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The Trouble with Teaching Rape

"Imagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he’ll become distressed if he sees or handles blood. What should his instructors do?" -"Criminal-law teachers face a similar question with law students who are afraid to study rape law." The author worries about "a growing rape exceptionalism, which allows fears of inflicting or re-inflicting trauma to justify foregoing usual procedures and practices of truth-seeking."
posted by anewnadir on Dec 18, 2014 - 52 comments

Congress ends federal government ban on medical marijuana

Congress quietly ends federal government's ban on medical marijuana Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so.
posted by joedan on Dec 17, 2014 - 57 comments

Mandatory condoms for porn shot in Los Angeles County

9th Circuit upholds Los Angeles County law mandating the use of condoms in porn shoots. Decision here. Will this force the porn industry out of Los Angeles? [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Dec 16, 2014 - 53 comments

Heien vs. North Carolina

This morning, the Supreme Court released an opinion (pdf) in Heien vs. North Carolina, finding that because the Fourth Amendment requires government officials to act reasonably, not perfectly, and gives those officials “fair leeway for enforcing the law,” an officer in North Carolina did not act unconstitutionally when they stopped and searched a car driving with a broken brake light, even though North Carolina law requires only one vehicle brake light to be working. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 15, 2014 - 127 comments

Nice startup you have there...

"Defensive patent aggregator" RPX have a new line of business: selling patent troll insurance to startups.
posted by Artw on Nov 11, 2014 - 23 comments

SCOTUS v. Obamacare Pt. Deux

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in King v. Burwell, invalidating subsidies through the federal healthcare exchanges, despite the lack of a Circuit split.
posted by T.D. Strange on Nov 7, 2014 - 212 comments

How to wreck the economy and avoid prosecution for $9 billion

The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare. "Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Nov 7, 2014 - 42 comments

The health of the people should be the supreme law

Missouri state court judge Rex M. Burlison has ruled that Missouri cannot keep St. Louis officials from marrying same sex couples. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 5, 2014 - 18 comments

on a frolic of his own

‘You do not need to deliver the fatal blow or even be at the actual scene of the killing to be found guilty and sent to jail,’ Detective Inspector John McFarlane said after the conviction of 17 of the 20 young people jointly charged with the murder of 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden at Victoria Station in March 2010: ‘the law on joint enterprise is clear and unforgiving.’ [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Oct 25, 2014 - 24 comments

Hurrell-Harring v. New York

After seven years of litigation, the New York Civil Liberties Union has announced a settlement in Hurrell-Harring v. New York, which will reform the way in which low income criminal defendants are represented in court. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 22, 2014 - 22 comments

If a process yields discrimination, then we need to examine the process.

Bias in the Box. "This is where Bryan Stevenson’s 'undeveloped understanding' comes into focus. A prosecutor may say with the utmost sincerity that he doesn’t exclude blacks [from a jury] because of their race, but because they or someone in their family has been a victim of discrimination, which leads them to distrust the system. Because of their experiences, they are believed to be less motivated to sentence someone to die and are therefore less desirable on a jury." (slVQR) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Oct 11, 2014 - 7 comments

Tenny mucho mucho deniro in su trucky-trailer?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver takes on the issue of civil asset forfeiture, including "Law & Order: Civil Asset Forfeiture Unit", a preview of how police procedurals could handle the topic. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 6, 2014 - 49 comments

Identity of Accuser, Shrouded by City, Is Sought

For five years, Kenneth Creighton was held in jail, suspected of involvement in the killing of a bystander outside a bodega in the Bronx. In 2012, the charges were dropped. Mr. Creighton was released from Rikers Island. He has since filed a lawsuit against New York City for false arrest and malicious prosecution, and has sought the name of his accuser — a man who told the police that he had seen Mr. Creighton hand a gun to his brother, Dior, who was charged in the shooting.
posted by wondrous strange snow on Sep 30, 2014 - 16 comments

"Nothing fades away anymore."

The Solace of Oblivion by Jeffrey Toobin [The New Yorker] "In Europe, the right to be forgotten trumps the Internet."
posted by Fizz on Sep 22, 2014 - 22 comments

Nazis had more legal right to the Ark than Indy: Real jobs vs the media

“True, the Nazis were trying to find the Ark of the Covenant so they could destroy the world,” Canuto says. “But methodologically and legally they were in the right.” Why archeologists hate Indiana Jones. Also, why doctors don't like medical dramas; what is inaccurate about TV portrayals of lawyers and the legal process (PDF); and, finally, the terrific analysis of the portrayal of academics in children's books. When your profession is portrayed on TV, what do they get wrong?
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 14, 2014 - 200 comments

"'The family division is rooted in the same ground as fiction..."

Ian McEwan: the law versus religious belief. [The Guardian]
The conjoined twins who would die without medical intervention, a boy who refused blood transfusions on religious grounds…Ian McEwan on the stories from the family courts that inspired his latest novel.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 13, 2014 - 10 comments

Stop and Seize: An Investigation into Asset Forfeiture

Stop and Seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes. A multimedia investigation by the Washington Post.
posted by milquetoast on Sep 7, 2014 - 67 comments

Why Do We Blindly Sign Terms Of Service Agreements?

NPR interviews Omri Ben Shahar, teacher of contract law at the University of Chicago and co-author of the book, "More Than You Wanted To Know: The Failure Of Mandated Disclosure." His advice: "You shouldn't bother reading those terms and conditions. Don't even try. You don't have enough time in the year. Don't feel guilty about it. What you should do is follow some of these watchdog and watch groups that circulate information about particularly annoying new practices."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 2, 2014 - 40 comments

One lawyer's look at his job

Why are lawyers so unhappy? One attorney by way of explanation demonstrates exactly what his days are like in an answer pulled out and published from a larger Quora thread.
posted by shivohum on Aug 22, 2014 - 50 comments

Law students battle trolls

How a handful of Brooklyn Law students forced a patent troll to drop a meritless lawsuit.
posted by stp123 on Aug 12, 2014 - 27 comments

Math and equations are fun.

The power of math: 17 Equations That Changed the World - a one table summary of the book by Ian Stewart FRS. Business Insider gives its interpretation of the importance of each equation. Brain pickings (2012) on this book and equations, and another extract from the book. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 10, 2014 - 36 comments

From "Not The Onion"

NSA Tried To Delete Court Transcript In Lawsuit Over Deleting Evidence On three separate occasions in the Jewel V. NSA case, the NSA sought to delete evidence. Then it sought to redact the transcript.
posted by Sleeper on Aug 9, 2014 - 43 comments

James Brady

In an unprecedented move, former United States press secretary James Brady's death has been ruled a homicide, 33 years after he was shot by John Hinckley Jr. Some history of the incident at the Washington Hilton and a sweet rememberance of "Bear".
posted by josher71 on Aug 9, 2014 - 47 comments

He actually looks as if he expects to win a case.

DA Hamilton Burger may be the best-known loser of early TV, but his portrayer William Talman's life (content excerpted from the Perry Mason TV show book) was far more interesting. At the height of his fame in 1960, Talman arrested at a nude pot party, and was fired and blacklisted as a result. It took Raymond Burr, the cast, and the fans to eventually get him his job back. At the end of his life, on the verge of dying, he made a powerful anti-smoking PSA (the PSA itself)
posted by julen on Aug 3, 2014 - 23 comments

DIY Law School: Learn the Law Without Law School

"'Attorneys trained in this way will be able to be average people,' Ms. Orsi said, 'not just because they don’t have debt, but because law school tells us that we’re really special.'” [NYT]
[more inside]
posted by Sparkling Natural Mineral Water on Jul 30, 2014 - 33 comments

Rube Goldberg wept

A Republican panel of the D.C. Circuit has ruled [.pdf opinion] in the case of Halbig v. Burwell that a drafting error in the Affordable Care Act provides subsidies exclusively to state-based exchanges and not to federally-facilitated ones, even while subjectively intending to provide subsidies in both cases. The ruling threatens to take away federal subsidies for insurance sold on Obamacare exchanges in 36 states.
posted by T.D. Strange on Jul 22, 2014 - 104 comments

Greater Access for Down Syndrome Information

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is expected to sign Chloe's Law. Chloe's Law, or the Down Syndrome Prenatal Education Act, requires medical practitioners to provide up-to-date and accurate information about Down syndrome with the accompanying diagnosis. Similar laws were passed in Massachusetts and Kentucky. Why is this necessary? Ask a parent or two and you find out how most doctors aren't up to the task. Fortunately, there are parents who will help them out (if they would listen).
posted by plinth on Jul 18, 2014 - 91 comments

Reporting a Rape, and Wishing She Hadn't [SLNYT]

The New York Times examines the case of a student raped by football players at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The colleges are under investigation by the Department of Education [Not Alone, previously] [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jul 13, 2014 - 64 comments

Women, Pants, and the Backlash

Margaret Perry's review of Women in Pants provides an interesting overview of those women (in the Western world) who chose to wore pants in the 19th and early 20th centuries when the standard gender norm dictated dresses for girls and women. R.S. Fleming has a great collection of Victorian women-in-pants images, particularly in non-American military garb. See also: Welsh pit miners, women fighting in the US Civil War (and support-staff), this cattle thief/gunfighter, some cowgirls, and Dr. Mary Walker - here she is in more traditionally masculine dress (second picture). In France, the artist Rosa Bonheur had to get permission from the police to wear pants (picture) while sketching in public (her license), while adventurer/archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy got a lifetime exemption to wear pants from France. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 9, 2014 - 25 comments

"Another search warrant 'for pictures of his erect penis'"

A 17 year-old Virginia teenager who is under investigation for sending a consensual sext to his 15-year-old girlfriend may be forced to have an erection in front of police as evidence in the case. [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 9, 2014 - 85 comments

Tsilhquot’in victory in the Supreme Court

On June 26, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Tsilhquot’in people in their title claim to more than 1700 square km of land in British Columbia. The case is a landmark, and was a unanimous decision, supported 8-0 by the justices. The decision, is the first time the Canadian courts have recognized full aboriginal title to a specific tract of land by, and experts in the field expect the ruling to have an impact on future title questions worldwide (from Vancouver Island to New Zealand, or, one might say, from PKOLS to Aotearoa) [more inside]
posted by chapps on Jul 8, 2014 - 37 comments

The Patron Saint of Defense Attorneys

Ted Kaczynski. Jared Lee Loughner. Eric Rudolph. Susan Smith. And now, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They all stood (or stand) accused of committing heinous crimes. They all faced (or face) the death penalty. And they all have something- or rather, someone- else in common. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Jul 1, 2014 - 17 comments

The Founding Fathers Would Have Protected Your Smartphone

The Supreme Court has unanimously reversed (large PDF) the California Court of Appeals in Riley v. California, deciding that police cannot search the contents of a phone without a warrant during an arrest, and that "the fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 25, 2014 - 57 comments

pestilence is from the devil.

A federal judge in New York has ruled against a group of parents who had filed a lawsuit, asserting that the New York City policy that allows schools to ban unvaccinated kids from attending classes when another child has come down with a vaccine preventable illness infringed on their practice of religion. The decision cites Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), where the SCOTUS upheld Cambridge, Mass, Board of Health’s authority to require vaccination against smallpox during a smallpox epidemic.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 23, 2014 - 88 comments

Eigendemocracy: crowd-sourced deliberative democracy

Scott Aaronson on building a 'PageRank' for (eigen)morality and (eigen)trust - "Now, would those with axes to grind try to subvert such a system the instant it went online? Certainly. For example, I assume that millions of people would rate Conservapedia as a more trustworthy source than Wikipedia—and would rate other people who had done so as, themselves, trustworthy sources, while rating as untrustworthy anyone who called Conservapedia untrustworthy. So there would arise a parallel world of trust and consensus and 'expertise', mutually-reinforcing yet nearly disjoint from the world of the real. But here's the thing: anyone would be able to see, with the click of a mouse, the extent to which this parallel world had diverged from the real one." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 23, 2014 - 45 comments

Corporations are people too, my friends. Special, unaccountable people.

How corporations became people you can't sue.
posted by T.D. Strange on Jun 15, 2014 - 75 comments

The theatre appeared in the crime section more than the arts section ...

Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 11, 2014 - 4 comments

Problem solved!

After the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canadian prostitution laws (previously), the Conservative Party has introduced new measures that would legalize the sale of sex, but that also criminalize the purchase of sex or soliciting in public, print or online. [more inside]
posted by Reversible Diamond-Encrusted Ermine Codpiece on Jun 4, 2014 - 39 comments

Weekend at Sri Ashutosh's

Indian court asked to rule on whether Hindu guru dead or meditating: Since January 29 of this year, Sri Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious sect, has been residing in a freezer in his ashram in Punjab. His followers claim he is in a "deep meditative state (samadhi)." Doctors, however, have declared Maharaj clinically dead and his family have sued to have his death be investigated and to have his body released for cremation. The guru's son also alleges that Maharaj was murdered and that his followers are trying to gain control of his estate, said to be worth $170 million. While traditional yogis have claimed extraordinary powers, including the power to stop one's heart, the evidence for these claims has been lacking.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 2, 2014 - 37 comments

Can we do that there? Be that here? Check Equaldex.

Equaldex: the collaborative LGBT knowledgebase! A crowd-sourced, verified, beautifully presented representation of equal rights (and how they are specifically denied) for LGBT folks. [via reddit]
posted by batmonkey on May 13, 2014 - 7 comments

McCarthyism is alive and well - and it's in the Immigration department.

The Department of Immigration and Border Patrol of Australia's secret blacklist of immigration lawyers and agents has been discovered. DIBP claims that the list is used for "risk assessment" for partner visas and has "no impact" on assessing cases. The Migration Alliance, the lobby group of Australian migration agents that broke the news of the list, is not convinced.
posted by divabat on May 4, 2014 - 38 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

Resegregation in the American South

The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide series is "Segregation Now," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 17, 2014 - 90 comments

In sickness and in health...

A couple's final journey. "Chris MacLellan and Bernard Richard Schiffer never exchanged “for better or for worse” vows. As a gay couple, marriage wasn’t an option in Florida. Instead, they lived together and loved each other for 11 years."
posted by HuronBob on Apr 17, 2014 - 27 comments

The Ghost in MIT

The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz. The Boston Globe reviews over 7,000 pages of discovery documents in the Aaron Swartz case (previously): Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution’s early reaction to the intruder’s provocation.... MIT never encouraged Swartz’s prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued.... Yet if MIT eventually adopted a relatively hard line on Swartz, the university had also helped to make his misdeeds possible, the Globe review found. Numerous e-mails make it clear that the unusually easy access to the campus computer network, which Swartz took advantage of, had long been a concern to some of the university’s information technology staff.
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 31, 2014 - 53 comments

"I am honor-bound to protect you, brother."

The Interpreters We Left Behind. "As our troops pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we're abandoning fixers and translators to the dangerous countrymen who view them as traitors. Asylum in the U.S. could be their last hope. If only we'd let them in."
posted by homunculus on Mar 27, 2014 - 26 comments

What really happened at the lake that night?

The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2014 - 18 comments

Guilt by Association

Debo Adegbile was selected by President Obama to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate, aided and abetted by seven Democratic senators, killed his nomination. Why? Because he’s fought for civil rights.
posted by T.D. Strange on Mar 7, 2014 - 50 comments

"Did I mention I'm Jewish?"

Daniel Muessig wants to be your criminal defence lawyer.
posted by alby on Mar 6, 2014 - 28 comments

The Box

Twilight in the Box. "The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2014 - 24 comments

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