REGISTRATION OPEN FOR CWAG WINTER DINNER
CWAG announces the opening of registration for "Dinner with the Attorneys General," set for Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at The Mills House in Charleston, South Carolina. We invite your participation in this Endowment Dinner benefiting the programs and goals of CWAG. Attached please find the sponsorship and registration information. This engaging dinner includes participation by approximately 25-30 Attorneys General and their top staff from across the country. We hope your schedule will allow you to attend this year's event and participate in this premier opportunity for exchanging views and forging relationships. Please contact CWAG Meeting Manager, Janine Knudsen, at 916.704.1057 or [email protected] with any questions or to confirm your participation.
PRESERVING NEW MEXICO HISTORY
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico is searching for relatives of past attorneys general to be included in the unveiling of a photo gallery honoring attorneys general serving from 1846 to present. The gallery housed in the Santa Fe Attorney General's Office is open to the public for tours during normal business hours. Anyone who is related to a past AG or who knows relatives of past AGs is encouraged to contact the OAG Constituent Affairs Unit to provide contact information at [email protected].
MONTANA ATTORNEY GENERAL FOX HOSTS 24/7 SUMMIT
CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana hosted a National 24/7 Summit in Big Sky, Montana to discuss monitoring drug and alcohol offenders. Montana faced challenges with implementing the 24/7 Sobriety Program statewide, General Fox said. Some counties have similar programs, others are resistant to adopt the 24/7 program due to costs or lack of resources, and some judges opt not to order defendants to participate. "That will be your challenge," General Fox told a group of about 200 law enforcement officials as part of a round-table discussion. "You will continue to have that push back. ...It's difficult to do things over night. There are tremendous success stories in the states that have implemented it," he said. CWAG Attorney General Lawrence Wasden of Idaho said his state has had difficulties implementing the 24/7 program. "We have a variety of issues," General Wasden said, saying sheriffs aren't "buying into" the program for numerous reasons. "We really need some help." Former South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long, who launched the first-ever 24/7 program, urged the summit's participants to start small and get the support of at least one local judge in the jurisdictions where they hope to implement 24/7.
STATE SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
CWAG Associate Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia announced he has led a 44-state coalition in filing a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that infringes on state sovereignty by allowing states to be sued in another state's court. The states filed an amicus in the case of Franchise Tax Board of the State of California v. Gilbert P. Hyatt. The case deals with the concept of sovereign immunity, a constitutionally enshrined principle which protects states from lawsuits in each state's court and federal courts. "Since that 1979 decision [Nevada v. Hall], states have had to engage in costly litigation and have judgments entered against them by lawsuits filed in out-of-state courts," General Morrisey said. "This goes against the history and structure of the Constitution, which protected states from unnecessary, burdensome lawsuits."
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington announced a court order against EC New Horizons and EC Horizons requiring repeat offenders Edwin Cruz and Maurice Terry to pay $234,000. Cruz and Terry provided unlawful immigration assistance to over 400 Washington victims. The resolution includes $149,000 in money back for victims. This is part of General Ferguson's continued effort to combat illegal immigration services and crack down on "notario" fraud. "Those who prey on Washington residents who are working hard to follow complex federal immigration laws will not be tolerated," General Ferguson said. "Immigration services fraud has dire consequences for Washington families, and my office is committed to prosecuting these fraudsters."
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it has obtained a preliminary injunction against World Law Group and its senior leaders for running a debt-relief scheme that charged consumers exorbitant, illegal upfront fees. The Bureau alleges the debt-relief scheme falsely promised consumers a team of attorneys to help negotiate debt settlements with creditors, failed to provide legal representation, and rarely settled consumers' debts. World Law is alleged to have taken $67 million from at least 21,000 consumers before providing any debt-relief services. "We took action today against World Law Group for an alleged debt relief scheme that lured consumers with false promises of help from lawyers and collected millions in illegal upfront fees," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "We are seeking to put an end to this scheme and prevent more consumers from being harmed."
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona is warning consumers to be cautious of misleading websites that falsely appear to be affiliated with the Arizona Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) or the State of Arizona. The Attorney General's Office has received reports from consumers who meant to type "servicearizona.com" in their browser to access MVD's online registration services but instead typed "serviceaz.com." The "serviceaz.com" domain is not an authorized website of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. "We are always concerned when we see potential government impostor scams," said General Brnovich. "Consumers need to be cautious online, and be sure they are dealing with a governmental agency and not with a private business set up to look like a government agency online."
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York announced that Tim Wu is joining the office of the Attorney General. Mr. Wu's appointment brings a well-known figure in technology circles to General Schneiderman's office, which has sought to assert itself as a watchdog over technology companies and the so-called sharing economy. Mr. Wu will serve as a senior lawyer and special adviser to General Schneiderman. "If I have a life mission, it is to fight bullies," Mr. Wu said in an interview. "I like standing up for the little guy, and I think that's what the state A.G.'s office does." "Tim provides an unparalleled depth of understanding of the intersection between technology and the law," General Schneiderman said in a statement. "His expertise in how legal rules can facilitate competition in modern markets is broad and deep, as is his commitment to justice and fairness."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin of Rhode Island announced that Jmaire Wray pleaded nolo contendre to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, and one count of felony assault. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Wray received a certified sentence of 15 years with six years to serve. It is alleged that Wray forced two young females, ages 15 and 16, to take provocative photos which Wray posted to Backpage.com for the purpose of soliciting sex for money. "This case is a stark reminder that sex trafficking can and does happen in every community. It is truly disturbing for someone as young as the defendant to be manipulating other teens and forcing them into the commercial sex industry," said General Kilmartin. "I commend the cooperative efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement to save these young victims. That cooperation between agencies is critical to shutting down these types of operations. The common thread among all our human trafficking cases is Backpage.com, the favored site for human traffickers. Backpage.com can no longer claim ignorance of the illegal activity that is conducted through their website while making a profit off the selling of people for sex."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida convened Florida's Statewide Council on Human Trafficking at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. The Council's mission is to enhance the development and coordination of state and local law enforcement and social service responses to fight human trafficking in Florida. The Council also looks for better ways to support victims of this horrific crime, by focusing on victim safety and recovery. "As Chair of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, I am dedicated to our mission of protecting the victims of this atrocious crime and punishing those who prey on them. Our Council meetings are vital in identifying better ways to arrest and convict human traffickers in Florida and finding better ways to protect victims. We must work together to ensure Florida is a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking," said General Bondi.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced she was implementing an important step to protect Massachusetts residents from the harms caused by tobacco and nicotine products by publishing the final set of regulations to prevent the sale of electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) to children. "The growth of the e-cigarette market has posed a serious public health risk to Massachusetts residents and calls for strict oversight to protect our young people," General Healey said. "Now that these regulations are in place, businesses will be required to keep these addictive products out of the hands of minors, an important step to further reduce youth smoking."