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New lawyers face pro bono mandate

ALBANY (AP) -- New York will become the first state to require lawyers to do 50 hours of pro bono work as a condition for getting a license starting next year, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said Tuesday.

With about 10,000 people passing the New York Bar Exam annually, Lippman said that means about a half-million hours of free legal work yearly, mostly from law students. That should help fill "the justice gap" for the poor, working poor "and what has recently been described as the near poor" whose needs have risen sharply in a tough economy, he said.

"The courts are the emergency rooms of our society," Lippman said. Addressing lawyers, judges and other officials gathered for Law Day, he noted that only about 20 percent of the need is being met for civil legal services for the poor, though state support is up to $40 million this year and many lawyers already do pro bono work, now an estimated 2 million hours yearly in New York.

Currently no states require doing pro bono work as a condition of admission to the bar, according to the American Bar Association.



Fire erupts after man leaves son, 4, alone

MONSEY (AP) -- A suburban New York City man was charged with leaving his 4-year-old son alone at home while running an errand, only to return to find his house in flames.

The son, who was rescued by a neighbor, was unharmed.

Manuel Lliguichusca pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. The judge ordered the Ecuadorian national to turn in his passport and recommended that he enroll in parenting classes.

According to the Journal News, Lliguichusca said he was away for about 15 minutes and when he returned the house was on fire.

Authorities said the single-family house had no working smoke detectors and was illegally subdivided, housing about 10 people.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.



Man accused in killing of neighbors' horses

NEW BERLIN (AP) -- State police said Tuesday a Chenango County man has been charged with fatally shooting six of his neighbor's horses after they wandered onto his property.

Troopers said Lauren McMaster, 75, likely shot the horses Saturday after they wandered onto his land in the rural town of New Berlin, 50 miles southeast of Syracuse.

Police said they arrested McMaster on Sunday and charged him with criminal mischief and cruelty to animals.

Troopers said McMaster used a 12-gauge shotgun to kill the horses and that he and the horse's owner had a long-standing dispute over the animals wandering onto McMaster's property.

McMaster is being held in the Chenango County Jail on $500 cash bail.