Choosing A Laptop Data Recovery Service for Broken Hard Drives

Laptop computers are not perfect and once in a while, they will present real problems. Some of these include malfunctions and the worst has to be a broken hard drive. Broken hard drives are common and if you have been a pretty accomplished user of computers then you understand that this is inevitable sometimes. It is important to be prepared and protect your computer but it is also equally essential that you have a plan in case your hard drive breaks down, and you require laptop data recovery. When it happens, you need to select an effective, and affordable data recovery service company to handle this process.

No chance recovering these drives!

The company you choose to recover the information from your broken hard drive should be experienced in the field. Experience is important in all industries as it results in faster and precise actions. Make sure that the technicians handling your broken hard drive are qualified and certified by the necessary authorities. Choose a data recovery service company using their track record and not what they say they can do. Prior to handing your hard drive over to any technician,

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Morality And Legal Ethics

Our opinion-makers still look for answers, while apparently believing that justice is equivalent to the infield-fly rule.

This interesting notion was offered, a few weeks ago, by a friend who teaches at the war college attached to one of our military services: His students were all seasoned veterans, in their forties; they had all seen military action; but they were still, twenty years later, the people who had been college students in the 1960s, and they had absorbed much of the secular religion that affected other young people at the time. They were, on the whole, skeptical of the notion of moral truths that held in all times and places. They had served their country in the military, but they were far from clear that there was anything about the American Republic that truly justified the risk of their lives. They could not really say, with Lincoln, that the right of human beings to govern themselves was a right that was “applicable to all men and all times.” These soldiers of their country were more disposed to believe, with other people their age, that the understanding of what was right and wrong was always “relative” to a particular “culture” or country. They would not claim, then, that the political regime in America was morally superior to that of the Soviet Union or Vietnam. They would settle for the far more modest claim that our political way of life was at least “ours.” And on that basis, we were warranted in hazarding our lives to preserve it.

In this construction, of course, the principles that defined the character of the American Republic would be no different from the rules that marked tbe character of a club, or defined a regime of play. The rules of the American Constitution, in other words, were hardly distinguishable from the rules of

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Argentina, Chile And Watching Our Own Rights

The degree of criminal activity in Argentina’s “dirty war” was never really measured completely, but it’s clear the numbers of “disappeared” were absolutely shocking to the world. Although some justice was served when, after a scrupulously fair trial, five members of those juntas were sent to prison, the fact is that it scarred the country and the peoples’ faith in government forever.

Unfortunately, Alfonsin’s successor as President, Carlos Saul Menem, had pardoned most members of the military and expressed his intention to pardon all but one of the officers still facing punishment. (Gen. Carlos Guillermo Suarez Mason, whose command in Buenos Aires was marked by surpassing cruelty, is exempt from any pardon, having earned the contempt of his military colleagues by fleeing Argentina when Alfonsin took office. He was apprehended in California, which he had entered as an illegal alien, and is now in jail in Buenos Aires awaiting trial.) Yet with all the setbacks, Argentina achieved–in the words of my colleague Juan Mendez of Americas Watch, an Argentina lawyer who is himself a former prisoner of Suarez Mason–both “truth and partial justice.”

Last April 24, six weeks after he took office, President Patricio Aylwin of Chile established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As its name indicates, the commission does not consider the securing of justice to be within its power. Instead, the Chilean state’s inability to punish those responsible for the crimes of the Pinochet era, including Pinochet himself, is portrayed as the pursuit of a virtue: reconciliation. The architects of the commission derived the view that justice is beyond their means, partly from their close study of the Argentine experience and also that of Uruguay. In the latter case, a popular referendum in April 1989 upheld a law passed three years earlier under which the armed forces were granted amnesty for crimes committed during the years of military rule, 1973 to 1985. One factor in the voting–though it is impossible to know how heavily this weighed–was fear that a new coup might be launched if the law were overturned. The turmoil caused by the military uprisings against Alfonsin in neighboring Argentina no doubt contributed to that fear. As a consequence, in Uruguay there has been no official acknowledgment of the dictatorship’s crimes, which included the systematic torture of thousands, and no one has been brought to justice for those crimes. The Uruguayan experience also advances the unfortunate proposition that a popular referendum is an appropriate way to decide questions of justice.

In Chile, the difficulty of securing justice is exacerbated by the constitutional arrangement that Pinochet devised and that permitted a peaceful transition from his dictatorship to Aylwin’s elected civilian government. That arrangement denies Aylwin authority over the armed forces (Pinochet himself is guaranteed his post as commander of the army); it empowers the military to appoint certain members of the Senate; it maintains military court jurisdiction over many cases that belong in civilian court; and it forbids the overhaul of the Supreme Court. As a result, a 1978 amnesty law decreed by Pinochet and upheld by the Supreme Court remains in place. It bars prosecutions for the slaughter that commenced with the coup and continued throughout the years Pinochet was consolidating his power. (By contrast, after Alfonsin took office in Argentina the Supreme Court was reconstituted, and the law decreed by the generals to pardon their own crimes was invalidated by the courts and the Congress.) Finally, there is an extra-constitutional hurdle: Pinochet has publicly threatened that the state of law will end if any of his men are touched by the new government.

Chile’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which includes outstanding advocates of human rights among its members, such as Jaime Castillo and Jose Zalaquett, both forcibly exiled by Pinochet, must complete its work by January. Undoubtedly, it will fulfill the task assigned to it by President Aylwin: to present “the most complete possible picture of the most serious violations of human rights committed between 11 September 1973 and 11 March 1990 [the period of military dictatorship].” It can also be counted on to recommend reparations for the victims and legal and administrative steps to prevent a recurrence of gross violations of human rights. What its mandate does not permit, however, is any pronouncement of individual responsibility for those crimes. This is the line that cannot be crossed by Chile’s democratic government.

By now, a consensus has emerged in the human rights movement worldwide that while both truth and justice are needed to deal with past abuses of the magnitude of those that occurred in Chile, truth is the more important. That is, the government itself should acknowledge and fully disclose the crimes perpetrated by those who exercised power. Yet though justice ranks after truth, in Chile there should be no pretending that “reconciliation” at the point of Pinochet’s guns is a satisfactory substitute. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will serve the cause of truth and justice if its report states clearly that justice cannot be done in Chile only because the civilian government lacks the power to see that it is done; and the commission should call on the government to make every effort to curb the power of the armed forces so that, at least in the future, justice can be done.

A Foreigner Speaks On The Bill Of Rights And The Supreme Court

Coming from a country without a bill of rights, I was eager to experience its benefits and come to understand its operation, especially the ways judges place limits on rights and on their own powers. Countries like Canada and South Africa, which have only recently constitutionalized a bill of rights, have set down a catalogue of rights but then expressly conceded the power of the elected legislators to limit the exercise of those rights in a manner that is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on freedom and equality. To lawyers in the United States, these words of qualification seem to take away with one hand what was given with the other. The courts of these other countries, of course, have always looked to U.S. jurisprudence for guidance in the interpretation of key rights and their limits. American judges rarely look elsewhere.

Though the U.S. Constitution does not contain any similar words of permissive limitation on the rights and liberties set down, the Supreme Court has long accepted that the ban on deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process requires the judges to strike a balance between individual liberty and the demands of organized society. They say the balance is struck by honoring the traditions from which the country developed as well as the traditions from which it broke. This has meant that elected legislators have not had the last say in striking the balance. It has instead been the prerogative of unelected judges, who are free to determine the relative weight of entrenched and broken traditions in defining the national ethos, once they have been chosen by a President and run the gauntlet of Senate confirmation hearings. But what is weighed on the other side of the balance to individual liberty? Political liberalism in contemporary America dictates that there can be no thick notion of the good. There can be no agreement on the common good. The public interest, it often seems, is a figment of the collectivist imagination.

Weighing a Thin Public Good – in Practice.

What then are the demands of organized society? How does the Supreme Court determine the values of a society that has both maintained and broken traditions throughout its history? There is never any evidence of these historic traditions that can be put before the court, but only bold assertions. For example, when the Court was reconsidering Roe v. Wade four years ago, the attorney for Planned Parenthood said the judges had to “look very generally at whether the nation’s history and tradition has respected interests of bodily integrity and autonomy and whether there has been a tradition of respect of equality of women.” The attorney insisted that guidance in determining the scope of liberty was not to be obtained by looking at whether or not abortion was lawful at the time of the adoption of the 14th Amendment.

In trying to weigh the balance without articulating what is on the other scale of the balance, judges have tried to convert questions of substantive content into questions of judicial procedure using content-neutral categories or, worse, indeterminate value judgments. It all depends on whether the right in question is “fundamental” or whether the petitioner is from a “suspect class” (for example, a classification based on race). In redistricting cases, the courts are now required to scrutinize computer-drawn, octopus-shaped electoral boundaries to see whether in constructing minority-majority electorates the state has drawn the boundaries with their “customary districting principles.” In one recent case the bench, puzzling over how the boundaries became so contorted, was reminded by counsel: “You must remember that politics is a contact sport.” So it has always customarily been.

In scrutinising the abortion codes of the various states, the Court now attempts to determine if the law places an “undue burden” on the woman making her decision. There is no agreement among the Justices as to what constitutes an undue burden. When Justice Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade, said, “Roe’s requirement of strict scrutiny as implemented through a trimester framework should not be disturbed,” he lost out. The plurality of Justices O’Connor, Kennedy and Souter – whose thinking determines the outcome of any split decision on the present court – insisted: “The trimester framework no doubt was erected to ensure that the woman’s right to choose not become so subordinate to the State’s interest in promoting fetal life that her choice exists in theory but not in fact. We do not agree, however, that the trimester approach is necessary to accomplish this objective.” No wonder the conservatives on the court, led by Chief Justice Rehnquist, responded, “Roe continues to exist, but only in the way a store front on a western movie set exists: a mere facade to give the illusion of reality.”

The deeper illusion is that the U.S. Supreme Court can strike a balance between the woman’s right to choose and the state’s interest in promoting fetal life. The criterion of “undue burden” masks one of two things: either a political decision or the personal preference of the individual judge. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the middle votes of the present Court sought to consolidate the Court’s task by inviting “the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” And this in a country that remains the most politically polarized over abortion of any country in the world! As a foreigner privileged to sit and watch the Court in action over some months, I have no doubt this was not judicial conceit; it was a humble, failed attempt to discharge a mandate that can never be performed by unelected persons in a pluralistic, democratic society. Whatever the rights and wrongs of abortion may be, its legally permissible limits have been further politicized and rendered unresolvable in the United States precisely because the issue has been made a constitutional one.

Commencing his epic decision in Roe v. Wade, Justice Blackmun said, “Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and predilection.” The spectacular failure of this effort is found in Justice Blackmun’s last judicial utterance on the matter two decades later: “A woman’s right to reproductive choice is one of those fundamental liberties. Accordingly that liberty need not seek refuge at the ballot box…. I am 83 years old. I cannot remain on this Court forever, and when I do step down, the confirmation process of my successor well may focus on the issue before us today.” There is more than a dose of emotion and predilection in all that. The limits of the fundamental liberty depend not on the ballot box directly but on the view of the judge chosen and confirmed by those who do face the ballot box.

The Fallacy of Constitutionalizing an Issue.

It is a bold step to assume that by constitutionalizing an issue, everyone gains: the judges by becoming more important to the national life, the legislators by being able to sidestep the hard decisions, the unpopular and powerless by making gains across the board nationally that could not be achieved locally, and the citizenry generally by being assured that there is a sphere of personal conduct immune to invasion by the state. But there are other ways that can be less costly for all parties. And when the issue affects all, it may be an overly one-dimensional view of the human person to portray the issue as a conflict between the individual David and the Goliath state.

The most prominent case this last term has been the gay rights case from Colorado, Romer v. Evans. After three cities in Colorado enacted policies outlawing discrimination against gays, a statewide referendum was carried in the name of putting an end to special rights for special groups. The legal problem was that the citizen-initiated referendum inserted a very broad provision into the state constitution banning any branch of government from adopting a policy whereby sexual orientation could be the basis for a claim of discrimination. If gays were a “suspect class” or if “fundanmental rights” were in question, the Court would apply “strict scrutiny” to the state law, which inevitably has fatal consequences for such law. Colorado argued that gays are not a suspect class and therefore the state need only show that there is a rational basis for the law, such as maintaining uniform statewide laws for the protection of marriage or for discouraging homosexual activity. The gay rights groups argued that the issue was not one of special rights or special protection, but the right of every person to be free of arbitrary discrimination. Justice Scalia, in argument, put it as a case of reversing special laws that gave favored treatment to those engaging in homosexual activity.

Given that the Supreme Court in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick decided that the state could criminalize homosexual activity conducted in private by consenting adults, Justice Scalia asked, “Why can a State not take a step short of that and say, We’re not going to make it criminal, but on the other hand, we certainly don’t want to encourage it, and therefore we will neither have a State law giving special protection, nor will we allow any municipalities to give it special protection’?” Counsel was asked specifically, “Are you asking us to overrule Bowers v. Hardwick?” She replied, “No, I am not.” This shows just how fickle is the present law of privacy in the United States: A woman exercising her right to privacy can abort a fetus in which the state has an interest, but homosexuals engaged consensually in private sexual behavior have no similar right to privacy. And in the first gay rights case before the Supreme Court in 10 years, the Court, even when it asks, is not being invited to extend the right to privacy to gays by overruling Bowers v. Hardwick.

The majority in that case once again constitutionalized the issue with breathtaking particularity: “The issue presented is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy.” They found there is “in constitutional terms, no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy.” There is a constitutional right to abortion but not to consensual sodomy. In his strong dissent Justice Blackmun said the Court had refused to recognize “the fundamental interest all individuals have in controlling the nature of their intimate associations with others.” For him, the Constitution has sheltered certain rights associated with family “not because they contribute, in some direct and material way, to the general public welfare, but because they form so central a part of an individual’s life.”

The Supreme Court doesn’t know which way to turn in these controverted matters. Consider another case: In 1992 Senator Jesse Helms introduced at the last minute an amendment to the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act aimed at restricting the amount of indecent material carried on leased access channels and public access channels. The cable operators were required to ban or block indecent material, which could then be unscrambled only on written request from the consumer. In February the Supreme Court heard argument against the law. The free speech petitioners argued that the Government’s calculus ignored the crucial right of adult cable viewers to have access to a variety of ideas and experiences.

As for the protection of children, the petitioners claimed that the decision should lie with parents and not with government. They claimed strong, uncontroverted evidence that lock boxes offer the cable subscriber an easy method of avoiding unwanted programming. The choice being between the state and parents barring child access, the argument was that free speech could be protected by leaving the decision to the parents. The Justices questioned whether they could presume there was some parental inertia in this regard or whether they would require evidence of a lack of parental supervision. The next day the Montgomery County District Court heard evidence of an 11-year-old boy raping a 5-year-old girl. He had learned about having sex from watching the porno cable channel in his parents’ home. But in the United States the parents of both children will be guaranteed the right to watch what they want.

Judicial Gridlock vs. Legislative Responsibility.

Throughout the Court’s jurisprudence, as it has developed within this straitjacket of individual rights, is the notion that the person belongs only to himself and not to others or to society as a whole. By constitutionalizing individual rights and declining to qualify such rights in the interests of others, the United States has left the balancing of rights and interests increasingly to judges – while the judges have developed techniques to avoid balancing anything. It is a sustained gridlock. If a right is fundamental or if the law affects a suspect class, the individual’s claim is trump. But how does a judge determine if a right is fundamental or if the person is a member of a suspect class? There is no definitive test. It is a matter of judicial preference.

Women have the fundamental right to make the ultimate pregnancy before viability. Homosexuals do not have the fundamental right to conduct intimate relationships in the privacy of their own homes. If it ever comes to balancing competing rights or interests, the best the Supreme Court has been able to do is to ask whether an undue burden or substantial obstacle has been placed in the way of the individual. Having constitutionalized the questions, the Court has failed to provide a judicial method for balancing the incommensurable interests of the citizen as an independent individual and the citizen as a member of a society, each contributing well or adversely to the life of the other and to the common good.

There can be no getting away from a balancing of interests. Who best to do the weighing, the legislators elected by all or the judges nominated by Abe few? If I felt the United States was the freest possible place to live in, I would hold my peace. But here, freedom and security depend very much on individual initiative and personal wealth. I fear the Bill of Rights ethos not only quashes any sustained public discussion of the common good. It also inculcates the notion that rights are protected not because they contribute to the general public welfare but only “because they form so central a part of an individual’s life,” as Justice Blackmun put it.

One Australian state has also retained anti-sodomy laws. Though it has no bill of rights, Australia is a signatory to the First Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which permits citizens who have exhausted all domestic remedies to communicate with the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations in Geneva. In 1994 the committee found that the prohibition by law of consensual homosexual acts in private was a violation of the right to privacy in the international covenant. The covenant says, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy” and “Everyone has a right to the protection of law against such interference.” Responding to the committee’s finding, the Australian Federal Parliament passed a law that sexual conduct involving only consenting adults in private is not to be subject to any arbitrary interference with privacy. So homosexuals in Australia are guaranteed their privacy without judges having to constitutionalize the question. Politicians can weigh notions of individual liberties and public welfare and strike a balance. Judges are on thin ice when they try. In the United States, they are required to try very often.

Over time the American Bill of Rights has probably given politicians greater license to pass the buck to the Justices. It has allowed the legislative process to be more loose and inconsistent. Politicians can pass laws for the public display of the Ten Commandments knowing they will be struck down. They can wildly promise to ban abortion even in cases of rape, knowing that the courts will not permit it. Meanwhile they have satisfied their more fundamentalist constituents.

I return to Australia without any passionate desire to see the complex issues of die day constitutionalized, taken out of the hands of politicians and reserved to judges who will go to great lengths in judicial reasoning to avoid simply having to apply their own values in weighing the conflicting claims. I am delighted that the United States has a robust tradition for debating the issues from an individual rights perspective. In Australia, we do not have capital punishment. We do not interfere with the privacy of gays. We accord much the same level of protection to the fetus and the woman’s choice. We do not have judges as the final arbiters of abortion codes and redistricting maps. We allow government to restrict indecent material on television, and I do not lose too much sleep over that.

When under greatest pressure, the U.S. system, as Justice Blackmun admits, depends on just one vote. So too in Australia – only there the person with the one vote is elected and voting is compulsory. As ever, I will continue to look to the U.S. Supreme Court for a jurisprudence of individual rights. Your system can correct those of us with a parliamentary system that places more trust and accountability in the elected lawmakers who have to face all the people who come to the polling booth not just to exercise their right, but to perform their lawful duty. Vive la difference. Thank you, America, for the chance to learn from a different tradition in which the results are so often the same, reached by different routes. Your robust ideas on rights and freedom are an antidote to our populist notions of equality and the common good, all of which are needed for the healthy enjoyment of liberty in an organized society.

Does Litigation Support For Accountants Go Beyond The Limit?

As both courtroom witness and frequent lecturer on the CPA’s role in courts, Samuel Derieux, a retired Deloitte & Touche partner points out that “the accountant must be comfortable with the testimony to be given. If not, the accountant would be obliged to withdraw.”

It is essential that the accountant form his own judgments to avoid slipping into the role of advocate, he said.

When testimony becomes biased, the CPA’s objectivity can be challenged, putting his reputation at risk. And if jurors see the accountant as a ‘hired gun,’ the testimony would be discounted, he said.

Morton Levin, a retired CPA in Hollywood, Fla., who has been active in this specialty field, is among those alert to the dangers. “Too many times we have seen evidence of firms selling their opinions for an easy ride in this high revenue field.”

As an illustration of how delicate is the balance between objectivity and advocacy, Derieux recalls the testimony of one expert (not a CPA) who favors the upper or the lower range of costs or rate of return estimates depending on which side of a case he is representing.

Derieux says the basic approach ought to start with candid discussions between lawyer and CPA, covering the facts and identifying issues the lawyer seeks to prove.

Then the accountant should develop his testimony, interpreting rules and procedures according to his best professional judgment. And if the result hurts rather than helps the case, then the accountant should withdraw rather than modify his testimony.

Derieux advises having it out with the attorney in a free and open discussion.

“Let the lawyers tell you if your testimony is helpful,” he says. Never agree to testify until you have the opportunity to understand the case and determine that you will be comfortable with testimony that will be helpful to the side you are asked to help, he advises.

Sometimes, there is a middle ground, when the CPA cannot testify but agrees to act as consultant to the attorney. Because this engagement does not extend to third party use, technical standards permit helping the lawyer build his case without any public notice of the CPA’s participation.

Overall, concerns about advocacy attract wider attention as services to lawyers grow in popularity.

According to Monte Kaplan, technical director, AICPA management consulting division, this service — though only three or four years old — generate important amounts of revenue; 10 to 15 percent for Big Six firms and for small firms specializing in this niche, up to 30 percent of their revenue.

But no formal effort is underway to examine the need for more stringent standards. Kaplan believes that the three management consulting standards issued in 1991 provide adequate guidance.

“Nothing before the committee would suggest a need for additional behavioral guidance,” he said.

Lawyers seem to concur here. Reflecting a common opinion among attorneys, Lewis Cohen, a New York lawyer and accountant, avers that in the discovery process, the cross examination will uncover incomplete or contradictory evidence from the expert witness.