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Big Referral Fees
For Little Work

   Do you know someone who wants to sell a home, office or other real estate?
   If you do, you could earn thousands of dollars with a quick phone call or e-mail. The Legal Forum pays a base fee of $1,500 for referrals to sellers’ property that sells for at least $200,000. Each $100,000 of value to the property over $200,000 gives the person making the referral an extra $100. A $700,000 dollar property value, for example, would earn a referral fee of $2,000.
   Your only obligation is to phone or e-mail Tom Ramstack with the name, address, phone number or e-mail address of the seller. In most cases, it should take no more than 10 minutes of your time.
   For more information, click the Real Estate icon on the menu above or contact Tom Ramstack at 240-421-6395 or e-mail tramstack@aol.com.
   The referral fees are offered to anyone in the District of Columbia but only real estate licensees in other states. However, non-real estate agents can receive credits equal to the referral fee toward the purchase or sale of property in Virginia and Maryland.
   The brokerage for the Legal Forum is Fairfax Realty at 3190 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 100, Falls Church, VA 22042, phone: (703) 533-8660. 

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    The Legal Forum welcomes letters to the editor at tramstack@gmail.com, which will be published here.

Book on Boston Marathon Bombs
Shows Lone Wolf Terrorism Rises

   A new book that reports on the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and trial of the convicted killer shows the attack was only an early example of more coming soon.
   Boston's Bloody Marathon uses the bombings by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother as an example of the lone wolf terrorism increasingly encouraged by Islamic extremist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.
   Lone wolves refer to terrorists who plot their attacks alone, usually with no organization to support them and no official links to violent groups. There is almost no way to know their next target until they strike. U.S. intelligence agencies call them perhaps the biggest terrorist threat to the United States and its allies.
   Boston's Bloody Marathon, by Tom Ramstack, is available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Click here.

D.C. in Brief

D.C. Sniper Case Heads to Supreme Court
For Ruling on Life Sentences for Juveniles

     The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments next week in the case of famed D.C. Sniper Lee Boyd Malo as he seeks to overturn his life sentence for murder.
     The bigger question in the case is the extent of state discretion in sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole.
     Malvo was 17 years old when he and his adult accomplice murdered 10 Washington area residents at random in drive-by shootings. He was sentenced to prison in Virginia.
     The District of Columbia and 22 states have abolished life sentences for juveniles.
     States are supposed to follow the ruling in the 2012 Supreme Court case of Miller v. Alabama , which says juvenile life sentences are unconstitutional except in rare cases when there is no hope for rehabilitation. Judges must consider "Miller factors" such as whether the juvenile offenders were abused, coerced or their susceptible brains and personalities still were developing.

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Congress and D.C. Council
Agree On Ban for E-Cigarettes

     The D.C. government’s efforts to clamp down on hazards from e-cigarettes is receiving a boost from Congress, where federal legislation is proposed that mirrors pending local bills.
     E-cigarettes are linked to 18 deaths and about 800 cases of users becoming sickened by a respiratory illness of unknown cause.
     The manufacturers are being sued by plaintiffs in the Washington area and nationwide.
     Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh recently introduced a bill to ban the sale or distribution of flavored e-cigarettes in the District of Columbia. At the same time, Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray introduced a bill to ban use of vaping products without a prescription.
     Similar legislation was proposed in recent days by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
     “As the popularity of these addictive products continues to grow, we’ve seen the proliferation of e-cigarette stores appear across the District without regard to the proximity to our schools or spaces intended specifically for children,” Cheh said in a press release. “The federal government has recently indicated its intent to also ban flavored e-liquids, but we cannot wait for the federal government to act while flavors such as cotton candy and gummy bear e-cigarettes remain on District shelves.”
     E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are handheld battery-powered vaporizers that simulate smoking but without burning harmful tobacco. Instead, users inhale an aerosol, which is known as vaping.
     Manufacturers who sell them under the names of Juul and NJOY try to make them more attractive to consumers by adding flavors to the vapors. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether the oils that add flavor to the aerosol are the culprits in the pneumonia-like illnesses.
     Montgomery County, Maryland, is proposing a ban on e-cigarette shops within a half-mile of schools. Other bans are being implemented in California, Michigan and New York.

Latest News

ACLU Sues D.C. For Government Worker
Who Risks Job Over Medical Marijuana

     The Washington, D.C. government is being sued by a sanitation worker who was forced to give up medical marijuana so she could pass a drug test.
     The woman suffers from chronic back pain after being born with scoliosis. A supervisor told her she could not keep her job unless she could pass the city-required drug test that can detect marijuana residue.
     The American Civil Liberties filed the lawsuit last week in D.C. Superior Court for Doretha Barber, who has worked for the D.C. government since 2009. Her scoliosis also has given her degenerative disc disease in her spine.
     Marijuana relieves her back pain. Since she gave it up, she says she has been forced to work with pain and increased spasms.
     “Ms. Barber has never reported for work impaired by her medicine and never would,” said Michael Perloff, an ACLU attorney. “Her medical treatment needs are between her and her doctor, not between her and her boss.”

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Phone: 240-421-6395   E-mail: tramstack@gmail.com

Supreme Court Hears Arguments
In First Case of New Session

     The Supreme Court reconvened last week with a docket certain to bring long-lasting changes to Washington, D.C.’s federal and local courts.
     The leading cases touch on health care, religious education and employment rights of the gay community.
     Oral arguments were heard this week in Altitude Express v. Zarda and related cases of gay employees who lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. They claim a violation of their rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963.
     In one of the consolidated cases, the Second Circuit ruled that Title VII would protect the employment of a skydiving company worker who was fired for being gay. In a different case, the 11th Circuit ruled Title VII would not protect the job of a gay social welfare services coordinator.
     The differing lower federal court rulings on similar issues brought the cases to the Supreme Court.

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Washington Post Sues D.C. Council
For Access to Business Records

    The Washington Post is suing the D.C. Council to gain access to records of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans’ business and personal appointments.
     Evans is being investigated for financial conflicts of interest that include allegations he used his D.C. Council job to win concessions for business associates who were paying him. He also is accused of using his political influence to seek a job with a law firm.
     The Post sued after the D.C. government declined some of the newspaper’s Freedom of Information Act requests for the records.
     “The requested records concern issues of the highest public importance: unethical and potentially criminal misconduct by a democratically elected lawmaker,” the lawsuit says.
     The D.C. government did turn over some records of Evans’ appointments in 2015 and 2016 but not the full amount the Post wants. The Post also seeks legal expenses.
     Several federal and local ethics investigations started after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority reported Evans did not disclose a $50,000 consulting agreement with Colonial Parking, one of the region’s largest private parking lot businesses, while he served as a transit agency administrator.
     The D.C. Council responded to a reporter’s request for Evans’ business appointments by sending him copies of Evans’ Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word calendar entries. Some entries were redacted.
     As the Post pressed for more information, the D.C. Council’s general counsel wrote to the newspaper saying further information was exempt because of a federal grand jury subpoena into Evans’ business dealings.
     The Post argues in its lawsuit that the D.C. Council was violating its own transparency rules.