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

New Halfway House for Northeast D.C.
Faces Deadline to Resolve Problems


     The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is scrambling through regulatory hurdles to open a new halfway house in Northeast Washington before another one closes Oct. 31.
     The new halfway house planned for 3400 New York Ave. NE is running into stiff opposition from local residents concerned about security.
     Prison officials say that unless they resolve the dispute, prisoners at the Hope Village halfway house at 2844 Langston Pl SE will have no place to go when it closes at the end of October. It is the only halfway house for men in the District of Columbia.
     The Bureau of Prisons last year gave the nonprofit Core DC a five-year, $60 million contract to operate the new halfway house for 300 men.
     Opposition arose from a D.C. Council member and a real estate developer, who backed out of a deal to lease property for the facility. In February, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended that the Bureau of Prisons reconsider its selection of a site for the new halfway house.

 Continue Reading

About Us  

The Legal Forum is a news service for the Washington area's legal community that also offers job listings and grant writing for eligible nonprofits organizations. If you have questions, or you would like to place an ad, please Contact Us

Letters to the Editor

D.C. in Brief

Legal Briefs

Priest Convicted of Sexually Abusing
Girls at Sacred Heart Church in D.C.


     A Washington, D.C. Catholic priest was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting two girls from his church.
     Urbano Vazquez was accused of groping and kissing the girls at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in Northwest D.C. between 2015 and 2017. They were then nine years old and 13 years old.
     He was found guilty in D.C. Superior Court on all counts of felony second-degree child sexual assault with aggravating circumstances and one misdemeanor of sexual abuse of a child. He faces as much as 45 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 22.
     Federal prosecutors Sharon Marcus-Kurn and J. Matt Williams said during the trial there was a delay in the case because the girls felt embarrassed about telling anyone.
     The then 13-year-old said Vazquez touched her thigh inappropriately during confession. The nine-year-old said she was groped in a bathroom.
     “He was brazen,” Marcus-Kurn said during closing arguments. “He got a thrill out of doing that during the Mass services, behind closed doors.”
     He was able to prey upon the underage girls partly because his job as co-pastor gave him influence and trust at the church, the prosecutors said.
     Vazquez took the stand in his own defense to say he did nothing wrong. He described his work at the church but said he never was alone with the girls.
     Vazquez’s attorney, Robert Bonsib, told the jury during closing arguments that the 13-year-old changed her story, indicating “the evidence in this case doesn’t add up.” After the conviction, he said he plans an appeal.

     
     ​





   







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.

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. 

Continue Reading...

Latest News

New York Tries to Take Away
Trump's Tax Return Lawsuit


     A pending lawsuit by New York’s attorney general carries the potential for a groundbreaking ruling on the extent of state authority over federal officials in the nation’s capital.
     The motion filed late last week asks for a lawsuit over President Donald Trump’s tax returns to be moved from Washington, D.C. to New York.
     It invokes authority under the state’s Tax Returns released Under Specific Terms ("TRUST") Act enacted last month.
     New York Attorney General Letitia James was responding to a lawsuit filed by Trump to block the state from releasing information about his tax returns to Congress, which is investigating the president’s personal finances.
     Trump has filed state tax returns in New York because of his large real estate holdings there.   

​​Continue Reading

800 4th Street SW, No. N517   Washington, DC 20024
Phone: 240-421-6395   E-mail: tramstack@gmail.com

New D.C. Law to Protect Privacy
Of Crime Victims' Home Addresses


     Crime victims and controversial policy advocates are gaining a new right to privacy under legislation approved by the D.C. Council.
     The Address Confidentiality Program will allow them to omit their home addresses from voter registration files, Department of Motor Vehicles databases and tax records.
     Now, they are available to anyone through inspections of public records or Freedom of Information Act requests.
     The local law is designed to protect victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, sex crimes and persons who help them, many of whom are lawyers. Others who could shield their addresses are employees of reproductive health organizations and domestic violence shelters.
     D.C. residents can participate through a request to the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.
     They also must provide evidence they are crime victims or that they work in a qualifying organization. The proof can be an affidavit, police report or note from a doctor.
     After getting certification from the city agency, the resident’s address would remain confidential for three years. The confidentiality could be renewed in two-year terms afterward.
     The D.C. Board of Elections is participating with its own program that gives voters a new option to have their home addresses kept either fully or partially confidential.
     Maryland and Virginia have similar programs but the new one in Washington, D.C. is more pervasive.








FBI Contractor Charged with Voyeurism
After Camera Found Under Woman's Desk


     A Federal Bureau of Investigation contract employee is facing criminal voyeurism charges after allegedly putting a hidden camera under a female coworker's desk at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. 
     The woman discovered the camera by bumping against it when she shifted her legs, making the camera fall to the ground, according to prosecutors.
     After picking up the camera, she handed it to coworker Joshua Green, who was confronted minutes later by another worker about how the camera could have been placed under the woman’s desk, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint.
     Green later admitted to investigators that he placed the hidden camera while the woman was on maternity leave. She said she had been wearing more dresses and skirts since she returned to work.
     Other employees verified that they saw Green, 30, under the woman’s desk last month.
Continue Reading