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This column reports on several significant, representative decisions handed down recently in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Jack B. Weinstein held that an improper contingency fee agreement in a state criminal case had no "adverse effect" warranting habeas relief. Judge Arthur D. Spatt granted a habeas petition based on trial counsel's failure to investigate and use important available evidence. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle declined to compel production of handwritten notes taken by a non-attorney employee of defendant to help defense counsel at a deposition. And Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis denied a pro se plaintiff's belated application for costs and fees relating to his successful challenge to a removal order.

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