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Category: Publications | CCDC in the News

Investigative Report on Immigration Detention Released Today, Sept. 18, 2019

CCDC wants to thank the ACLU of Colorado for your groundbreaking (and heart breaking) expose.   We are proud to partner with this great organization and with CREEC who is also doing this work and look forward to working with anyone interested to assure that immigrants and asylum seekers with disabilities are treated fairly and humanely.

Rise Up fist, it reads: Nothing About Us, Without Us, EVER!!
Rise Up fist, it reads: Nothing About Us, Without Us, EVER!!

 

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Rachel Pryor-Lease <rpryor-lease@aclu-co.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Investigative report on immigration detention released today
To: Julie Reiskin <jreiskin@ccdconline.org>

Today marks the release of our investigative report about the GEO immigration detention facility in Aurora: Cashing in on Cruelty: Stories of Death, Abuse and Neglect at the GEO Immigration Detention Facility in Aurora.

The report is based on a nine-month ACLU of Colorado investigation, which included a lawsuit against ICE under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records about Mr. Samimi’s death and interviews with dozens of victims of mistreatment. The investigation revealed numerous stories of medical incompetence, dental neglect, inadequate mental healthcare, lack of accommodations for detainees with disabilities, as well as substandard care that contributed to the suffering and death of Kamyar Samimi, a Lawful Permanent Resident for more than 40 years.

Cashing in on Cruelty provides a set of recommendations to improve state and local policy, including increased oversight and accountability of ACDF, divesting from investments in private detention operators like GEO, funding for legal counsel and bond money for detainees and limiting local cooperation with ICE. The policy brief enumerates ways that Colorado cities, counties and the state should respond to the expansion of private immigration detention centers to improve conditions of confinement and reduce the number of people who end up separated from their families and communities or worse — dead.

Read the report and learn more, including actions to take and know your rights information at: https://www.allarewelcomeco.org/.

 

As a reminder, we are having an informal breakfast this Friday, September 20th from 8:30-10am to hear from the staff that worked on the report, as well as learn more about our next steps. Please let me know if you would like to join us.

Thank you for your support, so that we can continue to do this critical work.

Best,

Rachel

Rachel Pryor-Lease

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Director of Philanthropy

American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado

303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350

Denver, CO  80203-1256

(720) 402-3105

rpryor-lease@aclu-co.org

 

Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Sign up for e-alerts and support our work at www.aclu-co.org

 

P.S. Please join us at our annual Bill of Rights Dinner on Thursday, September 26th at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver. For tickets and more information, visit: https://aclu-co.org/events/bill-of-rights-dinner/.

Join Us to Celebrate The Passage of HB 19-1269, The Mental Health Parity Insurance Bill

Colorado Coalition for Parity

Join us to celebrate the recent passage of HB 19-1269 The Mental Health Parity Insurance Bill

 

September 20th 2019
10:30 AM– 12:00PM

 

Addiction Professionals Day
Tivoli Film Center
University of Colorado – Denver – College of Arts and Media
Auraria Campus
901 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80202

Special recognition of the legislative bill sponsors
Meet Colorado’s new Ombudsman for Behavioral Health Care Access

 

Refreshments

 

The Denver Reel Recovery Film Festival Presented 9/20/19 Tivoli Film Center Immediately following the Parity reception

The Denver Reel Recovery Film Festival
Presented
9/20/19
Tivoli Film Center
Immediately following the
Parity reception

 

SAVE THE DATE! 9/21/19 AFR Colorado Hosts: RALLY FOR RECOVERY Denver Civic Center Park

SAVE THE DATE!
9/21/19
AFR Colorado Hosts:
RALLY FOR RECOVERY
Denver Civic Center Park

 

Guidelines for Creating Accessible Meetings and Events

4 different signs, the first one is for Access for Hearing Loss, the second sign is for Sign Language Interpretation, the third sign is the International Sign for Accessibility and the fouth sign is a Map Pin Point.

 

It is the policy of the State of Colorado that all public meetings and events hosted by or permitted through a State agency are physically and programmatically accessible for all. These guidelines provide organizers with a brief overview of how to plan and stage accessible, inclusive events.

People with disabilities include those with physical, sensory, intellectual, perceptual, and mental health conditions and may require special accommodations to fully participate in public events. People who are older, pregnant, ill, or fatigued may also have accessibility needs. As accommodations may include items not described in these guidelines, organizers may need to do additional research.

 

 

 

STEP 1: PLAN FOR ACCESSIBILITY

  • Designate one person as Disability Coordinator for the event.
  • Strive to include people with disabilities in logistical and program planning.
  • Budget for accommodations, such as certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, stage lifts or ramps, and signage and materials in alternative formats.

 

STEP 2: CHOOSE AN ACCESSIBLE LOCATION

    • Assess potential facilities in person and check all areas for accessibility—parking, pathways, entrances, elevators, registration areas, stages, seating, and restrooms.
    • Lifting and carrying any individual does not constitute accessibility!
    • Features of an accessible location include:
      • Stage or speaker’s platform at grade or accessible by elevator, ramp, or lift;
      • Public transportation to site within 200 yards;
      • One accessible parking space and one van accessible parking space per 25 participants;
      • sidewalks to facility at least 36” wide;
      • No routes or pathways with grass, gravel, or a rise more than ½”;
      • Passenger drop off and pick up at entrance;
      • Accessible building entrance, preferably main entrance used by everyone; and
      • Doors at least 32” wide and open to 90° angle.

       

     

    STEP 3: CREATE ACCESSIBLE ANNOUNCEMENTS

      • All notices and announcements for the event or meeting must include a contact person (name, phone number, and email) to request disability accommodations.
      • Include a paragraph detailing accessible meeting information as part of each notice, including meeting agendas, emails, and website postings.
      • Always include the physical address, as it is required by transportation providers.
      • If a map is included, indicate bus or transit stops (if applicable) and accessible parking, seating, toilets, etc.
      • If posted on a website or via email, notices must be screen reader compatible. When posting as an attachment, use a word document or “smart pdf” or include all pertinent information in the body of the email message.

     

     

    STEP 4: CREATE AN ACCESSIBLE EVENT SPACE

      • The stage or speaker’s platform must be at grade or accessible by elevator, ramp, or lift.
      • Use directional and reserved seating signage with international disability symbols.
      • Find temporary signage online by searching for “temporary accessibility signs.”
      • Cover any wires and cords that run along the floor with tape or ramps.
      • For large crowds, provide a quiet space for those who need it.
      • Provide printed programs and other materials in alternative formats, upon request.
      • Accommodations for people with mobility limitations include:
        • Accessible microphones for speakers or presenters;
        • Pathways of at least 36”;
        • Reserved/marked wheelchair and companion seating near front or interspersed in audience;
        • One empty wheelchair space plus one companion chair per 25 participants; and
        • reserved extra chairs for those who may require seating (e.g., those who cannot stand for long periods of time).
      • Accommodations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing include:
        • One or more ASL interpreters for every 100 participants or upon request;
        • Reserved seating or standing area with a direct sight line to interpreter;
        • Interpreter positioned near speaker with adequate lighting and in full view of camera; and
      • For large events, a dedicated camera may be needed to project the interpreter on screen.

       

       

      STEP 5 : ASK FOR HELP

      • If you have questions, you can reach out to your agency’s ADA Coordinator, the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, or the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

       

       

      CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE COLORADO CROSS-DISABILITY COALITION AND THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Press Release: President Trump’s Statement Blaming Gun Violence on People with Mental Health Conditions Is Outrageous, Says National Organization of Mental Health Advocates with “Lived Experience”

For Immediate Release

President Trump’s Statement Blaming Gun Violence on People with Mental Health Conditions Is Outrageous, Says National Organization of Mental Health Advocates with “Lived Experience”

WASHINGTON (August 7, 2019)—The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which advocates to improve policies affecting individuals with mental health conditions nationwide, offers its sincere condolences to all those affected by the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.

At the same time, the NCMHR is disgusted by President Trump’s recent statement in which he conflated perpetrators of violence and people with psychiatric diagnoses.

“As a national organization representing persons with mental health issues—many of whom are trauma survivors—the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery condemns President Trump’s statement blaming people with mental health conditions for gun violence,” said NCMHR co-founder and board president Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist with lived experience of a mental health condition.

“As the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and numerous studies have reported, people with mental health conditions are the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings,” Dr. Fisher continued. “Instead, frequently the shooter in these tragedies is an isolated, angry white male with an automatic weapon.

“But the President refuses to take responsibility for his central role in ginning up racism and anti-immigrant hatred in countless statements and at numerous rallies over a period of years.
“Economic and social oppression have alienated and disempowered people, putting the American Dream out of reach for many. We need a more economically and socially equitable society to address the roots of society’s anger. It is crucial that we hear, and respect, the voices of people angered by these economic factors, because so many feel unheard and unrespected.

“And we must immediately pass and implement effective gun control laws. When economist Richard Florida examined gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

“After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia adopted tougher gun control laws—and this resulted in a huge decrease in gun violence.

“Unfortunately, many of our legislators feel obligated to the National Rifle Association. Republicans received nearly $6 million in the 2016 election cycle; Democrats received $106,000. President Trump received at least $21 million from the gun lobby. At the same time, 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales.

“We can do this. At long last, we just need to summon the political will.”
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) works to ensure that people with psychiatric diagnoses have a major voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels, empowering people to recover and lead full lives in the community.

CONTACT: Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD, NCMHR board president, info@ncmhr.org; 202-642-4480

No to Oppression Olympics

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Logo
1385 S. Colorado Blvd.  Bldg. A, Ste. 610
Denver, Colorado 80222
303.839.1775
www.ccdconline.org

Julie Reiskin
Executive Director
jreiskin@ccdconline.org
720.961.4261 (Direct)
303.648.6262 (Fax)

 

CCDC was made aware that yesterday an ADAPT leader Bruce Darling made an inappropriate comment saying that Democrats cared more about immigrants than people with disabilities.  Mr. Darling has apologized in writing for these comments and has acknowledged that this is inappropriate, divisive and that “oppression Olympics” serves no one.   We agree.

CCDC is proud of our long affiliation with ADAPT. Many of us at CCDC are ADAPT members and participate in ADAPT actions.   CCDC understands the frustration when politicians that use us to get elected ignore us.  This frustration is something communities of color have dealt with for decades and continue to deal with throughout the country.

The situation for immigrants in this country has reached a crisis point.  National “leaders” are bullying, threatening, belittling, and intimidating immigrants.  People who even have family members who are immigrants are being intimidated into not using services that they need.  This hostile climate is antithetical to what America is….after all, we are a nation of immigrants.  Only those who are Native American/Indigenous People are not from another country.  CCDC appreciates the lawmakers that are speaking out against the abhorrent conditions at the border, and fighting back against the mistreatment of immigrants around the country.    CCDC believes there is bandwidth for our elected officials to deal with more than one issue and that ignoring disability issues is due to ableism, nothing more and nothing less.

As a social justice organization, CCDC must speak out –otherwise we are complicit.  More than ever, we must be vigilant to not fall into the trap of frustration of blaming and othering. The current hostile and divisive political climate can and should be blamed, but it is because of this climate that we all must take extra care to be personally responsible and avoid these comparisons.   We must stand with our brothers and sisters (with and without disabilities) who are new arrivals as a matter of social justice and mutual commitment to a more equitable society.

We will not comment or opine on the intent of Mr. Darling.  It is never acceptable to pit oppressed groups against each other. We hope that the larger social justice community will not see these comments as reflective of the disability community. Our community is diverse and includes many people who have intersectional identities as immigrants, migrants, new arrivals and people with disabilities.   We are not immune to the racism and xenophobia that permeate our organizations and all American communities, but we are responsible to address it inside and outside of our organizations.

Alert: RA for Access-a-Ride Users with Hearing Issues

If you are an RTD Access-a-Ride user or plan to be, RTD may provide a reasonable accommodation for persons with hearing loss.  The accommodation would allow user to use an email to make or change Access-a-Ride reservations.

For more information please visit RTD website at http://www.rtd-denver.com/accessARide.shtml

Click “Accessibility Services”

Scroll down to “Request Reasonable Modification

OPINION | A couple of bills to boost affordable housing — without a tax hike

Picture of Clair Levy, Executive Director of the Center on Law & Policy
Picture of Claire Levy, Executive Director of the Center on Law & Policy

If you follow the news or talk to your neighbors, you know Colorado is in the midst of an affordable-housing crisis. The health and well-being of individual Colorado families is at risk as the cost of housing forces them to live in unhealthy homes, prevents them from having a stable place to live, and consumes so much of their income that they cannot afford other necessities or save money for an emergency. Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are spending more than half their income on housing — a situation that puts them at risk of homelessness.

Colorado Center on Law and Policy began an effort to inject significant new funding into the budget for affordable housing in 2015. Yet, despite growing concerns, the legislature has only provided small amounts of funding for targeted high-cost populations such as people with mental illness and people leaving the criminal justice system. The legislature has not made a meaningful investment that would address the needs of the 275,000 ordinary Colorado households that are spending more than half of their income on rent.

For the fourth time in as many years, state legislators will have an opportunity to consider a bill that will help relieve the housing crisis without increasing taxes or redirecting funds from other priorities.

Developed by CCLP, House Bill 1322 would invest $30 million a year for three years in the Housing Development Grant Fund. That Fund provides grants and loans for a range of needs, including acquisition, renovation and construction of affordable housing, down-payment assistance, mobile home repair and rental assistance for a range of populations.

If HB 1322 is passed, Colorado Division of Housing would consult with stakeholders from urban and rural communities so that the funds address a variety of needs throughout the state. The legislation reflects input of stakeholders from urban and rural areas, convened by Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate.

HB 1322 doesn’t rely on taxpayer dollars or tap into the state budget. Funding will come from the unclaimed property trust fund. This fund holds dormant bank accounts, securities and life insurance proceeds and other abandoned property. While Colorado’s state treasurer makes a tremendous effort to find the owners of these abandoned accounts, hundreds of millions of dollars in the fund remain unclaimed. HB 1322 would put a fraction of that money to good use solving an urgent problem: the lack of affordable housing.

Sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, Sen. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Don CoramHB 1322 has been endorsed by the Urban Land Conservancy, Enterprise Community Partners, Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties, Inc., League of Women Voters, Tourism Industry Association of Colorado, Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Housing Colorado, Colorado Apartment Association, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Commissioners and Counties Acting Together, Habitat for Humanity Colorado, Interfaith Alliance, Boulder Housing Partners, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, city of Boulder, The Denver Foundation, Center for Health Progress, Colorado Senior Lobby, Colorado Bankers Association, 9to5, Denver Metro Fair Housing Center, Together Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, Denver Metro Fair Housing Center, Together Colorado and Wells Fargo Bank.

Legislators should also pass House Bill 1245. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman, and Sens. Julie Gonzales and Mike Foote, this legislation would increase funding for affordable housing by limiting the amount of sales tax revenue Colorado’s largest retailers can keep as their “fee” for collecting the tax. The additional revenue would be transferred to the same housing fund within the Department of Local Affairs, and also would be used to preserve or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado. HB 1245 would provide roughly $23 million for housing in the first year and $45 million to $50 million per year thereafter.

Both HB 1322 and HB 1245 will help us begin to address the lack of affordable housing in targeted and creative ways without affecting taxpayers or other funding priorities. Both measures deserve support. Together, these bills could help thousands of Coloradans better afford a home so they can devote more of their hard-earned money to other essential needs.

Claire Levy is executive director of Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that researches, develops and advocates for policies that improve family economic security and health care for all Coloradans. 

Original Article: A couple of bills to boost affordable housing — without a tax hike

Julie Reiskin quoted in Denverite regarding affordable housing for people with developmental.disabilities

“Julie Reiskin, executive director of the advocacy group Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, is not involved with Stepping Stone. Reiskin has an adult child with a disability and understands the concerns parents like Barbara Ziegler and Arendt have for their children.

“Some kind of permanent affordable housing is what they need,” Reiskin said. “What you’re talking about is someone with very low income.””

https://denverite.com/2019/04/08/parents-raise-funds-to-build-an-affordable-apartment-complex-where-people-with-developmental-disabilities-can-live-independently/

CCDC POSITION ON SB19-182

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Logo
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Logo

1385 S. Colorado Blvd.  Bldg. A, Ste. 610

Denver, Colorado 80222

03.839.1775

www.ccdconline.org

Julie Reiskin

Executive Director

jreiskin@ccdconline.org

720.961.4261 (Direct)

303.648.6262 (Fax)

 

 

After a great deal of deliberation, cautious debate, legal advice, research, and consultation, CCDC has decided to actively support SB 182, which would repeal Colorado’s death penalty.  We deliberated carefully and at length as to whether or not the bill raised an issue crucial to disability rights and, if so if there was a legitimate reason to urge repeal while maintaining our ongoing opinion that people with disabilities should take full and equal responsibility.  With the help of our legal team, we decided that the answer was firmly “YES” to both questions.

I wish now to focus on some salient issues brought forth from our discussions and analysis.

  • The death penalty falls heavily on the disability community writ large. “As of June 2014, approximately 32 of the last 100 people subject to capital punishment in the United States demonstrated evidence of an intellectual disability.  During that same period, approximately 53 of the last 100 people sentenced to the death penalty demonstrated symptoms or diagnoses of mental illness. Expanding the pool to include individuals who have demonstrated diminished capacity (such as youthful offenders individuals with traumatic brain injuries, who are not included in either of these categories despite still-developing brains and brain injuries having similar effects on the defendant’s culpability, and, therefore, suitability for the death penalty, the list grows to 87 of the last 100.”
  • Further, although there have been legal advancements that might alter these statistics in the future, the lack of a standard has left state governments floundering in the search for solutions and drawn in the Supreme Court, which has issued a long and winding path of decisions.  Beginning with Atkins v. Virginia, the Court has held that it was a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments” to execute a person with an intellectual impairment.  However, the Court has also left it up to state authority to determine how to determine if a person indeed has such an impairment. Subsequent cases show that this has left states unequal in the application of the death penalty and left adrift.  Clear but inflexible rules, such as those that rely solely on IQ scores, have been struck down.
  • The Texas Court of Appeals, which applied a test it had developed in a case called Ex Parte Briseño that was based on a mixture of medical standards from 1992 and the Texas court’s conclusions as to “wh[en] a consensus of Texas citizens would agree that a person should be exempt from the death penalty[,]” was struck down as reliant upon outdated standards that amounted to a mixture of lay misperceptions and stereotypes.  In this time of uncertainty of standards, hyper-prevalence of people with disabilities on death row across the nation, and despite being in a state that uses the death penalty as rarely as Colorado (once since 1967), we argue that Colorado’s own standard on determining intellectual impairment is so high, that an indigent person with a disability and an overworked public defender is too likely to fall through the cracks (and on to death row) for this issue to be ignored. A ban would ensure that no person with a disability, regardless of whether the individual could meet the “clear and convincing evidence” standard under Colorado law, would be put to death.

Support of a ban would show that CCDC stands in solidarity with groups against whom the death penalty has been historically weaponized.

Community Foundation, Boulder County: GRANTEE SPOTLIGHT: COLORADO CROSS-DISABILITY COALITION

Community Foundation -Boulder Logo
Community Foundation -Boulder Logo

 

Advocating for disability rights, Jose at the State Capitol in 2018
Advocating for disability rights, Jose at the State Capitol in 2018

Advocating for disability rights, the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) – a grantee of your Community Foundation – advances social justice for people with all types of disabilities.

“What do we mean by ‘cross-disability?’” says Executive Director Julie Reiskin. “We believe that people with different types of disability have more in common than we think. So rather than focusing on a single disability, we work with individuals, service providers, businesses, and government agencies to ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights and equal access – regardless of what their individual disabilities may be.”
Put another way, according to the CCDC website – from Down syndrome to cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and autism, to people with brain injuries, people with mental illness, and those who are blind or deaf, and more – “our arms, our hearts, and our services are open wide. We know those of us with disabilities have a lot to offer.”

 

Julie Reiskin, advancing social justice for people with all types of disabilities.
Julie Reiskin, advancing social justice for people with all types of disabilities.
“As a social justice organization, our efforts are broadly-based,” continues Julie, also noting that the CCDC is a member of OneStrongVoice.org, a statewide collaboration among advocates to coordinate messaging around disability issues, from quality and choice to data and care coordination. “Our work is organized by the way our government works – the three branches of government – and we strongly adhere to the idea ‘nothing about us, without us.’”
Indeed, the CCDC is the go-to organization for people with all types of disabilities who need assistance advocating for themselves and others. CCDC is also the go-to organization for many Colorado policymakers who seek to involve the disability community, and who need accurate information or assistance with outreach. “At the state level, we work to create good laws…and stop the bad ones. And we work to enforce laws and policies, also through outreach and education,” Julie explains. “On the federal level, we’ve done a lot of work around saving Medicaid.”
Why Medicaid? “Isn’t that the […] program that has no good doctors, where you have to wait forever to get anything done? Isn’t that a program with endless red tape?” Julie asks hypothetically in a CCDC blog post. “Because without Medicaid, people with disabilities on Medicare are denied necessary services. They cannot get a wheelchair that works outdoors, because Medicare only covers the kind of wheelchair needed for use in the home.”
Meanwhile, a few ways in which the CCDC helps people with disabilities to help themselves include:
  • access to healthcare – the CCDC helps identify what programs individuals may qualify for;
  • reasonable accommodation to access services or at a job – the CCDC provides information about individuals’ rights;
  • helping eyewitnesses understand whether a law or rule was broken, and what can be done to solve a problem; and
  • referrals to government agencies for individuals who are denied access to services or facilities in violation of the ADA.
Additionally, “When you want to become active on behalf of the disability community, we can provide training and help you find out what type of work feeds your passion.”
Julie and Lisa Duran with Puppy 10-3-18
Julie and Lisa Duran with Puppy 10-3-18
“We do a lot of coalition work, bringing people together,” says Julie of the membership organization. “None of us can do this work alone.” Membership is free, and is open to people with disabilities and their allies. Visit the CCDC website for more information, and to join!
Joe Beaver 2018 Gang of 19 Tribute at the State Capitol
Joe Beaver 2018 Gang of 19 Tribute at the State Capitol

Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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