Sunday, 23 April 2017

Are law blogs the unedited voice of a person?

Technologist and inventor of the blog, Dave Winer, defined a blog as “the unedited voice of a person.”

In 2003, when I was beginning my stint as a fellow at Berkman Center [at Harvard Law School] , since I was going to be doing stuff with blogs, I felt it necessary to start by explaining what makes a blog a blog, and I concluded it wasn’t so much the form, although most blogs seem to follow a similar form, nor was it the content, rather it was the voice.

If it was one voice, unedited, not determined by group-think — then it was a blog, no matter what form it took. If it was the result of group-think, with lots of ass-covering and offense avoiding, then it’s not. Things like spelling and grammatic errors were okay, in fact they helped convince one that it was unedited. (Dogma 2000 expressed this very concisely.)

I’m pretty much with Winer so it pains me to see what blogs have become in the legal industry — and across the corporate communications field for that matter.

I get that law firms are going to have group blogs with multiple contributors. Makes sense. There are some good ones.

But group blogs, and any blog, can be the unedited voice of a lawyer when lawyers cover and comment on items they’re most passionate about.

Most law blog subjects cast a broad net so letting lawyers each blog on what they are individually seeing and reading so as to engage in thought leadership in a real and authentic way works big time. Readers feel it — and so do the law bloggers.

Posts do not, and should not be approved by an editor. Doing so in any significant way throws water on the fire of good law bloggers. It’s hard enough blogging sometimes, let alone blogging and wondering what my editor is going to think.

I met a young lawyer in the Midwest who had a great idea for a blog. A real strategic commercial construction niche opportunity in which, among other things, he was going to engage and build relationships with overseas financiers and developers investing in his metropolitan area.

But every one of his blog posts needed to be edited by the chair of his practice group. The blog posts “sat on the desk” of the chair for a week or more. The young lawyer threw in the towel, no more blogging. The blog was “taken down.”

The lawyer and the firm was deprived of an opportunity to grow. I’m sure the associate has received various kinds of pressure to grow a book business otherwise. What a shame.

The best law blogs are not marketing, per se. Sure, a lawyer is going to build a name and business through blogging. But law blogging is part of legal dialogue, scholarship, commentary and information. It’s the stuff lawyers did long before legal marketing was approved ethically forty years ago this June.

Lawyers pen emails, letters, briefs and more. Lawyers go to networking events and conferences in areas the law they’re passionate about and openly discuss things.

Marketing can empower lawyers to blog and help facilitate blog publishing, but it makes little sense for marketing to be involved in blogging.

Blogging platforms themselves are as easy to use as email and writing on Word. Asking or accepting that lawyers “blog” on Word so others can copy and paste to the blog platform makes no sense. Lawyers will also never feel the sensation of blogging.

Hey, I get the spelling and grammar thing for lawyers. Do know though that I have better relationship with my readers as a result of them correcting my typos from time to time. Run a spell check, but focus on engaging in a conversation just as you would at a networking event, not the form.

Don’t get me started with others writing a lawyer’s blogs, as some marketers are selling. That’s nuts, unethical and certainly not the unedited voice of a person. Doesn’t even merit discussion.

We’re starved in this country for the real and authentic voice of a lawyer engaging with real people – corporate employees or consumers.

Blogs are the perfect vehicle for expressing the voice of a lawyer.

But make it the unedited voice of a person.


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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Can law school career services keep up with passion of law students?

One of the most rewarding things I have the honor of doing is visiting law schools.

I get to go into large law school classes or open sessions and tap into the existing passion these young people have. It’s incredible.

When I talk about the Internet providing each and every student the ability to make their dreams come alive, eyes open. You can see the fire.

When I share the story of Pat Ellis going from an average student at Michigan State Law School to Honigman in Detroit to inhouse counsel and EVP of Public Policy at General Motors, all in a couple years, on the back of a blog, Twitter, drive and a dream, you can see students thinking, “That’s me.”

Students come down and engage me afterwards. They tell me where they’re from and where they want to go.

Some students have niches they’re passionate about. My being there got them to realize they really could do the type of work they dream of and for the type of clients they want to serve.

Other students almost apologize that they haven’t figured out their niche. I tell them that’s absolutely okay, most lawyers never figure out what fuels their passion. “Just figure out what would be fun to learn and who’d like to meet in the field. Now make it happen with the effective use of blogging and social media.”

What’s sad is that career services in many schools isn’t prepared to help their law students realize their dreams.

People communicate and connect on the Internet today. A working understanding of how to use the Internet for professional development and getting a job is critical for law students.

Yet career services is often led and staffed by people who have never used the Internet to build professional relationships nor to build a name for themselves. Their knowledge of using the net professionally often comes from misguided peers.

Facebook is the most widely used communication and connection medium in the world. Smart business professionals, including most of the legal industry leaders I know, use Facebook to engage and share on personal and professional matters.

Yet I recently heard one career services professional advised law students not to engage professionally on Facebook, and if they do to keep two separate Facebook accounts. That’s nuts. Made me wonder what other bum advice they may have shared with students.

Blogging, Twitter and networking on LinkedIn are powerful tools. Those law students who use them strategically and effectively for learning, networking and building a name are going to have opportunities to do the things they dream of when they graduate.

But who’s teaching law students how to use social media? Where are the role models and mentors in their law school when it comes to blogging? Who is career services reaching out to for help, being vulnerable by acknowledging they don’t understand it all?

Law students are paying $150,00o or more to their school, many going into debt, and all forgoing income for three years.

The students are told to use career services. “We’re here to help you.”

But are you? Can you fuel the passion of your law students? Or might you drown it out?


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Two former prisoners reveal how they turned their lives around after their release

doe fund workers

For some former prisoners, the hardest part about serving time is figuring out what to do when they get out.

Between finding a place to live, earning enough money to support themselves, and adjusting to a changing society, life as an ex-inmate can be overwhelming and stressful.

For some, it can lead to re-offending. According to a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that examined data from 30 US states between 2005 and 2010, two thirds of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within three years, and more than a third were arrested after just six months.

But one organization is trying to reverse those statistics. The Doe Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit that provides jobs, education, and housing to recently released male prisoners through its Ready, Willing & Able program.

"Through a combination of paid work, social services, education, and career training, the men of Ready, Willing & Able forge a path to self sufficiency," Alanna O'Donnell, media affairs manager for the Doe Fund, told Business Insider.

New participants in the program get paid to clean streets and sidewalks across New York. They continue on to training for specific trades, including culinary arts, building maintenance and pest control. Mandatory education classes teach them skills like literacy, financial management, and relapse prevention.

By the end of the program, participants are connected with job opportunities to sustain themselves and are given help applying for their own apartments.

"The tools they gain and the opportunities they earn permanently break the cycles of drug-use, incarceration, and poverty for them and their families, for life," O'Donnell said in a statement to Business Insider, pointing us to some research outlined on The Doe Fund's website:

"An independent study by Harvard University’s Dr. Bruce Western found that Ready, Willing & Able graduates are 60% less likely to be convicted of a felony three years after exiting the program. Overall, the program cuts the risk of future police contact by a third."

Doe Fund worker

"I call it the 'no more excuses program,'" director Anthony Isaacs told Business Insider.

Isaacs, 60, can speak firsthand about the program's benefits. His first job after 25 years in multiple prisons around New York state was a case-management position with The Doe Fund that he secured six months after his release — he has since worked his way up. The program is "rewarding on both sides," he said.

"For the staff, we’ve had people who have spent a long time behind the wall and come out and been through the program and understand that it can work," Isaacs told Business Insider."That a nine-to-five beats doing 10-to-20 any day."

Isaacs set himself up for post-prison opportunities by attending many programs offered at the prison, including "educational, vocational, life skills, aggression replacement, drug and alcohol prevention, business planning, stress management, youth awareness and delinquent intervention." He also earned a bachelor's degree in social science while at Eastern Correctional Facility, and a master's degree in Professional Studies & Urban Ministries from the New York Theological Seminary while at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

Anthony Isaacs

Another Doe Fund worker, William Bossio, 59, struggled with life after prison before he found the organization.

"When you first come home, it gets overwhelming cause everything bombards you," Bossio told Business Insider. "Bills start accumulating, your wants become more than your needs, and you get yourself in trouble. That's happened to me multiple times."

Bossio did several prison stints, the longest of which was 12 years at multiple prisons including New York's Rikers Island for a bank robbery. He was most recently released from Hudson Correctional Facility.

At the urging of his parole officer, Bossio attended a meeting for the Ready, Willing & Able program. Once he graduated, he secured a job as a dispatcher for the Doe Fund, making sure Ready, Willing & Able participants get to their work stations on time.

"I guess I had to be pushed into making the right decisions," Bossio told Business Insider.

Bossio said he was "blessed to find a job" after prison, a time when even preparing your next meal can feel unfamiliar and stressful.

"A lot of guys, myself included, have difficult times the first year" after prison, Bossio said.

But Isaacs and Bossio's success stories show that there is hope for prisoners to have productive lives on the outside.

SEE ALSO: 7 people went undercover as inmates for 2 months, and they revealed harrowing details about an Indiana jail

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NOW WATCH: Warner Bros. might have to pay $900 million if it can't prove ghosts are real


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Trump appears to be bringing back the drug war, but cops may not welcome its return

Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump

Senior Trump administration officials have signaled that the US's protracted drug war will return to full force, but law enforcement, long tasked with manning the front line of that war, may not welcome the return of the duties and dangers it entails.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly have both spoken of cracking down on the drug trade and drug use, singling out marijuana, which Sessions has called "only slightly less awful" than heroin.

"Let me be clear about marijuana," Kelly said during a speech this week in Washington, DC. "It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs."

"Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the US Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books," Kelly added.

Sessions was similarly harsh when speaking about marijuana during a speech in March.

"I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store," Sessions said. "And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that's only slightly less awful."

trump kelly pence

Law-enforcement officers, however, have consistently rated marijuana as one of the least-threatening illegal drugs.

A Drug Enforcement Administration survey of more than 1,400 state and local law-enforcement agencies for the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment found that less than 5% said they saw the drug as their "greatest threat," while only 5.4% said marijuana was the biggest driver of violent crime.

"Most law enforcement would like to see some type of legalization or decriminalization for marijuana," Raeford Davis, a former North Charleston police officer, told Business Insider. "The only ones that oppose that are what I would call 'dead-enders' in policing ... Legalization is coming and law enforcement officers welcome that."

Among the public, support for legal marijuana recently hit an all-time high — 61%.

Greatest drug threat DEA 2016 NDTA

Davis said police officers he has spoken to agree that the current approach to drug enforcement is not working. Differences in opinion emerge over what to do next.

In states where marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized, officials, like Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, have cautioned the federal government against reinstituting a hardline policy on the drug.

Beyond the focus on marijuana, however, research has shown that strict enforcement has missed the mark when it comes to reducing or eliminating drug trafficking and use.

A 2012 study conducted by the University of Florida found threats of severe punishment were "generally weak and insignificant" in reducing drug use. A 2013 British Medical Journal study found that between 1990 and 2007 the average price for heroin, cocaine, and marijuana fell by more than 80%, while average purity increased 60% for heroin, 11% for cocaine, and 161% for marijuana.

The get-tough policies that the Trump administration has hinted "will have zero effect as far stopping distribution or use," Davis said, leading instead to more conflict between police and the communities they serve.

That conflict could cost police "trust and respect in the community, and then you do not get cooperation from them when you're trying to investigate real crimes, like murders and robberies and shootings," he added.

baltimore police

At the height of the drug war, in the 1980s and 1990s, tougher law-enforcement efforts and criminal-justice policies spurred more arrests and introduced longer sentences for drug crimes. Between 1980 and 2015, the number of people in US prisons for drug-related crimes spiked from 40,900 to 469,545, according to the Sentencing Project.

Mandatory-minimum requirements — which some of Sessions' appointees want to keep — meant many non-violent offenders were given sentences of 20 years to life.

"The people we put away were low-level drug users, not violent criminals," Tim Longo, a member of the Baltimore police between 1981 and 2000, told the BBC. "We were casting a wide net and catching a lot of people, but most of what we got were guppys and minnows."

The aggressive strategy has "broken down police departments," according to Davis. "Even hardened drug enforcers will tell you we can't arrest our way out of this."

To their credit, both Sessions and Kelly have spoken of anti-drug policies other than law enforcement.

california marijuana protest

In his March speech, the attorney general mentioned treatment, education, and prevention, though he did not elaborate on what policies he would pursue to those ends.

Kelly, in an NBC interview, downplayed the role marijuana had in driving the international drug trade and mentioned a move to shrink the market for illegal drugs.

"The solution is a comprehensive drug-demand-reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill," he said.

However, at a time when an opioid epidemic has killed or harmed tens of thousands, more muscular law-enforcement policies would likely impede public-health efforts, Leo Beletsky, a public-health and drug policy expert at Northeastern University, told the BBC.

"The tactics they're talking about would just fuel the crisis," he said.

"Our current [enforcement], particularly the street-level enforcement, is just ineffective," Davis told Business Insider, "and it just really unnecessarily criminalizes people and, in fact, increases crime with the drug-related violence."

SEE ALSO: Top military commanders say they can't keep up with the amount of drugs flowing into the US

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NOW WATCH: Public policy expert: Trump's claim that drugs are cheaper than candy bars isn't 'entirely untrue'


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A city in Illinois realized it was spending a lot of money on one drug, so it sued the maker (MNK)

Larry Morrissey Rockford Illinois

ROCKFORD, Illinois — This city 90 miles from Chicago runs its own health plan for its hundreds of police, firefighters, and other city workers. And a couple of years ago city officials watching the books noticed something weird about its healthcare spending.

Just two babies on Rockford's health insurance were eating up 2.5% of the plan's total budget. That money wasn't going for heroic surgeries or cancer treatment. Instead, the infants were being given a drug to stop infantile spasms, which is serious but easy to treat.

The problem was just nine vials of H.P. Achtar, the drug the children needed, cost the city nearly a half-million dollars. The drug isn't new. It's been around decades and used to cost just $40 a dose. But the drug's owner hiked it up to $36,000 in recent years.

So this city of 150,000 decided to do something almost unheard of. It sued.

Cutting down on healthcare spending

On April 6, the City of Rockford filed a lawsuit against Mallinckrodt, the makers of H.P. Acthar, "to challenge an anti-competitive, unfair and deceptive scheme" that the company undertook "to enhance and maintain Mallinckrodt’s monopoly power in the U.S. market for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) drugs in violation of the U.S. antitrust laws."

Class-action suits contesting high prices have become increasingly common; one against the makers of insulins and another against that maker of the EpiPen have been filed in the past few months. In 2016, Providence, Rhode Island, sued generic drugmakers over the antibiotic doxycycline and a heart medication called digoxin. The antibiotic has since been involved in a price-fixing case brought by 20 state attorneys general. And in 2014, Philadelphia's transit agency sued Gilead, the maker of the hepatitis C cure Sovaldi, over the price of the drug, which has a list price of roughly $1,000 a pill.

But it's still a little unusual for a midsize city to be leading the charge.

Rockford is part of a growing movement of employers keeping track of how much they're spending on medications. In going after Mallinckrodt the city hopes to inspire other employers to take on the rising prices of prescription drugs.

city hallAs a self-funded health plan, Rockford's essentially pays for its employees' health care expenses out of its own pocket, instead of those funds coming from a health-insurance company.

Starting in 2005, Rockford wanted to get a better idea of how much the city was spending on healthcare. At the time, the city was running a $4 million deficit in its health fund. By looking at the city's healthcare spending, Rockford managed to put $12 million in reserve at one point, which the city then used to start a clinic for its employees.

As part of that initiative, the city realized it spent a lot on specialty pharmaceuticals, a term that's often used to describe costly medications that are a bit more complex than the antibiotic you might pick up at the pharmacy. These include biologic drugs used to treat autoimmune disorders, and Acthar, a drug that came on the market in the 1950s.

"We set this chain of events in motion where we were constantly reviewing the drug spend, and that meant getting pretty granular at the specific drugs that were being purchased and how they were being utilized," Ryan Brauns, a consultant at Rockford Consulting & Brokerage who has been working closely with Rockford's health fund since 2005, told Business Insider.

That's when they started seeing a trend. "The most significant cost threat to the plan at this point is specialty medications," he said. Overall, medical expenses for Rockford were down 0.25% in 2016 compared to 2015 in the face of a 6% rate of regional medical inflation. Pharmacy expenses, on the other hand, were up 25.2% in 2016 compared to 2015.

One drug that made up 2.5% of the total health fund

Achtar is not frequently used, but its high price tag means a few prescriptions can add up quickly. In addition to infantile spasms, the drug is used to treat flare-ups of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders. In 2015, Medicare spent $504 million on the drug.

HP Acthar chart price

In total, Rockford and its employees spent almost $500,000 on Acthar in 2015, coming out to a gross cost of $54,339.76 per vial, according to the suit. The cost made up a significant portion of Rockford's $20 million healthcare fund.

" While we will not comment on the details of this litigation, we can reiterate our publicly expressed view related to the FTC settlement – that we strongly disagreed with allegations that we engaged in any anti-competitive behavior," a Mallinckrodt spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider.

Rockford, of course, has catastrophic claims it has to cover every year, such as emergency surgeries, accidents, or other unexpected medical bills. But Kim Ryan, associate director of human resources, told Business Insider that "the pharmacy seems to be the most blatant and growing problem that health plans are facing trying to control all these expenses," she said.

"The abuse that can take place through the network in the pharmacy benefits management world, and how something like this could happen is really very shocking," Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey told Business Insider. Morrissey 's term as mayor is up at the beginning of May, but Morrissey said Mayor-elect Tom McNamara supports the suit.

While Rockford investigated its drug spending, Mallinckrodt settled with the Federal Trade Commission over Acthar in January, agreeing to pay $100 million, after the FTC charged the company with violating antitrust laws. Back in 2013, Questcor (a company that Mallinckrodt later acquired) bought a competitor to Acthar called Synacthen. The FTC alleged that this kept other companies from selling the competing drug at a lower price. As part of the settlement, Mallinckrodt had to agree to license Synacthen to Marathon Pharmaceuticals to treat infantile spasms and nephrotic syndrome in the US.

"Questcor took advantage of its monopoly to repeatedly raise the price of Acthar, from $40 per vial in 2001 to more than $34,000 per vial today – an 85,000 percent increase," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a January news release. "We charge that, to maintain its monopoly pricing, it acquired the rights to its greatest competitive threat, a synthetic version of Acthar, to forestall future competition. This is precisely the kind of conduct the antitrust laws prohibit."

Mallinckrodt, on the other hand, had a different perspective on the settlement.

"We are pleased with the agreement reached to resolve this legacy matter, although we continue to strongly disagree with allegations outlined in the FTC's complaint, believing that key claims are unsupported and even contradicted by scientific data and market facts, and appear to be inconsistent with the views of the FDA," the company said in a news release at the time.

But the settlement didn't go far enough, Morrissey argued. "The question that I asked when I was going through some of the background before the lawsuit was filed, was how in the world does the federal government allow a $100 million settlement on a drug" when the government didn't get a commitment to change the price moving forward, he said.

This is why Rockford decided to file its own suit against the company, using the FTC's case as a starting point. Morrissey said he hoped the case would clear up some misconceptions about how much employers are paying for medications.

"There's this mythology that the healthcare industry tries to describe that this doesn't hurt anybody except big insurance companies," Morrissey said. But in the case of Rockford, "Every dollar that we overpay there is a dollar that can't go to other community services, has to be paid for by taxation."

In its lawsuit, Rockford also named United Biosource Corporation, a company that's owned by the pharmacy benefit manger Express Scripts.

What's ahead

After Rockford filed the complaint on April 6, Brauns said he got calls from other employers who might be interested in joining in on the class-action suit. In particular, those calls came from employers in the public sector who have started looking at their own health plans.

"There's been a lot of talk about what to do with rising cost of pharmaceuticals," Brauns said.

Using this case, Rockford wants to get Acthar on Washington's radar. It's not without the realm of possibility. President Donald Trump has said drugmakers are "getting away with murder" and expressed an interest in negotiating drug prices, something the government isn't allowed to do for Medicare and Medicaid. And in March, the president met with Reps. Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch, at which time the representatives showed Trump a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.

As the case goes forward, the city hopes to get a refund on the $500,000 it spent on Acthar. Morrissey said he hopes the case goes beyond that. Ideally, the case will bring the price down so that if Rockford needs to purchase Acthar again, the city won't face the same prices.

"There's zero discouragement of future antitrust conduct when you get a slap on the wrist," Morrissey said.

SEE ALSO: Something weird's going on with the doctors prescribing one of pharma's most controversial blockbuster drugs

DON'T MISS: One of the most controversial drug companies in America is out of the industry's lobby

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NOW WATCH: Scott Galloway: The big 4 have created enormous wealth by tapping into our most basic instincts


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Friday, 21 April 2017

'This is an outrageous statement and absurd on its face': Mayor slams DOJ for saying NYC is 'soft on crime'

nyc mayor bill de blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O'Neill blasted the Department of Justice at a press conference on Friday for its statement accusing the city of being "soft on crime."

"It is an unacceptable statement that denigrates the people of New York City and the NYPD. It is an outrageous statement and absurd on its face, and ignores a quarter century of progress in this city in bringing down crime," de Blasio said, adding that the city just marked its safest three months in history.

"We did not become the safest big city in America by being 'soft on crime.' I've never met a member of the NYPD who is soft on crime. This good police commissioner is not soft on crime. This is an insult, this statement."

De Blasio demanded that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump renounce the statement, challenging them to "come here to New York City and look our police officers in the eye and tell them they're soft on crime."

The DOJ had released the statement after sending letters to nine so-called "sanctuary" jurisdictions across the country, including New York City, threatening to withhold funding unless they prove by June 30 they are complying with federal law.

"Many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime," the DOJ said in a statement, although research has found that jurisdictions with "sanctuary" policies in fact have lower crime rates than their nonsanctuary counterparts.

"New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city's 'soft on crime' stance," the statement continued.

Yet New York has reported record low murder and crime rates in recent years, following a steady downward trend since 1990. In his remarks Friday, a visibly irate O'Neill noted that in 2016, the NYPD jailed more than 1,000 people in 100 gang takedowns.

"Maybe we should ask them if we're soft on crime," he said.

"I like to think of myself as a pretty calm and measured person. But when I read that statement by the Department of Justice this afternoon, my blood began to boil."

SEE ALSO: Justice Department targets 9 jurisdictions in escalating crackdown on 'sanctuary cities'

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NOW WATCH: Yale history professor: Here’s why it's useful to compare Trump's actions to Hitler's


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Justice Department targets 9 jurisdictions in escalating crackdown on 'sanctuary cities'

attorney general jeff sessions

The Department of Justice on Friday sent letters to nine so-called "sanctuary" jurisdictions, threatening to withhold grant funding unless they prove that they are complying with federal law.

Recipients must certify compliance before June 30 in order to receive certain grants for the fiscal year 2016, The New York Times reported.

Recipients of the letters reportedly included New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, the state of California, Miami-Dade County, and Cook County, Illinois.

Those same jurisdictions had been called out in a 2016 report by the DOJ's inspector general as having local policies that may have impeded communications between local law enforcement agencies and federal officials regarding the immigration and citizenship statuses of inmates.

Under a 1996 federal law, 8 USC Section 1373, jurisdictions cannot prohibit local officials from withholding that information from federal authorities. Jurisdictions with "sanctuary" policies say they already follow that law, and the 2016 report did not find that any of the cities it reviewed had explicitly violated Section 1373.

The letters were signed by Alan Hanson, the acting director of the Office of Justice Programs, and closely echo remarks Attorney General Jeff Sessions made last month at a White House press briefing, at which he criticized sanctuary policies and urged jurisdictions to work with federal immigration agents in deporting unauthorized immigrants.

He said jurisdictions applying for DOJ grants must certify compliance with the law or risk the "withholding of grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants."

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in late January that said as much, although that has already been contested in federal court. Jurisdictions such as San Francisco and Santa Clara County are arguing that 8 USC Section 1373 violates the 10th Amendment and could deprive them of billions of dollars in federal funding.

Lawyers representing the Trump administration said, however, that any funding cuts would apply "only to a limited range of grants" and would not significantly affect those jurisdictions' budgets.

SEE ALSO: The Trump administration's 'sanctuary city' threat is a 'sleight of hand'

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NOW WATCH: Former State Department official: Evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia would create a 'constitutional crisis'


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