earliest Serious Fraud Office (SFO) cases in 1992, and thereafter.

Ms. Ichilcik’s practice focuses on white collar criminal litigation defense, financial crime investigations and compliance reviews. She represents both corporates and individuals in criminal litigation and regularly conducts internal investigations. Ms. Ichilcik specializes in anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, anti-tax evasion, trade and financial sanctions, as well as the UK Modern Slavery Act and whistleblowing regulations. She advises clients across a range of sectors, including technology, financial services, oil and gas, healthcare, and mining. Ms. Ichilcik was previously seconded to the SFO for 20 months, where she was part of the team that secured the SFO’s first deferred prosecution agreement and was awarded Prosecution Team of the Year by the Attorney General.

“The stellar reputation of MoFo’s global Investigations + White Collar Defense practice, combined with the momentum of its London office and the firm’s collaborative culture, were key factors in our decision to join,” said Mr. Rees and Ms. Ichilcik. “We look forward to working closely with colleagues across the world to advise clients on their most complex matters.”

Mr. Rees is admitted as a barrister in England and Wales and is a Queen’s Counsel.

Ms. Ichilcik is admitted as a solicitor-advocate in England and Wales. She holds a BComm. and LL.B. from the University of New South Wales.

ABOUT MOFO

We are Morrison & Foerster — a global firm of exceptional credentials. Our clients include some of the largest financial institutions, investment banks, Fortune 100, and technology and life sciences companies. The Financial Times has named the firm to its list of most innovative law firms in North America every year that it has published its Innovative Lawyers Reports in the region. In the past few years, Chambers USA has honored MoFo’s Privacy and Data Security, Bankruptcy, and IP teams with Firm of the Year awards, the Corporate/M&A team with a client service award, and the firm as a whole as Global USA Firm of the Year. Our lawyers are committed to achieving innovative and business-minded results for our clients, while preserving the differences that make us stronger. The firm also has a long history of commitment to the community through providing pro bono legal services, including litigating for civil rights and civil liberties, improving public education for poor children, advocating for veterans, promoting international human rights, winning asylum for the persecuted, and safeguarding the environment.

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Founder of 420 College Beats the Local War on Drugs, Re-Open Cannabis Dispensary in Fresno


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My story is an example of how the small local business owner can fight and win against the local War on Drugs and legal pressures applied by the big companies that are spreading their money around to control the local legal market for cannabis

George Boyadjian, founder and CEO of one of the oldest cannabis business training organizations and business consulting company, 420 College, has announced plans to reopen his retail cannabis business in the form of a new cannabis dispensary and delivery to be located in downtown and other areas of Fresno.

“My story is an example of how the small local business owner can fight and win against the local War on Drugs and legal pressures applied by the big companies that are spreading their money around to control the local legal market for cannabis,” said Boyadjian about his experience. “In another month, we will celebrate the grand re-opening of what will be Fresno’s oldest and finest cannabis dispensary that fell victim to the local War on Drugs. Watch for our grand re-opening celebration and support victory for Fresno business owners over the Big Money interests.”

After a surprise law suit filed by the City of Fresno in October 2009 telling him and his friend William McPike, a well-known attorney specializing in cannabis law, to close down their respective cannabis dispensaries, Boyadjian and McPike challenged the order by filing a law suit against the city. They received their final court agreement in January 2010, stipulating that Boyadjian and McPike were prevented from operating their cannabis dispensaries within the City of Fresno as long as a legal ban existed. However, when the ban becomes void for any reason, they are no longer obligated to follow the order without any action or notice. So, now that the city of Fresno has finalized the cannabis ordinance, they no longer have any obligations to cease operations of their cannabis businesses. Boyadjian will re-opening his business as a full-service cannabis dispensary with delivery in Fresno by April and at his location in Chinatown by this May. McPike has not announced the location of his dispensary.

“In the period just before cannabis was formally regulated in Fresno, at least fourteen local entrepreneurs operated businesses that provided medical cannabis to patients. But the War on Drugs was alive and well in our city and all were forced to shut down.” continued Boyadjian.

“We didn’t get arrested, but this was just another form of the War on Drugs by our local government. Since the law has changed and the City of Fresno will be accepting applications for cannabis businesses later this summer, we are gladly re-opening without any applications. Our agreement stipulation with the city doesn’t require us to give them any notice. This is a wonderful day in history for Fresno, as the all the wrongs done by the local War on Drugs are now reversed and we look forward to providing tax dollars and much needed jobs to help our economy.”

McPike made this announcement at the city council meeting on October 24th of 2019, about the agreement they had with the City of Fresno, and that the contract with the city stated going back to business without any notice or action. In other words, he will not be standing in line or fight for something that he already has.

“We have waited patiently, and have been in line for 10 years. We were in every City Council meeting and urged every council member to reverse the ban”, added McPike. “Now that the ban has been lifted, I will gladly resume operations”, continued McPike.

Boyadjian and McPike have started their applications with the Bureau of Cannabis Control and are awaiting their state permits and will be in front of City Council March 5th, 2020 to formally make the announcement of their grand opening.

About

George Boyadjian – CEO & Owner of 420 College – Mr. Boyadjian is the sole owner and operator of 420 College located in Fresno, California with offices in Pasadena. Since 2009, he has provided hundreds of existing and future cannabis business owners and entrepreneurs with quality cannabis business training through seminars, courses, workshops, conferences and classes all over California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Washington D.C, and Ohio. Mr. Boyadjian expertly brings together a comprehensive team, including but not limited to attorneys, accountants, insurance providers, real estate agents, traceability software providers, cannabis testing labs, cannabis growers, bankers, dispensary operators and many other professionals that provide services for the burgeoning cannabis industry. Mr. Boyadjian has been involved with multiple cannabis businesses throughout the 11 years of business in California, Washington, and Oregon.

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