Homeowners are using a little known loophole
in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
Brazil's supreme court recognises same sex unions.
The Brazilian Supreme Court voted 10-0 (one abstention) yesterday to recognise same-sex civil unions as of equal legal validity to marriage/ with "stable" same-sex couples now able to gain certificates that allow access to equal legal rights. "Discrimination generates hatred," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, who wrote the ruling. [more inside]
Matt and Jamie Danielson, with the aid of their bankruptcy attorney, were able to use a little known loophole in the Iowa law to void their mortgage and own their house outright after making just one payment
However, further investigation has uncovered some unsavory events in the couple's past
Ever wanted to remember all the justices of the Supreme Court, past and present? Well it's a whole lot easier if they are animals. Dan Schofield and Alice DuBois are illustrating all 112 justices as various critters, as well as several landmark cases.
Fruit of the poisonous tree
is a legal term used to describe illegally gained evidence. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence is tainted, then anything gained from it is as well.
For the uninitiated, such terms used as described make for odd introductions to supreme court arguments (PDF warning) [more inside]
As Amazon and the RIAA go head to head over the Amazon Cloud Player
(esentially Dropbox with streaming) it seems like a good time to recap the turbulent history of the humble MP3
, upender of the music industry business model.
Constable Adam Josephs of the Toronto Police
is now known across the internet as "Officer Bubbles" for his questionable shenanigans
during the recent G20 summit protests
is now suing YouTube
for hosting videos
related to in incident.
Ira Glass does an atypical bit of investigative reporting
about an especially punitive drug court in rural Georgia. [more inside]
There is a constitutional crisis
in Cheeseland. If you haven't been paying attention
, WI governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Senate and Assembly passed a controversial bill and signed it
. [more inside]
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders
- "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via
; previously on arms contractors
What is a photocopier?
Ten pages of Ohio Supreme Court testimony where a Cuyahoga County, Ohio, office worker deliberately tries to muddy the waters in a deposition. Hilarity ensues. "If you don't know what that means in an office setting, please tell the court you don't know what it means in an office setting to have a photocopying machine."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico
, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry
. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware
of the operation, and is investigating
. The ATF is going to have a review
of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
Scott Horton at Harpers.org writes about Julian P. Heicklen
, a 78-year-old retired chemistry professor from New Jersey, now faces federal criminal charges for informing people entering the federal courthouse about the doctrine of jury nullification
. Scott Horton's post is a response to the New York Times column on Mr. Heicklen
. [more inside]
UK respite and foster parents may no longer be homophobic, even when it is due to religious belief.
An English Christian couple acting as foster parents have been banned from further placements due to their statement that they could not tell children that homosexual relationships were of equal value, with judges stating that their claims that adoption should still be allowed as a "a travesty of reality
". Reaction from the UK religious right (such as it is) is venomous
. [more inside]
Shaken-Baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court.
Earlier this month, the UK Crown Prosecution Service issued a guidance
on "shaken baby"
allegations. Emily Bazelon
looks at the medical and legal gray areas in US prosecutions in this week's New York Times Magazine.
An editorial last fall by law professor Deborah Turkheimer here
touched on her own research into the issue [PDF],
which she calls "the next Innocence Project;" it was met with some controversy
by medical professionals.
South Dakota Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls), is sponsoring a bill
] which would require all citizens to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense” within six months of turning age 21. Rep. Wick said he is introducing the bill to prove a point that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional
] [more inside]
One year after the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
decision, which, overturning over 100 years of precedent, opened a floodgate of corporate money into election campaigns, Virginia Lyons (D-VT), has introduced legislation
(full text of bill not yet available, articles here
) in the Vermont State Senate to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly state that corporations are not
This would overturn the controversial notion of corporate personhood
which was established in the 1800s. Controversial not only for the unequal distribution of rights and responsibilities among humans and corporations, some, like Thom Hartmann
), have claimed that the notion of corporate personhood was established as an intentional misinterpretation
of the decision as recorded by court reporter J.C. Bancroft Davis, former president of the Newburgh & New York Railway Co. [more inside]
Right before the 10th anniversary
of the first same-sex marriage in Canada, Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled
that a proposed law allowing provincial marriage commissioners to refuse to wed same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
gives its thoughts on the decision and the social context surrounding it.
On August 30, 1978 a Polish airliner was hijacked
and redirected to Tempelhof airport in West Berlin. Torn between a policy of supporting defection and a recently-signed anti-hijacking treaty, the West German government ceded jurisdiction over the defendants to the United States government, which was still technically an occupying power and had an interest in the case because of the US Air Force Base at Tempelhof. The result was the one and only decision rendered by the United States Court for Berlin, United States v. Tiede
. [more inside]
Law professor Susan Crawford takes a moment
to explain to all of us why we should be wary of Verizon's decision to suspend FiOS rollout across the country
and the resulting likely domination of the high-speed internet access biz by the cable companies in a short (for a legal journal) paper in the Yale Law and Policy Review. [more inside]
Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years
. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
Jonathan Blattmachr, one of the country's leading estates and trusts experts
, feels that helping his clients reduce their tax liability
helps the IRS close loopholes that he and his colleagues use. As with most attorneys, there are some clients who weren't happy with his work
, but Mr. Blattmachr pushes on with his efforts
Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left.
The liberal wing is no longer drowned out by Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.
Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’.
'A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.
Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.
They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.
The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.
No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.'
How do you tax religious communists engaged in capitalism through an exempt religious corporation? The Stahl Hutterian Brethren is a 65-member community of Hutterites
that runs a 30,000 acre farm in Washington. The community is incorporated as a religious corporation. Its members give all their "time, labor, services, earnings, and energies" to the community. They disavow individual property ownership, draw no salary, and do not contribute to or collect Social Security benefits. Instead, the community provides for its members' personal needs. And now it is the subject of the most fascinating 9th Circuit tax case [PDF]
you'll read this year!
But before you dig into the 9th Circuit opinion, here's a great summary and commentary by law professor Shaun Martin
. The case addresses the very tricky question of whether, as employees of a non-profit religious corporation, the community members should be allowed to deduct their living expenses, which are paid for by the corporation (they're communists, after all). Tricky additional fact: The 65-member community is all one big family.
The radical human rights
and subversive hacking
group known only as Anonymous
has struck again. In a retaliatory campaign dubbed Operation Avenge Assange
, the group is conducting distributed denial-of-service attacks against perceived opponents of Wikileaks. PayPal
, the Swedish prosecutor's office
, and even Senator Joe Lieberman
are among the targeted.
In the face of this onslaught PayPal has partially capitulated
: agreeing to release funds from the Wikileaks account. [more inside]
C-SPAN airs Prop 8 appellate trial live.
Prop 8 was the ballot measure that removed the right to marry from same-sex couples. Covered previously, previously
, ZOMG PREVIOUSLY
Expect fun arguments about standing!
Is Batman a State Actor? Could you pass a Mutant Registation Act? Law And The Multiverse
considers legal matters in a world of capes, supes, and alternate dimensions. (via Mefiprojects
Considerations of gender (in)equality in the Dutch workplace. [more inside]
Back in May this year, British Twitter user Paul Chambers
was found guilty
of sending a 'menacing electronic communication'.
The communication in question? A Twitter update written when stuck at an airport, saying the following: "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" [more inside]
The National Library of Medicine has put a selection of murder pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s
These pamphlets have been a rich source for historians of medicine, crime novelists, and cultural historians, who mine them for evidence to illuminate the history of class, gender, race, the law, the city, crime, religion and other topics. The murder pamphlets in the NLM's collection address cases connected to forensic medicine, especially cases in which doctors were accused of committing-or were the victims of-murder. [more inside]
A third year law student at Boston College doesn't like the prospects he has after graduation, so he decided to ask the dean for a refund
Defamation by Twitter
Broadway actor Marty Thomas has filed papers in court asking that the identify of the "bwayanonymous" Twitter account (cache
) be revealed, after the account made a post alleging Thomas has crabs.