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In the modern courtroom, a judge is as likely to encounter Watson and Crick as Brandeis and Cardozo, despite the fact that the jurist's formal education in science may have ended with high school chemistry. But in an era when science is bombarding civil and criminal courts and judges are frequently asked to ponder theories posited by expert witnesses, more jurists are going back to school for crash courses in genetics and other sciences.

In the legal stratosphere where Supreme Court justices sit, racism may appear to be largely a thing of the past. But down on the ground, where citizens and law enforcement encounter each other daily, race still matters. That is the key finding of an extensive report issued last week on the prosecutorial practices of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, one of the biggest and busiest in the country.

Three phony real estate brokers were indicted for extorting thousands of dollars from more than 20 Hispanic immigrants in a Washington Heights apartment scam, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Wednesday. Bronx residents Juan Valoy, 35, Elizabeth Adrian Perez, 30, and Ricardo Gonzalez, 36, were brought before a judge on allegations they showcased Washington Heights apartments, accepted payments and later delayed move-in dates or ignored victims' calls, the district attorney said.

DA Vance announced the indictment of Juan Valoy, Elizabeth Adrian Perez, and Ricardo Gonzalez for fraudulently collecting thousands of dollars from more than 20 victims of a Washington Heights apartment scam that targeted Hispanic immigrants. The defendants are charged in an indictment in New York State Supreme Court with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and Grand Larceny in the Third and Fourth Degrees.

Renegade contractors hired hairdressers and bellhops from craigslist to act as safety inspectors at city construction sites, according to charges filed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Richard Marini and Richard Sfraga, managed consulting firm Avanti, which purported to provide licensed site safety managers for active construction projects. But an investigation by the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) with assistance from the New York County District Attorney’s Office (DANY) found that between 2012 and 2014, Avanti and NYCB Engineering Group, LLC, falsified more than 450 documents at 40 construction sites across Manhattan.