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Bank found liable in electronic transfer case In a nationally watched first impression case involving the use of electronic fund transfers and the regulation of those transactions under New York’s Uniform Commercial Code, the New York high court held last week that a Brazilian businessman is owed a full refund from the New York bank that permitted two unauthorized transfers from his account, representing hundreds of thousands of dollars, even though he did not comply with the bank’s notice requirements. The Court of Appeals judges unanimously agreed that the one-year statute of repose in the commercial code cannot be varied by agreement, that a consumer is entitled to actual and not just constructive notice of account activity, and that the entitlement to actual notice cannot be altered through agreement of the parties. Regatos v. North Fork Bank, No. 142. Disbarred Calif. lawyers may stay that way California state bar officials believe some attorneys are so bad that they don’t deserve a second chance, and should be prohibited from practicing law for life. A proposal scheduled to go before a state bar committee last week recommends that any lawyer who commits one of nine specific offenses-as basic as insurance fraud or as severe as murder-be permanently disbarred. “It protects the public and protects the profession,” said state bar Governor Paul Hokokian. Georgia judge blocks law on photo ID for voters Calling Georgia’s new voter photo identification law an unconstitutional poll tax that imposes severe restrictions on the right to vote, U.S. District Court Judge Harold L. Murphy last week issued an injunction blocking its enforcement. Murphy determined that the law requiring Georgia voters to present a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID before casting their ballots is most likely to prevent the state’s elderly, poor and African-American voters from voting. The Rome, Ga.-based judge rejected arguments by the state that the law prevents voter fraud. Murphy wrote that the state, “in theory, left the field wide open for voter fraud by absentee voting.” Murphy issued his ruling in a suit filed last month by a coalition that included Common Cause of Georgia. Common Cause v. Billups, No. 4:05CV00201. AG: High court should not cite international law Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last week joined critics of the use of international law in U.S. Supreme Court opinions, calling it anti-democratic and unworkable. “Foreign judges and legislators are not accountable to the American people. If our courts rely on a foreign judge’s opinion or a foreign legislature’s enactment, then that foreign judge or legislature binds us on key constitutional issues,” Gonzales said in a speech at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Va. Gonzales included a passage about citations of international opinion in court rulings as part of a lengthy defense of embattled Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and judicial restraint. New proposals for protecting N.Y. courts In the wake of a series of unsettling breaches of courthouse security around the nation, the New York Office of Court Administration last week released a comprehensive set of 47 proposals to protect state courthouses better. A 10-member task force of court officials offered an amalgam of proposals, both large and small, to bolster security. They ranged from providing all 1,200 state-paid judges with bulletproof benches to ensuring that prisoners change into civilian clothes before they are brought to courthouses for appearances. In the last decade, the court system has handled 1,300 threats to judges without any serious disruption of courthouse routine, said Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, who ordered the review. The administrative office will spend $342 million, or nearly 17% of its $2.1 billion budget, for security in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31. There are 3,500 court officers statewide, an all-time high, with 2,500 deployed in New York City.

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