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No Marriage Until Gay Marriage Is Legal

The Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has voted to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.
posted by reenum on Apr 25, 2011 - 87 comments

Unfit counsel

"This conflict of interest hits at the heart of the attorney-client relationship." Robert Caulley has served 14 years of a life sentence for the murder of his parents, a crime he says he didn't commit. Some hope that unknown DNA found on a gun at the crime scene will prove his innocence, citing similar exonerations in other high-profile Ohio cases, but so far Caulley's attempts to revisit his case with further DNA testing have failed. But look, Caulley already had his day in court with his lawyer by his side, doing everything possible to clear him, right? So he thought -- until he learned that his defense attorney was sleeping with his wife during his trial.
posted by escabeche on Apr 21, 2011 - 20 comments

Iowa loophole voids mortgage

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.
posted by reenum on Apr 21, 2011 - 60 comments

A Fatwa Against Pets

The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners [more inside]
posted by PepperMax on Apr 19, 2011 - 34 comments

The Zoopreme Court is much cuter than the Supreme Court

Zoopreme Court 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.
posted by melissam on Apr 14, 2011 - 17 comments

Supreme Court: Suppressing fruit since 1920

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]
posted by AndrewKemendo on Apr 13, 2011 - 26 comments

The Brisk, Shady Sale of ‘Loosies’

With the crackdown on smoking and higher cigarette taxes in New York City, people who sell individual cigarettes, also known as loosies, are rapidly gaining new customers.
posted by reenum on Apr 5, 2011 - 69 comments

It's raining bytes

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.
posted by Artw on Apr 4, 2011 - 83 comments

Muzzle the Defense

The chances that a powerful person will make an error are much greater than those of a weak person. Scott Horton translates Benjamin Constant, references Robespierre, and offers insight on modern efforts to preclude meaningful trials in federal court. [more inside]
posted by fartknocker on Apr 2, 2011 - 20 comments

Officer Bubbles!

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. He is now suing YouTube for hosting videos related to in incident.
posted by long haired child on Apr 1, 2011 - 42 comments

Judge Amanda Williams's Very Bad Week

Ira Glass does an atypical bit of investigative reporting about an especially punitive drug court in rural Georgia. [more inside]
posted by jon1270 on Mar 31, 2011 - 106 comments

Constitutional Crisis in Curdistan

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]
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt on Mar 30, 2011 - 377 comments

Conviction

Betty Anne Waters's brother Kenny was sent to prison for first degree murder and armed robbery in 1982. Over the next 16 years, Betty Anne got her GED, college degree, and law degree, all in an effort to prove Kenny was innocent. With the assistance of the Innocence Project, Betty Anne was able to use DNA evidence to show Kenny was innocent. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Mar 24, 2011 - 28 comments

Deal of the Century

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)
posted by kliuless on Mar 21, 2011 - 69 comments

"If you feel stupid, it's not because I'm making you feel that way."

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."
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Mar 18, 2011 - 85 comments

ATF: Fast and Furious

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".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 7, 2011 - 66 comments

Jury nullification advocate accused of jury tampering

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]
posted by fartknocker on Mar 1, 2011 - 102 comments

"a travesty of reality"

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]
posted by jaduncan on Feb 28, 2011 - 59 comments

Assange to be extradited

Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden, with fairly immediate effect. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Feb 24, 2011 - 247 comments

Don't shake the baby.

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.
posted by availablelight on Feb 3, 2011 - 24 comments

CH-CHUNG

Law and Order conviction rate vs. New York City crime rate
posted by docgonzo on Feb 3, 2011 - 56 comments

I was worried there for a second.

Today a California appeals court ruled that free online porn is not unfair competition to pay sites.
posted by Faint of Butt on Feb 2, 2011 - 73 comments

"An Act To Declare That Reality Is Now The Plot Of Mad Max"

South Dakota Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls), is sponsoring a bill [text] 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. [previously] [more inside]
posted by T.D. Strange on Feb 1, 2011 - 146 comments

Vermont Challenging Corporate Personhood

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 and here) in the Vermont State Senate to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly state that corporations are not persons. 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 (previously), 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]
posted by laminarial on Jan 24, 2011 - 102 comments

Marriage Commissioners must wed same-sex couples

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. Thecourt.ca gives its thoughts on the decision and the social context surrounding it.
posted by Lemurrhea on Jan 19, 2011 - 40 comments

Th Kingdom in the Closet

Even though it's punishable by death, homosexuality thrives in Saudi Arabia.
posted by reenum on Jan 9, 2011 - 39 comments

United States v. Tiede

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]
posted by jedicus on Jan 7, 2011 - 13 comments

The Looming Cable Monopoly

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]
posted by Inkoate on Jan 4, 2011 - 55 comments

The 25-Year 'Foreclosure From Hell'

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.
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2010 - 150 comments

The Loophole Artist

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.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2010 - 18 comments

Los Angeles Times - Sotomayor, Kagan - David G. Savage

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.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Dec 27, 2010 - 35 comments

The 420 Club

Pat Robertson calls for the legalization of marijuana.
posted by gman on Dec 23, 2010 - 82 comments

Jury revolt.

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.'
posted by VikingSword on Dec 22, 2010 - 48 comments

Communists and Religion and Corporations and Capitalism and Taxes and the 9th Circuit, oh my!

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.
posted by The World Famous on Dec 13, 2010 - 36 comments

"For the Chaotic Good"

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, Mastercard, Visa, 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]
posted by clarknova on Dec 9, 2010 - 560 comments

The most exciting C-Span proceedings… ever?

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!
posted by klangklangston on Dec 6, 2010 - 139 comments

The Keene Act And You

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)
posted by The Whelk on Nov 30, 2010 - 34 comments

Going Dutch

Going Dutch Considerations of gender (in)equality in the Dutch workplace. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Nov 16, 2010 - 43 comments

Twitter Joke Trial

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]
posted by Catseye on Nov 12, 2010 - 73 comments

Most Horrible & Shocking Murders

The National Library of Medicine has put a selection of murder pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s online.
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]
posted by gman on Nov 7, 2010 - 7 comments

Plaintiff Paul Hupp's Petition for Rehearing

Plaintiff has news for these slime ball, piece of shit, ass clown judges. (pdf)
posted by Avenger50 on Oct 29, 2010 - 35 comments

You Can't Have Your Money Back

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.
posted by reenum on Oct 25, 2010 - 162 comments

mefi coop: how to turn metafilter into a CC cooperative

The Birth of Sharing Law and the Rise of Co-ops - "A new sharing economy is emerging — but how does it fit within our legal system? Time for a whole new field of cooperation law." (via wc)
posted by kliuless on Oct 22, 2010 - 30 comments

Have you ever spent a Thanksgiving reviewing 1.2 million pages of billing records in a warehouse in Topica?

So you want to go to law school?(SLYT) [more inside]
posted by Muddler on Oct 20, 2010 - 118 comments

Only guy with crabs on Broadway is Sebastian

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.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Oct 14, 2010 - 37 comments

A Tale of 2 Gitmo Opinions

In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality. "When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases. But there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years. Uthman, accused by two U.S. administrations of being an al-Qaida fighter and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is among 48 detainees the Obama administration has deemed too dangerous to release but 'not feasible for prosecution.' A day after his March 16 order was filed on the court's electronic docket, Kennedy's opinion vanished. Weeks later, a new ruling appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government's case against Uthman."
posted by homunculus on Oct 13, 2010 - 92 comments

Judge Ends Don't Ask Don't Tell

A federal judge has issued a worldwide injunction on the enforcement of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, "ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops." [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Oct 12, 2010 - 194 comments

Islands, Guano, and Imperialism

Islands, Guano, and Imperialism: Columbia University Law Professor Christina Duffy Burnett is interviewed in Cabinet Magazine. Via.
posted by Rumple on Oct 9, 2010 - 12 comments

We don't need you to type at all

"With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches," [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about... We can look at bad behavior and modify it." The Atlantic's editor James Bennet discusses with Schmidt how lobbyists write America's laws, how America's research universities are the best in the world, how the Chinese are going all-out in investing in their infrastructure, how the US should have allowed automakers to fail, and ultimately Google's evolving role in an technologically-augmented society in this broad, interesting and scary interview (~25 min Flash video) [via]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 4, 2010 - 55 comments

"I wanted to get it over with, get home, and get some sleep."

Why do people confess to crimes they don't commit? UVA Law Professor Brandon Garrett has been researching the contamination effect in interrogation. Modern interrogation practices are informed by the (copyrighted) Reid Technique. John R. Reid and Associates, Inc. responds to critics.
posted by availablelight on Oct 4, 2010 - 87 comments

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