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US to honor Barak with Dept. of Defense medal

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment
November 28, 2012 Wednesday 14 Kislev 5773 21:47 IST
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The 70-year-old Barak, a leading strategist in confronting Iran over its nuclear program who has also served as prime minister and IDF chief of staff, has been a regular visitor to the Pentagon in recent years as tensions with Tehran simmer.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has known the Israeli leader since US President Bill Clinton‘s administration, when Panetta was chief of staff and when Barak served in roles including foreign minister. Barak and Panetta speak regularly, with three conversations alone during the crisis in Gaza this month.

“He’s been an important partner of the US for a long time,” one US defense official told Reuters, adding he will receive the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Should Barak’s resignation prove permanent, his successor could come from the ranks of the Likud party of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been seen at odds with Washington over the best way to handle Iran.

Ex-Israeli general Moshe Ya’alon, who has talked tough on Iran but is more circumspect among Netanyahu’s advisors, is a possible candidate to succeed the more moderate Barak. He is the minister of strategic affairs and is a former chief of staff of the IDF.

There has been speculation that Barak might even be replaced by the current foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, the Likud’s more hawkish coalition partner.

“The fact is that none of us know,” said Anthony Cordesman, at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Pentagon announced that Panetta and Barak will address a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (1730 GMT).

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False Child Molestation Claims Held To Amount To Child Abuse

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

False Child Molestation Claims Held To Amount To Child Abuse

Charles Toutant

New Jersey Law Journal

11-27-2012

A mother subjected her daughter to abuse and neglect by making baseless reports that the child was molested by her father, the Appellate Division ruled Tuesday.

By lodging the claims, and coaching the girl to corroborate them, the mother showed a reckless disregard for her child, the court said in DYFS v. C.O., A-2387-11.

The girl’s well-being was further jeopardized by the stress of physical and psychological examinations during the sex-abuse investigations, the court added.

The girl, referred to by the pseudonym Amy, was born in November 2006 after a brief romance between her parents, referred to as Sally and Charles.

Sally resisted letting Charles spend time with Amy, but he won visitation rights shortly before her first birthday.

In April 2010, when Amy was 3, Sally took her to an emergency room and said Charles had penetrated the girl’s vagina with a vibrating device while she was visiting him.

An investigation was conducted in New York, where Charles lived. The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) remained involved because Amy is a state resident.

New York police found no evidence of sexual abuse, based on a physical examination, conflicting accounts by Amy and Sally, and interviews of guests at a party attended by Charles and Amy at the time of the alleged abuse.

DYFS and Child Protective Services (CPS) in New York also found no sexual abuse. They cited the same sources, as well as a videotape of the party showing Amy playing happily and photographs of Amy’s genital and anal areas, taken by Sally’s father before and after the visit, which did not display any injury.

DYFS and CPS also cited counselors’ concerns that Amy’s statements had been prompted by Sally.

While that investigation was under way, Sally made additional allegations of sexual abuse against Charles and insisted that Amy have a second, invasive physical exam. Again, no signs of sexual abuse were found.

DYFS contended that Sally’s continuing conduct was harmful to Amy, in violation of N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21 to -8.73, which defines child abuse and neglect.

A judge granted DYFS’s motion to transfer residential custody of Amy to Charles on May 13, 2010, pending a fact-finding hearing. The hearing was conducted on 12 nonconsecutive days between November 2010 and July 2011.

In December 2011, Bergen County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol ruled that DYFS had sustained its burden of proof that Sally exhibited a pattern of reckless disregard that harmed Amy.

Mizdol cited the “repeated, unnecessary medical, physical and psychological examinations” and Sally’s attempts “to shape and manipulate” Amy’s behavior to further Sally’s goal to isolate Charles “from any meaningful parental relationship with his daughter.”

Sally appealed, contending that Mizdol’s factual findings were not supported and that Sally’s constitutional rights were violated by the nonconsecutive hearing dates.

Appellate Division Judges Clarkson Fisher, Carmen Alvarez and Alexander Waugh Jr. affirmed, adding that Sally had not intended to hurt Amy.

The panel cited the stress of multiple investigations, Sally’s insistence on a second physical examination and counselors’ notes that Amy had an enhanced knowledge of sexual matters for a child of her age.

In addition, the panel said Mizdol properly characterized the mother’s conduct as “abuse or neglect.”

Noting that the child-abuse statute requires such conduct to rise above the level of mere negligence, and requires conduct that is “grossly or wantonly negligent” or “reckless,” the appeals court cited Mizdol’s finding that the mother’s conduct was “reckless.”

Sally also claimed that her pursuit of a clear answer as to whether her child was sexually abused did not constitute grossly or wantonly negligent behavior.

The appeals judges noted, however, that Sally had received a clear answer from Child Protective Services and the police but would not accept it.

“The reckless disregard found by the judge stemmed not from Sally’s efforts to rule out sexual abuse, but rather from her refusal to recognize a clear answer once she had one and her continued, baseless assertions that Charles had abused Amy,” the panel added.

Sally also disputed Mizdol’s conclusion that she had coached Amy, citing a counselor who supported her view.

But the appeals court said Mizdol’s finding was appropriately supported by two other counselors and an interview of Amy by a New York child-abuse investigator and a sheriff’s officer.

The panel also rejected Sally’s claim that her rights were violated by nonconsecutive hearing dates. Although R. 5:3-6 requires a trial to run over consecutive days, the delays were caused by scheduling issues, including Sally’s work schedule and the judge’s trial calendar, the panel said.

Sally’s lawyer, James Doyle of Swenson & Doyle in Hackensack, says the ruling unfairly labels his client a child abuser because she sought further reassurance that Amy had not been abused.

DYFS did a poor job of communicating to Sally the outcome of that inquiry, says Doyle. He adds that Sally no longer suspects Charles of child abuse and still hopes to regain primary custody but the abuse and neglect finding makes that difficult.

DYFS was represented by Assistant Attorney General Andrea Silkowitz. Lee Moore, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, says his agency will not comment.

 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Court Matters that May Have Been Affected by Hurricane Sandy

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

                     Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Court Matters that May Have Been Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Q: What should I do if I have issues relating to scheduled juror service, either during the storm or relating to recovery from storm damage?
A: Contact the jury manager in your county.  There is contact information, including an email address, on your juror summons or you can get that information from the link provided above.

Q: Which courts have been relocated because of the storm?
A: A list of relocated courts can be found here. Please check this list daily for changes.

Q: Will I be penalized if I missed paying court-ordered fines during the storm?

A: If you have a problem with court payments that is directly related to the storm, call the municipal court in which your fine was issued or, if you are making payments directly through Probation Services, click here to find the number for your local probation office.

Q:  How will you notify me if I’ve been displaced?
A: Court notices are generated automatically based on information in the court’s databases. If you are no longer reachable at the last location in which you were doing business with the court, you can call the court and let them know how to reach you at your new address. Click here for the main number for your local Superior Court.

Q: Will you issue a bench warrant if you cannot get in touch with me?
A: The court has the discretion to issue a bench warrant for defendants who do not appear in court. The best thing to do is to contact the court in advance of your court date.  

Q: I was scheduled to appear in Family Court for a case but could not because of the storm What should I do?
A: Call the phone number on the bottom of your court notice or contact the family division in your county if you’ve lost your notice.

Q: I have a question about my child support. What should I do?
A; Call the child support hotline: 1-877-655-4371 (NJKiDS)

Q: How can I obtain a modification of my child support order?
A: That determination must be made by a judge. You can file a request for an adjustment using this form.

Q: What if I received a court notice but I have been displaced by the storm and am now  living in another county or in another state?
A: Call the court in the county where your case was scheduled and give them your new address.  The court will record the address change so that you will receive future notices.

Q: My lawyer is telling me that his or her office was damaged and my case files are destroyed. What should I do?
A: Attorneys and litigants whose case files have been lost can receive free replacement copies from the court. Click here to obtain a request form for lost court documents.

Q: I haven’t been able to get in touch with my lawyer since the storm. What should I do?
A: All attorneys are required to keep their address on file with the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. Check the online index of attorneys to see if your attorney has moved to a new location.

Q: What documents are acceptable if I want to file a New Jersey judgment in another jurisdiction and my original documents have been destroyed? Will copies be accepted?
A: It depends upon the requirements of the jurisdiction of filing; however the NJ Judiciary can provide a certified copy of any document that is on file with the court.

Q: If Public Access Reports have been destroyed, can I get them replaced free of charge?
A: No. Free replacements are available only for active case files.

Q: My evidence to support my motion or objection was destroyed. Will the court still allow me to file my motion or objection even without the exhibits?
A: You should attempt to get replacement copies of your exhibits prior to filing your motion or objection with the court. If you are not going to be able to obtain replacement copies prior to a filing deadline, call the court that you will be filing the motion or objection with. You may be able to provide a certification or alternative documentation instead depending on your individual circumstances.

Tax Court

Q: Is there anything I can do to get my property taxes reduced because of damage/destruction?  
A: If you are the owner of property with a building or other structure that suffered significant damage or destruction as a result of Hurricane Sandy,  N.J.S.A. 54:4-35.1 provides information regarding tax assessments in such circumstances. The statute requires the property owner to take action by Jan. 10, 2013.

Q: How can I get another copy of my Tax Court judgment or other case documents, since they were destroyed in the storm? 
A: Complete the document recovery request form and submit via a new dedicated email address RequestForRecordsDestroyedByHurricaneSandy.Mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us.

Q: What if I cannot meet Tax Court deadlines or trial dates and require additional time? 
A: Contact the judge assigned to your case or the Tax Court Management Office at 609-292-6989.

Appellate

Q: My notice of appeal , brief, motion answer or other document was due to the Appellate Division between Oct. 29, 2012 and Nov. 16, 2012. What should I do?
A: The chief justice’s Nov. 9, 2012 order treats the period of time from Oct. 29, 2012 to Nov. 16, 2012 the same as legal holidays. This means that your papers are due on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. If you need more time to get your papers to the court, call the Appellate Division Clerk’s Office at 609-292-4822 for instructions on how to proceed or email AppellateInformation.Mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us

Q: My case in the Appellate Division was scheduled for oral argument or a CASP conference between Oct. 29, 2012 and Nov.16, 2012. Will it be rescheduled?
A: If you have not already been notified of the rescheduled date, you will be notified shortly.

Q. I have lost all of the documents for a case I have coming up in court. What should I do?
A. If you have a pending case, you can get new copies of documents that have been filed with the court by filling out the document recovery request form and submitting it via a new dedicated email address, RequestForRecordsDestroyedByHurricaneSandy.Mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us .

 

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/faq_sandy.htm

Categories: Uncategorized

President Obama calls Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

The White House Issued this statement:

Today, the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi about the rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel, and the escalating violence in Gaza.

The President reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.  The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.  The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate.  The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days.  Earlier today, Vice President Biden received a briefing from Prime Minister Netanyahu on the events in Gaza.

The President also spoke with President Morsi given Egypt’s central role in preserving regional security.  In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense.  The two leaders agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead.

 

Sen. Levin: What I Know About Barack Obama and Israel

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

 

Sen. Levin: What I Know About Barack Obama and Israel

Senator Carl Levin — October 31, 2012 – 7:51 am

 

 

Dear Friend,Senator Carl Levin

This is the first letter I’ve ever written in the hope that the “social media” winds take it not just to people I know, but also to people I’ve never met and to places I’ll never see

I do so because I’m deeply troubled by how the Jewish community is being flooded with inaccurate and sometimes inflammatory attacks on President Obama, claiming that he is not a strong supporter of Israel.

I do so because as a Jewish senator and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I feel a responsibility to share what I have personally seen and what I know about Barack Obama and Israel.

As I write this, U.S. and Israeli forces are engaged in a large joint military exercise. We hold these exercises regularly. But this is the largest joint exercise we have held with Israel, involving over 3,500 U.S. troops, about 1/3 of them deployed to Israel for 3 weeks.

This exercise comes at a critical moment for putting massive pressure on Iran to end any quest for a nuclear weapon.

The joint exercise will dramatize our joint military capability to defend against an Iranian missile attack. The exercise combines U.S. Patriot batteries and Aegis ship radar with Israel’s Arrow, Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defenses. These Israeli missile defenses received significant funding by the U.S. and have been strongly supported by President Obama.

As Iran decides whether to try to build a nuclear weapon, Iranian leaders will now have to factor in more than ever that they will not be able to deter a strike against a nuclear weapon facility by threatening to retaliate with their missiles. Iran’s leaders can’t do so because a retaliatory threat by them or by their allies Hezbollah or Hamas has been degraded by Israel’s and our combined missile defenses, as demonstrated by the current joint exercise.

I have seen up close how President Obama has acted in many other ways to strengthen Israel’s military capability.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s current Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, recently put it this way:

“I should tell you honestly that this Administration, under President Obama, is doing in regard to our security more than anything I can remember in the past.” (July 11, 2012)

Prime Minister Netanyahu himself told the AIPAC Conference in May of this year:

“Our security cooperation is unprecedented. And President Obama has backed his words with deeds.”

President Obama has also made clear that he will not permit Iran to get a nuclear weapon. For instance:

“It’s my firm belief that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose a security threat not only to the region but also to the United States.” (November 14, 2011)

“My policy here is not going to be one of containment. My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. And as I indicated yesterday in my speech, when I say all options are at the table, I mean it.” (March 5, 2012)

Iran must know from the record of President Obama, including his use of force in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, that he doesn’t bluff or bluster.

He is a serious man.

He speaks carefully.

He doesn’t flip flop around.

He doesn’t throw words around carelessly.

Iran has seen him act—his warnings aren’t idle threats.

President Obama has succeeded in unifying the world against Iran with biting sanctions. Those sanctions have done major damage to Iran’s oil revenues (they are down by 60% over the last year) and to its currency (the value of which is down by 80% over the last year).

In part because of the respect in which he is held around the world, he has also succeeded in the challenging environment at the UN in preventing unfair damage to Israel at a number of crucial moments, including stopping a UN condemnation of Israel when it prevented a flotilla of ships from forcing itself through its blockade of Gaza.

President Reagan is rightly remembered as a strong friend of Israel, although he led the world’s condemnation of Israel at the UN when Israel knocked out Iraq’s threatening nuclear facility. I’m amazed how some in our community judge President Obama, who has prevented unfair condemnation of Israel at the UN, by a different standard.

I have seen President Obama act forcefully to protect Israeli citizens at Israel’s embassy in Cairo when a violent mob recently came within minutes of reaching and attacking them. Here is what Prime Minister Netanyahu said about President Obama’s actions:

“I requested President Obama’s assistance at a decisive—I would even say fateful—moment. He said he would do everything possible, and this is what he did. He activated all of United States’ means and influence—which are certainly considerable. I believe we owe him a special debt of gratitude.”

By any standard, fairly and consistently applied, President Obama has been a proven friend of Israel.

Support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship has been bipartisan, and it is essential it remain so for our security and for Israel’s security. It is harmful to that relationship and to Israel for some in our community to attempt to drive a wedge between the Obama administration and Israel.

I won’t comment here on the many other reasons I support President Obama. My goal is to simply express my abhorrence at blatantly unfair, inaccurate and sometimes inflammatory claims that President Obama is not a strong supporter of the U.S.—Israel relationship, when that relationship is important to U.S. security and to the goal of Middle East peace.

I hope that this effort will succeed in utilizing the internet’s ability to have one’s thoughts shared broadly. If you believe they are worthy or interesting, please share them with your friends.

Thanks.

Senator Carl Levin

Carl Levin