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Will You Be Seated on a Jury?

If you've recently been called for jury duty, you may have been asked some rather personal questions. "In a recently concluded federal racketeering trial in Brooklyn, potential jurors were asked what public figures they admired the most and the least. For a political corruption trial, they were asked to list their three favorite movies and what the bumper stickers on their cars said." The New York Times, with the help of a jury consultant, created this quiz to see if you would potentially be seated on a jury.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 21, 2014 - 140 comments

Her Majesty's High Court of Chivalry of England and Wales

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]
posted by jedicus on Apr 27, 2014 - 21 comments

Title IX and the Clery Act

Yesterday, twenty three Columbia University students filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the school "allows accused perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, has too-lenient sanctions for perpetrators, discourages victims from reporting assault and denies accommodations to students with mental health disabilities (which they say result from their attacks)." The complaint is the first of its kind, linking Title IX and Clery complaints with alleged violations of Title II, part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides that schools must provide accommodations based on disability status. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 25, 2014 - 191 comments

Keeping tradition and history intact is not a justification....

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has ruled that Texas' ban on the recognition of marriage equality is unconstitutional. The ruling comes days after the launch of Freedom To Marry's Southern Campaign, and almost a week after a judge in Illinois ruled that gay and lesbian couples there had the right to marry immediately, rather than June 1, as the legislature had previously passed. The Texas ruling has been stayed pending appeal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 26, 2014 - 82 comments

Today, however, simply living together doesn’t amount to being "married"

On Friday, federal court judge Judge Clark Waddoups issued a ruling stating that parts of Utah’s polygamy laws, including the statute that criminalizes cohabitation, is unconstitutional. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 16, 2013 - 153 comments

"That’s cruel and unusual punishment to me.” -Angola Warden

A LIVING DEATH: Sentenced to die behind bars for what?
For 3,278 people, it was nonviolent offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. An estimated 65% of them are Black. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency or financial desperation when they committed their crimes. None of them will ever come home to their parents and children. And taxpayers are spending billions to keep them behind bars.

A LIVING DEATH: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses (PDF)
posted by andoatnp on Nov 13, 2013 - 32 comments

Man creates own credit card, sues bank for not respecting its terms

Banks usually reserve the right to change the rules or rates for credit cards they issue at any time, and the only notice given is buried in a long legal document. Russian Dmitry Argarkov turned this on its head: After he received a junk-mail credit card offer, he modified the document to include terms ridiculously in his favor and sent it back. The bank signed and certified it without looking at it, and sent him a credit card. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Aug 10, 2013 - 62 comments

Rebuilding the American Jury

Twelve Absent Men: Rebuilding the American Jury. "Juries hear only 4 percent of criminal trials in America. Their decline has fostered radical punitiveness, but reforms and novel institutions are breathing new life into the jury and civic participation more broadly."
posted by homunculus on Jul 28, 2013 - 54 comments

“I thought that modern penology has abandoned that rehabilitation thing”

In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?
It’s not very often the concept of restorative justice gets much play outside scholarly publications or reformist criminal justice circles, so first, some credit for Max Fisher at The Atlantic for giving it an earnest look last week. In seeking to explain Norway’s seemingly measly twenty-one-year sentence for remorseless, mass-murdering white supremacist Anders Breivik—a sentence that is certain to be extended to last the rest of his life—Fisher casts a critical eye on the underlying philosophy that animates that country’s sentencing practices, finding it to be “radically different” from what we’re used to in the United States.
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: A Meta-Analysis [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 12, 2012 - 87 comments

United States v. Shipp

The Supreme Court of the United States has held only one criminal trial in its history: United States v. Shipp. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Feb 7, 2012 - 30 comments

Blame it on the beasts

Bugs and Beasts Before the Law - "Murderous pigs sent to the gallows, sparrows prosecuted for chattering in Church, a gang of thieving rats let off on a wholly technical acquittal – theoretical psychologist and author Nicholas Humphrey explores the strange world of medieval animal trials." More on the theme of barnyard scapegoats from the BBC podcast documentary: Animals on Trial.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 5, 2012 - 22 comments

Zaire Paige Not Only Played a Movie Killer, He Became One in Real Life.

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]
posted by reenum on Dec 21, 2011 - 22 comments

Supreme court opinions successfully modeled as Facebook like button

Roger Guimera Manrique and Marta Sales-Pardo have shown that "U.S. Supreme Court justice votes are more predictable than one would expect from an ideal court composed of perfectly independent justices." [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 17, 2011 - 47 comments

Addressing the Justice Gap

Several commentators are advocating the deregulation of the practice of law.
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2011 - 125 comments

The Brain on Trial.

The Brain on Trial. Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania."
[more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Jul 15, 2011 - 99 comments

Phillies Blunts

Blunt Assessment: The Need for Legal Weed in Philadelphia. To many inside the criminal justice and pro-legalization arenas, the racial disparity in Philadelphia's pot arrests is nothing short of an ongoing conspiracy. Offenders caught possessing 30 grams or less get to make a deal: Agree to pay a $200 fine and attend a three-hour treatment class and avoid going to trial and risking jail time.
posted by fixedgear on Mar 4, 2011 - 61 comments

How many tweens lifers are there?

Will an 11-year-old get life in prison? Here’s what you need to know. [more inside]
posted by fixedgear on Jan 25, 2011 - 115 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 solution is constant false alarms until you get it right

"If these people can't predict an earthquake, then what's the point of them?" Italian seismologists accused of manslaughter. (via simon singh)
posted by lucia__is__dada on Jun 19, 2010 - 31 comments

"You can't sue God if you can't serve the papers on Him."

The case against God brought by Ernie Chambers (previously on MeFi) has been thrown out. (title via News Now Network, although I added a capital H.)
posted by homelystar on Oct 16, 2008 - 22 comments

Heller v. D.C. Decided

Heller v. District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court's first actual interpretation of the Second Amendment, has just come down. In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled D.C.'s comprehensive handgun ban to be unconstitutional. Antonin Scalia writes for the majority.
posted by Navelgazer on Jun 26, 2008 - 364 comments

It takes a country

CBC Filter: I guess parenting in Canada ain't what it used to be. The Senate wants to make spanking your children illegal and a Quebec judge quashes a dad's grounding of his 12-year-old daughter.
posted by thejimp on Jun 19, 2008 - 144 comments

SCOTUS tells the ICJ to go hang

On March 25, the Supreme Court held (pdf) that rulings by the International Court of Justice are essentially not binding upon state courts. This paves the way for Texas to execute one Jose Ernesto Medellin for the rape and murder of two teenage girls. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Mar 31, 2008 - 59 comments

"And I am even supposed to love our enemies.”

"Killing others is not loving them.” --meet US Army Captain Peter D. Brown, just granted Conscientious Objector status due to his religious beliefs and honorably discharged after first being denied and taking them to court---only 224 applicants were approved for it during 02-06, out of 2.3 million serving. [more inside]
posted by amberglow on Oct 18, 2007 - 63 comments

Disrespectful Cockalorum

Blackburn makes manifest a propensity for turgid language. Not content with foisting “cockalorum” (meaning, boastful talk), “froward” (willfully disobedient) and “mordaciously” (bitingly) on the reader, he may be the first judge to use both “contumelious” (scornful) and “contumacious” (pigheaded) in the same opinion. Judge Robert E. Blackburn's ruling [pdf] granting a motion for a new trial based on attorney misconduct is an interesting read for those who enjoy the use of uncommon, flowery and "big" words. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Oct 14, 2007 - 14 comments

...students arrived at the local high school to find three hangman's nooses dangling from a tree in the courtyard. ...

Under the ole shade tree... Welcome to Jena, LA -- mix high school segregation, racism, nooses, fights, ineffective school administration, attempted-murder charges, shotguns, and a town in upheaval--a "racial powder keg". Much more here, including links to help.
posted by amberglow on May 23, 2007 - 87 comments

civil unions? marriage?

NJ says yes to same-sex marriage! (altho it might not be called that in the end) -- link to pdf of ruling here.
posted by amberglow on Oct 25, 2006 - 138 comments

After the operation it was confirmed...

Sherri Finkbine --as reported by BBC News, on this day in 1962 (video clip too)--her travails and travels, the law, publicity, and what happened afterwards. (more here from American Prospect in 05: ...A Gallup Poll taken that year showed that the majority of Americans supported Finkbine, and her case was a turning point ...)
posted by amberglow on Aug 26, 2006 - 16 comments

Webmasters, Feel Safe, The FBI Can't Find You

Federal Court to FBI: Learn To Use Google A federal court ordered the FBI to use Google. Apparently they didn't already know about it.
posted by expriest on Aug 22, 2006 - 24 comments

Only one link here!

Apparently, all the exhibits entered into evidence in US v. Moussaoui are available online. Enjoy!
posted by thirteenkiller on Jul 31, 2006 - 28 comments

ABA Gives Wallace 'Not Qualified' Rating, Stiffs Spector

Looks like the battle over Bush's judicial nominations may be back on. In February, Bush nominated Michael B. Wallace to a seat on the Fifth Circuit. Not long after, the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, which evaluates the professional qualifications of all nominees for the federal bench, gave Wallace a 'not qualified' rating. With that rating, Wallace joins company with other similarly unqualified judicial nominees such Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, and J. Harvie Wilkinson III. [more inside]
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jul 26, 2006 - 70 comments

Memory of Mankind

A US court has decided that Persian antiquities on loan to the University of Chicago can be confiscated and sold to compensate American victims of Hamas violence in Israel.
posted by thirteenkiller on Jul 13, 2006 - 80 comments

"What if a person felt their religious view was that African Americans shouldn't mingle with Caucasians, or that women shouldn't work?"

...a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment....Christian activist Gregory S. Baylor responds to such criticism angrily. He says he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race and gender. But he draws a distinction that infuriates gay rights activists when he argues that sexual orientation is different — a lifestyle choice, not an inborn trait. By equating homosexuality with race, Baylor said, tolerance policies put conservative evangelicals in the same category as racists. ... "Think how marginalized racists are," said Baylor, who directs the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom. "If we don't address this now, it will only get worse." Should Christians be able to sue for the right to not tolerate or abide by anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies meant to apply to all? Should they still be able to get school activity funding?
posted by amberglow on Apr 10, 2006 - 95 comments

Please don’t let the cops in the house while I’m at the store.

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-3 decision (.pdf) that police may not search a home if any inhabitant of the home is present and objects to the search, even if another inhabitant consents. The Court drew what it acknowledged is a “fine line” – if a co-inhabitant is at the door and objects, the police can’t enter; but if the co-inhabitant is somewhere else – even in a nearby police car – and has no opportunity to object, then police don’t need his or her consent. Chief Justice Roberts issued his first written dissent, blasting the majority’s “random” and “arbitrary” rule and suggesting that the ability of police to respond to domestic violence threats could be compromised. The zingers in the footnotes may reveal “strains behind the surface placidity and collegiality of the young Roberts court.”
posted by brain_drain on Mar 23, 2006 - 88 comments

Seeing the other side

Why does the Supreme Court Make Justices More Liberal? Does it? If so, why, and why more liberal not more conservative?
posted by caddis on Jan 12, 2006 - 61 comments

Mainstream judge speaks out

Mainstream former federal judge speaks out
Former CNN talking head and Texas federal judge Catherin Crier speaks out in defense of the courts, and mainstream america... if Ms. Crier is now the left - how far to the right have we drifted?
posted by specialk420 on Nov 15, 2005 - 17 comments

Do you swear to tell the truth?

So help me Allah The Koran is not Holy Scripture, according to a North Carolina judge, who says a Muslim can't swear to tell the truth on it, citing a 1777 law.
posted by teaperson on Jul 19, 2005 - 88 comments

ScandalFilter!

A Florida court has blocked a thirteen year old girl's abortion. The judge's ruling comes in spite of Florida state law which specifically does not require a minor to seek parental consent before an abortion.
posted by thirteenkiller on Apr 30, 2005 - 170 comments

Schiavo--life and death?

An Objective Legal Look (and more) on Schiavo-- As a Florida law blogger, I have created this page to help people understand the legal circumstances surrounding the Terri Schiavo saga. In my view, there continues to be a need for an objective look at the matter. There is an unbelievable amount of misinformation being circulated. Links to all court decisions, timelines, questions and answers (some shocking)...you name it. All the info available on this tragic situation.
posted by amberglow on Mar 19, 2005 - 165 comments

MA, NY, CA--who's next?

Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage... California joins New York in a lower-court decision for marriage equality, with the judge stating, "The idea that marriage-like rights without marriage is adequate smacks of a concept long rejected by the courts — separate but equal," ... And in DC, Ken Mehlman, (closeted) head of the RNC, in an interview with the AP, backslides on his party's trumpeting of anti-gay sentiment: - It's not his job as head of the party to tell states whether they should allow same-sex couples to wed or form civil unions. "Certainly our platform states that the party is committed to ensuring that there is traditional marriage," he said, but he didn't think the party should take a position on state initiatives. More on today's court decision here.
posted by amberglow on Mar 14, 2005 - 132 comments

Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth Amendment

Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth Amendment
It might seem at first that the rules for the treatment of Iraqi prisoners were founded on standards of political legitimacy suited to war or emergencies; based on what Carl Schmitt called the urgency of the ''exception,'' they were meant to remain secret as necessary ''war measures'' and to be exempt from traditional legal ideals and the courts associated with them. But the ominous discretionary powers used to justify this conduct are entirely familiar to those who follow the everyday treatment of prisoners in the United States—not only their treatment by prison guards but their treatment by the courts in sentencing, corrections, and prisoners' rights. The torture memoranda, as unprecedented as they appear in presenting ''legal doctrines . . . that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, not unlawful,'' refer to U.S. prison cases in the last 30 years that have turned on the legal meaning of the Eighth Amendment’s language prohibiting ''cruel and unusual punishment.'' What is the history of this phrase? How has it been interpreted? And how has its content been so eviscerated?
posted by y2karl on Nov 8, 2004 - 25 comments

So This is Justice?

Janklow Gets 100 Days for Manslaughter
A career of willful and flagrant disregard for traffic laws and other people's safety that ended in the death of a motorcyclist.
Must be nice to be pals with the president. Although I'm sure that had nothing to do with his slap-on-the-wrist sentence. I was just saying that it must be nice to be pals with the president.
posted by fenriq on Jan 22, 2004 - 41 comments

Johannson on Trial for appeal

It's the equivalent of "You can play the CD on three designated CD players that support the DRM. Like, it will play ONLY on xyz brand cd player and only three of those that you pick. Yes, you have to stick to that brand of cd player (the iTunes player, the supported OS of iTunes, no unix support in sight) and too bad if you have a fourth one in the bedroom. It's not gonna play in your second car's player either. Nor in the kitchen. Nor on your neighbor's player. Nor can you trade it on the used market when you're tired of listening to it. "
"They finally found a way to sell you some wind. Even better, they will restrict the direction and force in wich the wind will blow, how often and where it will happen..."

As "DVD-Jon" Johansen goes to retrial, a backlash is rising in the media & community towards Apple's DRM (digital rights management), a week after this same kid created an open-source program that lets users copy the songs that they bought onto other sources.
posted by omidius on Dec 2, 2003 - 28 comments

Supremes Reject Baby Death Conviction Appeal

Top Court Rejects Baby Death Conviction Appeal
"The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Monday an appeal by a South Carolina woman convicted of homicide and sentenced to 12 years in prison for causing her baby to be stillborn by using cocaine."
posted by jpoulos on Oct 6, 2003 - 47 comments

Eyewitness News!

Caribou Coffee is smacked with a lawsuit for doing nothing when four employees complained of same-sex harassment from their boss. Among the allegations, one claims that the woman "[invited] one of the plaintiffs to her house to engage in some type of sexual activity with her dogs." You've gotta love the local tv news treatment of any given situation. Streaming video also available.
posted by Hammerikaner on Sep 24, 2003 - 6 comments

Despite American efforts, world criminal court is born

Despite American efforts, world criminal court is born With China, Russia, and the United States refusing to go along with this international court, just how effective can it become? And will the refusal of these major nations to join in add the what now appears the disintegration of global attempts at moderating international affairs?
posted by Postroad on Mar 11, 2003 - 7 comments

www.constitutionalsluts.com?

I believe this is a blow for the First Amendment. Today, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Child Online Protection Act. Also, read COPA's report online. In related news, the Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments regarding a law which requires "filters" to be placed on public library computers. Can any of these laws be written to satisfy constitutional requirements? Julie Hilden of Findlaw.con has already contemplated this issue. Will the U.S. follow Canada's lead by enacting similar anti-porn laws? Despite support in the U.S. for such laws, the Indianapolis model pornography law was struck down as unconstitutional nearly ten years ago. It seems even Canada is rejecting the Dworkin/MacKinnon point of view. Is there any middle ground in this showdown of liberty and equality? Which value should prevail? Are these values really at odds with each other?
posted by Bag Man on Mar 7, 2003 - 75 comments

Headless Maggie

Man Beheads (statue of) Margaret Thatcher. His "sense of 'satirical humour' left him no choice but to carry out the attack" on the £150,000 Maggie as 'artistic expression and [his] right to interact with this broken world.' Jury fails to convict and a retrial is scheduled. Perhaps there is a creative solution to replacing the head?
posted by Shane on Dec 18, 2002 - 17 comments

5th Amendment Shredded

You Have The Right To Remain Silent
or...maybe not...
Police can hold people in custody and force them to talk, so long as their incriminating statements are not used to prosecute them, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Theodore B. Olson and Michael Chertoff, the chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, say in their brief to the court. It "will chill legitimate law enforcement efforts to obtain potentially life-saving information during emergencies," including terrorism alerts, if police and FBI agents can be sued for coercive questioning, they add

Are YOU ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?
posted by nofundy on Nov 25, 2002 - 93 comments

Billy Jean's not my lover.

Billy Jean's not my lover. Should non-fathers pay child support to someone else's children? More states are saying "no."
posted by kablam on Jun 18, 2002 - 29 comments

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