In a 5-4 ruling on Salinas vs. Texas, the SCOTUS ruled that silence can be used in court. (PDF)
Without being placed in custody or receiving Miranda warnings, Genovevo Salinas voluntarily answered some of a police officer’s questions about a murder, but fell silent when asked whether ballistics testing would match his shotgun to shell casings found at the scene of the crime. During his trial in Texas state court, and over his objection, the prosecution used his failure to answer the question as evidence of guilt. He was convicted, and both the State Court of Appeals andCourt of Criminal Appeals affirmed, rejecting his claim that the prosecution’s use of his silence in its case in chief violated the Fifth Amendment.
Analysis on SCOTUSblog
posted by dukes909
on Jun 18, 2013 -
Full opinion (dissent at page 33):
In what is arguably the most important criminal procedure case the Supreme Court has decided in decades, the Court today announced its 5-4 holding in Maryland v. King.
The majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy, held that the 4th Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested (but not convicted) of serious crimes.
posted by eenagy
on Jun 3, 2013 -
In Reluctant Defense of the Curmudgeon Malcontents.
A Baltimore-area attorney explains how online marketing is hurting the legal profession: There is for the conscientious ethical attorney a balance between eremitic life in a Byzantine-era monastery and nonsense online carney barking, but none of these non-attorney folks deserve a seat at the table in that discussion. And the more you see of the online marketing nonsense that's out there, the more sympathetic you become to people with poor home training who reject that nonsense in language you wouldn't want uttered aloud in your grandmother’s house of worship.
posted by Cash4Lead
on May 8, 2013 -
Small Print, Big Problem (part I)
Imagine you’ve clicked on your computer screen to accept a contract to purchase a good or service—a contract, you only realize later, that’s straight out of Kafka. The widget you’ve bought turns out to be a nightmare. You take to Yelp.com to complain about your experience—but lo, according to the contract you have given up your free speech rights to criticize the product. Let’s also say, in a fit of responsibility, (a bit fantastic, I know) you happened to have printed out this contract before you “signed” it, though you certainly hadn’t read through the thing, which is written, literally, on a “twenty-seventh grade” reading level. Well, you read it now (perhaps with the help of a friend who’s completed the twenty-seventh grade). And you see that there was nothing in the contract limiting your right to free speech at the moment you signed it. That part was added later. Your friend with the twenty-seventh-grade education points to the clause in the contract in which you’ve granted this vendor-from-hell the right to modify the terms of the contract, unilaterally, at any time into the vast limitless future. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on May 1, 2013 -
the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed
the lower court decision (Cariou v Prince
) determining that 25 of the 30 Richard Prince Canal Zone
paintings using appropriated images from Patrick Cariou's Yes Rasta
book fall under Fair Use. The remaining 5 paintings were remanded back to the District Court to determine if they also fall under the Fair Use Doctrine with the now clarified proper standard. previously
posted by snaparapans
on Apr 25, 2013 -
When it hits you, no matter how much you expect it, it comes as a surprise — a literal shock, like a baseball bat swung hard and squarely into the small of your back. That sensation — which is actually two sharp steel barbs piercing your skin and shooting electricity into your central nervous system — is followed by the harshest, most violent charlie horse you can imagine coursing through your entire body. With the pain comes the terrifying awareness that you are completely helpless. You cannot move. You lose control of almost everything and the only place you can go is down, face first to the floor.
That’s what it feels like to be hit with a Taser.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Apr 5, 2013 -
"India's supreme court has ruled against Swiss drug giant Novartis in a landmark case
that activists say will protect access to cheap generic drugs in developing nations." [more inside]
posted by vidur
on Apr 1, 2013 -
, the latest project of the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation
, is an easy to navigate comprehensive database of activities from all state capitols that makes it easy to find your state lawmaker, review their votes, search for legislation, track bills and much more.
posted by joedan
on Mar 2, 2013 -
Makers: Women Who Make America
is a sweeping 3-hour documentary of the movement for women's equality in the last half of the twentieth century. Airing this month on US public television, it's accompanied by an online archive of videos
of interviews with individual women in leadership across a variety of fields. Leaders and activists, celebrities and pioneers, and everyday women retell the story of their awakening, organizing, and world-changing efforts.
posted by Miko
on Feb 28, 2013 -
Historically the United States (on a state by state basis) has given almost complete freedom to parents to name their children, both first name and surname, with results like "Fly-fornication," "Mahershalalhashbaz," "Encyclopedia Britannia," "States Rights" (who was killed in battle as an officer for the confederacy), "Trailing Arbutus Vines" and many more. (Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights
, Carlton F.W. Larson, 2011 [SSRN
]). In October 2012, however, New York courts made two interesting rulings that reflect limitations on renaming, if not naming, rights, for both adults and children. [more inside]
posted by Salamandrous
on Feb 27, 2013 -
Sexual Assault In The U.S. Military
is the focus of a serious contender for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards. The Invisible War
is a groundbreaking investigative doc that sheds light on the under-reported epidemic of sexual abuse against female members of the military
, as well as the lack of punitive action in these crimes: of the 8 percent of sexual assault cases that are prosecuted in the military, only 2 percent result in convictions. A female soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
By official estimates
from The Department of Defense, 19,000 violent sexual crimes occurred in the military in 2011 alone
. Sexual assault is grossly under-reported
in the military. In 2011, 3,191 assaults were reported when its likely that somewhere between 19,000 and 22,000 assaults occurred.
The women in the film speak about the physical and mental abuse they underwent while serving in the military - and about the the lawsuit they joined and the verdict in which their experiences were labeled "occupational hazards".
The film is already garnering much attention, especially as front-running Oscar Nominee - and lawmakers are taking notice. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic
on Feb 19, 2013 -
My Eight Years with a Gun
"If the government was powerless to stop this onslaught, then the gun in my pocket was a declaration that the city had broken the social contract."
posted by bitmage
on Feb 7, 2013 -
Since first appearing on the scene in 1977, Judge Dredd
has been the comic-book world’s answer to Dirty Harry, serving as judge, jury and executioner in a dystopian future.
Now, in the latest issue of 2000AD, titled “Closet,” it appears as if the legendary lawman is coming out of the closet.
On the first page of the comic, Dredd is shown sharing a passionate kiss with another man
, with a caption reading: “I guess, somehow, I’d always known I was gay. I was just too scared to admit it.”
Note: these links contain SPOILERS
. [more inside]
posted by chavenet
on Jan 26, 2013 -
Nicole Ryan, a Nova Scotia teacher, offered a hit man $25,000 to bump off her husband because the police would not protect her from his abuse
(longer, audio only
). In her first 2010
trial, where she raised the defense of duress, she was aquitted; the Crown's 2011
appeal of that acquittal was dismissed, and her third 2013
trial resulted in a stay. But the victim didn't go on the stand to tell his side of the story. [more inside]
posted by saucysault
on Jan 22, 2013 -
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 3, 2013 -
Can autonomous vehicles navigate the law? This year has been full of big news about the progress of self-driving cars. They are currently street legal in three states and Google says that on a given day, they have a dozen autonomous cars on the road. This August, they passed 300,000 driver-hours. In Spain this summer, Volvo drove a convoy of three cars through 200 kilometers of desert highway with just one driver and a police escort. Cadillac's newest models park themselves. The writing, one might think, is on the wall. But objects in the media may be farther off than they appear.
posted by modernnomad
on Dec 14, 2012 -
In October, 18-year old high school senior Ryan Romo was arrested
for the sexual assault of a child (someone 16 or under, by TX state law).
On October 31, CultureMap Dallas's managing editor, Claire St. Amant published an article
asking, "Is this Highland Park baseball star a rapist?" St. Amant ended her article, stating: If it's a case of impulsive teenage decisions, remorse and guilt, then no one suffers more than 18-year-old Ryan Romo. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Nov 26, 2012 -
What does proper authorization to access a computer system mean?
Robert Graham of Errata Security writes about the recent conviction of Andrew Auernheimer (aka weev)
for “hacking” AT&T. Two years ago, weev discovered a bug
in AT&T's website that exposed the email addresses of customers with iPads. According to weev, the flaw was reported as per responsible disclosure practices by first informing AT&T before bringing it public. However the FBI investigated and arrested him under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). On 20th November 2012, he was found guilty
of identity fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization.
posted by destrius
on Nov 21, 2012 -
Early English Laws
is a project to publish online and in print new editions and translations of all English legal codes, edicts, and treatises produced up to the time of Magna Carta 1215. [more inside]
posted by jedicus
on Nov 21, 2012 -