In England coats of arms and other issues of heraldry are registered and administered by the College of Arms. But what if some base scoundrel displays your family's ancient and noble coat of arms without the right to do so? You sue them in the Court of Chivalry. [more inside]
The Superior Court of New Jersey's Appellate Division ruled on August 27 that if, as you text someone, you have special reason to know that the intended recipient is driving and is likely to read the text message while driving, you as the texter have a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time. [more inside]
Canadian self-described "Freemen" in Alberta have recently attracted a great deal of public attention to themselves. The justice system generally takes a very dim view of their shenanigans, as laid out in one of the most comprehensively researched and bizarre judgment issued in recent memory. Here's a general overview and debunking of the arguments they use. [more inside]
Sly Stone's history of drug addiction and eccentricity is well known. But, a recent California Court of Appeals ruling details how a series of ill advised business deals left Stone destitute. [more inside]
One year ago, America was gripped with controversy over the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who claimed he was shooting in self-defense under the "Stand Your Ground" statute, while many believe the shooting, subsequent police inaction, and even the court actions had racial undertones - given Martin was black and Zimmerman Hispanic. Now, furor somewhat quieter, the trial is beginning, with startling (and occasionally hilarious) presentations and demands from each side, including cellphone photos and texts from Martin's phone showing drugs and someone holding a gun, which the defense claims the prosecutors withheld, a list of words Zimmerman's attorneys want not to be used during the trial, which include any mention of racial profiling, and a (rejected) request that all 500 potential jurors be sequestered until their selection. [more inside]
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.
"Escape From Tomorrow" is playing at the Sundance 2013 Film Festival. The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park. Randy Moore directed the film on-site without the knowledge of Disney. Reviews are generally good, with comparisons to The Truman Show and Eraserhead, though people who have seen it wonder how this will play out legally. [more inside]
Pussy Riot found guilty of anti-religious ‘hooliganism’ for church protest. [NYTimes.com] Previously Previously.
Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
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]
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."
High court hangups and There's no place like a hotel are short humor pieces by Miles Kington featuring the Socratically uncooperative testimony of one Mr Chrysler who's accused of stealing 40,000 hangers from hotels. [more inside]
Today, June 28, 2010, marks the last day of the 2009-10 session of the Supreme Court of the United States. This day will mark a number of historical events, not only in terms of the cases to be handed down. [more inside]
Jury nullification, a situation in which jurors acquit in a criminal trial even if the facts favor conviction (often because the jurors disagree with the law), is of ancient provenance in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Courts are ambivalent towards it, regarding it both as quasi-illegal (they'll remove jurors if they catch them during the attempt) and as something that they cannot overturn once it happens. Nullification has furthered many causes, from anti-death-penalty to pro-southern-lynchings. Lawyers can't mention it in court on pain of contempt, but some hope to educate people in other ways.
A very big day for the Supreme Court. In Morse v. Fredrick, the Court ruled that a school could suspend a child for holding up a "Bong HiTs for Jesus" banner. (Previous post here). In Hein v. Freedom from Religion, the Court held that taxpayers lacked standing to challenged Faith Based Initiatives (previous discussions). In Wilke v. Robbins, the Court held that land owners do not have Bivens claims if the federal government harasses landowners for easements. In FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the Court held that the portion of the campaign finance law which had blackout periods before elections on issue advocacy advertising was an unconstitutional restriction of speech (other). This Thursday, the Justices will deliver their last opinions of the term, including a death penalty case and the school assignment cases. (Opinions are .pdfs)
Zacarias Moussaoui's legal brief to the Fourth Circuit regarding his right to question witnesses and the United States' reply. [warning: PDF]
Copy Protected CD makers lose battle. Was it inevitable? Do you consider this good news?
Terrorists should be tried in front of military tribunals instead in civilian courts in front of juries.