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The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning to consumers, especially immigrants, about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.
Victims are told by the scammer that they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
According to the recent Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse Report, Prosecutorial Discretion is on the rise in some immigration courts. Prosecutorial Discretion occurs in removal (deportation) cases when the Assistant Chief Counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, or the Prosecutor) agrees to close a case prior to a decision by an Immigration Judge on whether to remove an immigrant. The Prosecutorial Discretion program began in October 2011 in an effort to reduce backlog. Prosecutorial Discretion is used primarily to allow low-priority cases to be dismissed so the Prosecutor can focus on prosecuting high-priority cases, e.g. when the immigrant has been convicted of a violent crime. The report indicates an overall 80% increase in the number of cases closed using Prosecutorial Discretion from fiscal years 2012 to 2013.
Public records and the debate over obtaining access to public records took a potentially drastic turn on October 29, 2013 when the Tennessee Court of Appeals carved out a "deliberative process" exception to the Tennessee Open Records Act codified at T.C.A. § 10-7-101. InDavidson v. Bredesen, et al, No. M2012-02374-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 5872286 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2013), the Court ruled that "high government officials" can keep documents secret if they deem them part of their deliberative decision making process. The Court upheld a lower court's ruling that then-Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration was justified in denying the release of records on the basis that they were part of the "deliberative process" about how to deal with demonstrators encamped in the state Capitol in 2005 to protest cuts to TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid program. The Court found that the deliberative process privilege is a common law privilege and that there is a "valid need" that the advice high governmental officials receive should be protected from disclosure. The Court further identified high governmental officials as "those vested with the responsibility of developing and implementing law and public policy, many times requiring that differing and various interests and viewpoints be considered."
Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C., serves clients in Tennessee cities such as Chattanooga, Cleveland, East Ridge, Red Bank, Jasper, Collegedale, Athens, Decatur, Altamont, McMinnville, Manchester, Dunlap, Winchester, Fayetteville, Soddy-Daisy, Etowah, Dayton, Charleston, Tullahoma, Fort Oglethorpe, Dalton, Chatsworth, Calhoun, Summerville, Lafayette, Ringgold, Chattanooga Valley, Chickamauga, Tunnel Hill and Trenton.
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