In law, double billing refers to charging an hourly rate to two clients for the same time spent working. The American Bar Association prohibits double billing. It is tantamount to overcharging, since the amount of time actually spent working on any one client's work is less than the amount billed to that client.
Associates and partners alike at large law firms face significant pressure to double bill or to "pad" their hours in order to reduce overwork. These attorneys are usually required to bill 1800 to 2000 hours per year. This can ideally work out to a 40 hour work week, but it is usually 60 or more, since most attorneys must spend one hour in the office for every two they can bill to a specific client. In 1998, Cameron Stracher's book Double Billing suggested that double billing is common in law firms, but that implication was misleading. However, several recent studies suggest that at least 1/3 of lawyers admit that they double-bill clients on at least an occasional basis, and that more than half of lawyers do not believe that double billing constitutes an ethical violation.
NEW HAVEN The Police Department’s Shooting Task Force is expanding the work is does after its members became federally deputized and an FBI agent joined its ranks.
“This allows us to expand our capabilities and effectiveness in investigating violent crime in New Haven,” said Sgt. James Grasso, head of the task force.
The task force was created when Chief Dean Esserman gave the order in December 2011 in response to shootings in 2010. The city had 133 shootings in 2010; only 14 were solved. Since then, the department has tripled its shooting solve rate, Esserman said.
The task force also expanded its ranks to nine members with the addition of a full-time FBI agent. The task force has officers from New Haven, Hamden and state police, as well as two inspectors from the chief state’s attorney’s office and an officer from the Department of Correction Security Division.
The department also is working to get a member of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on the task force, said Lt. Al Vazquez.
It previously had an ATF agent assigned, but he was pulled to work a high-profile case.
Task force members are deputized under federal laws that deal with narcotics, guns, violent crime and organized crime, Grasso said.
In June 1919, Attorney General Palmer told the House Appropriations Committee that all evidence promised that radicals would "on a certain day...rise up and destroy the government at one fell swoop." He requested an increase in his budget to $2,000,000 from $1,500,000 to support his investigations of radicals, but Congress gave him only an additional $100,000.
An initial raid in July 1919 against an anarchist group in Buffalo, New York, achieved little when a federal judge tossed out Palmer's case. He found that the three arrested radicals, charged under a law dating from the Civil War, had only proposed transforming the government by using their free speech rights and not by violence. That taught Palmer that he needed to exploit the more powerful immigration statutes that authorized the deportation of alien anarchists, violent or not. To do that, he needed to enlist the cooperation of officials at the Department of Labor. Only the Secretary of Labor could issue warrants for the arrest of alien violators of the Immigrations Acts, and only he could sign deportation orders following a hearing by an immigration inspector.
On August 1, 1919, Palmer put 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover in charge of a new division of the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation, the General Intelligence Division. It would investigate the programs of radical groups and identify their members. The Boston Police Strike in early September proved the nation had not emerged united from the war. On October 17, the Senate passed a unanimous resolution demanding Palmer explain what actions he had or had not taken against radical aliens and why.
At 9 pm on November 7, 1919, a date chosen because it was the second anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, agents of the Bureau of Investigation, together with local police, executed a series of well-publicized and violent raids against the Russian Workers in 12 cities. Newspaper accounts reported some were "badly beaten" during the arrests. Many later swore they were threatened and beaten during questioning. Government agents cast a wide net, bringing in some American citizens, passers-by who admitted being Russian, some not members of the Russian Workers. Others were teachers conducting night school classes in space shared with the targeted radical group. Arrests far exceeded the number of warrants. Of 650 arrested in New York City, the government managed to have just 43 deported.
Palmer now replied to the Senate's questions of October 17. He reported that his department had amassed 60,000 names with great effort. Required by the statutes to work through the Department of Labor, they had arrested 250 dangerous radicals in the November 7 raids. He proposed a new Anti-Sedition Law to enhance his authority to prosecute anarchists.[
Forty years ago Senator Frank Church of Idaho during Senate committee hearings on investigation of the FBI and CIA and their misuse of power at home and abroad stated “We have seen today the dark side of those activities, where many Americans, who were not even suspected of crime, were not only spied upon, but they were harassed, they were discredited, and, at times, endangered.” (1)
A few years earlier on March 8, 1971, a group of eight individuals successfully broke into the FBI field office in Media, Pennsylvania where they took numerous files. These files contained documents implicitly involving the FBI and its director, J. Edgar Hoover in a secret program which came to be known as COINTELPRO, standing for Counterintelligence Program. Even with the power of the FBI the burglars have successfully remained free and only this week have their identities become known.
In her new book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, Betty Medsger reveals the narrative stories of the Media break-in and gives insight into the political times of yesteryear and today in light of privacy and national security. Among the files removed from the Media field office were documents directing personnel to initiate surveillance “in every place where people would gather – churches, classrooms, stores down the street, just everything.” Illustrative of the impact of the directive to spy on Americans is the statement “make the people think there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox”. (2) Although the burglars who identified themselves as the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI delivered documents to several news outlets and key individuals only The Washington Post published documents, refusing to comply with White House demands not publish the documents.
In considering our current concerns with surveillance and the publication of the Snowden documents, should the fear of terrorism be offset with our government’s capability to employ digital surveillance to spy on people without proper due process and equal protection? Should citizens of the U.S. as well as of other countries fear the “unknown” associated with the long arm of law enforcement? Moreover, what should we as civilians draw from COINTELPRO compared with today’s NSA, much less the continuing existence of the FBI and CIA?
Perhaps key to the analysis is whether those who have been labeled criminal and whistleblower by the government are truly the beacons of freedom and knowledge that the citizenry requires in order to rein in the government as the servant of the society? In consideration of these questions is a pivotal observation. Sometimes government must keep secrets and sometimes it must lie to the citizenry. Contrary to popular sentiment this is often necessary in order to keep a peaceable society. Humans after all have a very basic instinct in reacting to fear with anger, hate, and reprisal. These qualities while sometimes positively driven by need for patriotism contrastingly if allowed to arise as purely behavioral responses may be very destructive to the unity and safety of the nation.
Having said this and no doubt distanced several readers let me comment that only in dire circumstances should government directly and purposefully lie in response to public inquiry about its activities involving the citizens of the nation. Citizens of this nation are to be protected by the government, but the government is always accountable to the people and must respond to inquiry. This does not obviate the government’s decision to decline to answer in order to protect the nation, but this is not carte Blanc sanction establishing a bill of secrecy.
Our constitution provides fundamental protections. Two of these protections have been interpreted as privacy and free movement. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments listed in the Bill of Rights charge the government with a duty to assure not only Due Process but also Equal Protection to each citizen.
In instances where government is a party to a citizen’s potential loss of life or liberty in movement citizens must be afforded fair opportunity to protect themselves. When government shrugs its shoulders and neglects to intercede to protect the citizen or purposefully involves itself in denial of Due Process and/ or Equal Protection of the citizen then citizens must take unusual steps to correct the deficiency of government.
Where capable of implementing legal process should be employed, but where that fails or is barred, the citizen has the right to challenge government extra-legally. The cases of the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI and Edward Snowden are examples of citizens forcing government to acknowledge its hidden agendas.
Malcolm L. Rigsby J.D., Ph.D. is assistant professor of Sociology and Coordinator of Criminal Justice at Henderson State University, Arkansas. His recent study involves religious conversion in prison comparing Islamic and Christian converts and transforming sociality.
(1) AARC. 2014. AARC the Assassination Archives and Research Center. Volume 6: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Silver Spring, MD. Retrieved January 8, 2014 (http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_vol6.htm).
(2) Democracy Now. 2014. ”It Was Time to Do More Than Protest”: Activists Admit to 1971FBI Burglary That Exposed COINTELPRO”. Democracy Now. Retrieved (http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/8/it_was_time_to_do_more).
A man who pled guilty to attempting to sexually propositioning minors online was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison Thursday.
James Anthony Demotto, 31, of Citrus Heights, popped up on the FBI's radar when he started talking to an undercover officer in Massachusetts who was posing as a 13-year-old girl in May 2012, said Lauren Horwood, spokesperson for U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California. Minutes into the online chat, Demotto asked the "girl" to take sexually explicit photos of herself and send them to him, Horwood said.
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