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Bring on the lawyers, SOM allegedly steals student's design

Thomas Shine, a former Yale student, is suing David Childs for copyright infringement Mr. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for copyright infringement over the design of the Freedom Tower located at Ground Zero. Shine alleges in his lawsuit that the proposed Freedom Tower was "strikingly similar" to his "Olympic Tower" design for the proposed 2012 Olympic Games in New York.
posted by plemeljr on Nov 10, 2004 - 21 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

Breaking updates!

Updating this mefi story here where a set of extremely abusive parents who abused their children into their teens were sentenced to only 9 months prison. A judge now deems that sentence "demonstrably unfit" and resentences the mother and father to 5 and 4 years in jail, respectively. Thanks to t r a c y for the update.
posted by shepd on Nov 5, 2004 - 4 comments

Taking the Long View

Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
posted by Sidhedevil on Nov 4, 2004 - 190 comments

Transform Drug Policy Foundation

"After the War on Drugs - Options for Control is a major new report examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation of drug markets will operate, and providing a roadmap and time line for reform." It's concise and reasonable, but is this report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (Google News lookup) really "the first practical road map for a benign drug policy that must follow the collapse of drug prohibition"? ... "No countries have yet legalised any drug covered under the U.N. convention" - will anything change anytime soon?
posted by mrgrimm on Nov 2, 2004 - 10 comments

A Day of Wrest

No Sunday shopping in Nova Scotia (apparently some were for and against).
posted by boost ventilator on Oct 17, 2004 - 26 comments

Free, independent, non-profit global research facility

World Legal Information Institute WorldLII has over 270 free databases covering multiple countries and international law. The LIIs were created under a declaration that: (1) Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity. Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law; (2) Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge; and (3) Independent non-profit organisations have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published. For comprehensive French databases, try Droit Francophonie.
posted by livii on Oct 14, 2004 - 1 comment

Dead or alive - who decides

Little Jesse Koochin remains hooked up to a ventilator at Primary Children's Medical Center, oblivious to the controversy that has erupted around him. Doctors at the Salt Lake City hospital pronounced the 6-year-old cancer patient brain-dead this week and want to remove life support. Jesse's parents, Steve and Gayle Koochin, insist their youngest child is alive and believe they can bring him back to health with alternative medicine. Hospital officials maintain the boy is dead and has begun decomposing.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Oct 14, 2004 - 23 comments

"George Washington was in a cult, and the cult was into aliens, man"

Dazed and Sued. Three Huntsville residents who say they went to high school with Austin film director Richard Linklater accused him of using them as the basis for the girl-chasing, drug-taking characters in his film "Dazed and Confused" in a lawsuit filed last week, 11 years after the movie was released
(Universal Studios, also included in the suit, is scheduled to release a special edition DVD of the movie Nov. 2.) More inside.
posted by matteo on Oct 12, 2004 - 62 comments

U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens

U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens [...]The report also found that businesses and their attorneys were 69 percent more likely than individual tort plaintiffs and their attorneys to be sanctioned by federal judges for filing frivolous claims or defenses. The report, Frequent Filers: Corporate Hypocrisy in Accessing the Courts, is available by clicking here. “Corporations think America is too litigious only when they are on the receiving end of a lawsuit,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “But when they feel aggrieved, businesses are far more likely to take their beef to court than are consumers.”[...] more
posted by Postroad on Oct 10, 2004 - 19 comments

It's a Beautiful Morning?

In September 2001 the FDA warned Merck, makers of the painkiller Vioxx, for engaging in a promotional campaign that minimized "potentially serious cardiovascular findings." The previous year, Merck spent $161 million on Vioxx advertising (more than Pepsi or Budweiser spent on advertising that year). Earlier this year, a securities class action complaint was filed on behalf of several Merck investors alleging the company engaged in a marketing campaign that included false and misleading statements concerning the safety profile of Vioxx and that company insiders sold personally held shares of Merck for over $175 million in proceeds. Today, Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market.
posted by Otis on Sep 30, 2004 - 19 comments

Les Expos move to D.C.

The Montreal Expos are moving. Writer Jonah Keri says goodbye. Though questions remain about whether the deal will be done (Injunctions have been filed, and a RICO lawsuit still looms), it appears that the cronies will again have their way.
posted by trharlan on Sep 29, 2004 - 26 comments

RIAA+litigation=bankruptcy

Being threatened with litigation by the RIAA? There's always this solution.
posted by anathema on Sep 27, 2004 - 5 comments

Don't touch that plant!

Opium Made Easy: One gardener's encounter with the war on drugs.
posted by Gyan on Sep 22, 2004 - 35 comments

Should a doctor be able to refuse to help patients?

Conscience Clauses and Health Care --"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.
posted by amberglow on Sep 17, 2004 - 69 comments

An Armed Society is a Polite Society

US Ban on Assault Weapons Expires

Without much fanfare the ten year old ban on assault weapons has expired. How does this affect our relative level of safety now that we can all own high powered, high capacity weapons again?
posted by fenriq on Sep 13, 2004 - 61 comments

Save Betamax

Save Betamax.
posted by seanyboy on Sep 13, 2004 - 4 comments

Property, Intellectual Property and Free Riding

My cattle grazing grounds are not my idea and vice versa. But thanks to laws I can "own" the idea as if the idea was a cow ; link goes to a interesting university-level paper [PDF]. The author makes some interesting analysis and points attention to the fact that current intellectual property laws can go against well established economic theories at the expense of free market competition theory, technical innovations and society-as-a-whole best interest.

Recommended to people with economic theory experience , but also to everyday public-goods-privatization opposers as the paper isn't (intentionally) way too technical.
posted by elpapacito on Sep 10, 2004 - 4 comments

Just Cause Law Collective

The Just Cause Law Collective is an excellent resource for outlining what your rights as citizens or non-citizens are within the U.S. in text and illustrations that are understandable by the layperson. It also includes advice on how to survive police encounters and a special section for activists. via BoingBoing
posted by substrate on Aug 23, 2004 - 22 comments

New Labor Laws

Many of you will lose your overtime benefits today. Welcome to Monday morning!
posted by RavinDave on Aug 23, 2004 - 65 comments

O happy day - lawyers paid to watch porn!

Artist vs. Porn Star -- Law firm wins! Jeff Koons is liable for $4 million in attorneys fees to his NY divorce lawyers, even though he ultimately lost custody of his son to his porn-star-turned-politician wife. Court says hey, that's fair, because he's not even complaining that the firm "charged an unreasonable hourly fee to have associates, for instance, watch pornographic videos, a necessary part of preparing to litigate the underlying custody dispute."
posted by onlyconnect on Aug 20, 2004 - 16 comments

California bill to ease move aways by custodial parents pulled.

California bill to ease "move aways" by custodial parents pulled. Until a recent CA Supreme Court decision, it was easy for custodial parents to move themselves and their children far from their ex-spouse. The Court reversed the old rule and held that the move could be blocked if the non-custodial parent could show that it would interfere with his/her relationship with the kids. Legislation to reimpose the old permissive standard passed through the State Senate, but has now been pulled off the legislative calendar after an outcry by father's rights groups.
posted by MattD on Aug 18, 2004 - 17 comments

Licenses Revoked

California Supreme Court voids all San Francisco same-sex marriages. Said the mayor overstepped his authority and that the city violated the state law.
posted by kokogiak on Aug 12, 2004 - 65 comments

Brandon's Arms

When he was seven years old, Brandon Maxfield was accidentally shot in the face, becoming permanently paralyzed below the neck. [More inside]
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 9, 2004 - 50 comments

The Shark in the Free Care Pool

The Freeloader Registry. When an employer pays low wages and doesn't provide health care benefits, its employees often end up getting free care through state and federal programs. How much does this cost you, and which companies benefit from the practice? A new Massachusetts state law will provide detailed information about top corporate welchers. (This follows recent discussion of the topic in the context of Wal-Mart.) Via Good Jobs First.
posted by alms on Aug 6, 2004 - 21 comments

ThoughtCourt

I Think (Therefore) I'm Guilty? A convicted sex offender is barred from public parks and the zoo in Lafayette, Indiana after he revealed to his psychologist that he entertained thoughts of sexual contact with children, while visiting a park. Here's John Doe's history of arrests and charges for alleged sexual offences.
posted by Gyan on Aug 2, 2004 - 59 comments

the law + sex = strange bedfellows

How does same sex marriage differ from heterosexual marriage? It may really be until death do us part. or Awkward things happen when legislative debate trails judicial necessity.
posted by arse_hat on Jul 21, 2004 - 9 comments

clockwork orange

POLICE BEAT, Ann Arbor , 7/20/04
posted by JohnR on Jul 20, 2004 - 37 comments

Disgust

You stink, therefore I am. Philosophers and psychologists have been studying the science of disgust, and its proper place in the law. Leon Kass, the chairman of the president's council on bioethics, cites "the wisdom of repugnance" in arguing against cloning. More recently, Martha Nussbaum has written a new book, "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law," which rejects disgust as a moral guide. She has also written on the role of disgust in the mutilations of women in Gujarat.
posted by homunculus on Jul 17, 2004 - 8 comments

S&M Barbie

S&M Barbie... and S&M Barbie
posted by nathan_teske on Jul 13, 2004 - 9 comments

Crimes of the century

Homicide in Chicago: 1870-1930
July 25, 1899 Murphy, James, 28 years old, shot dead, saloon 1210 Wabash Av., by Lorezo Sodini, proprietor. Murphy refused to pay for drinks and ran out of saloon and threw stone through window. Sodini ran out and fired at him, killing him instantly. Harrison St. Station. Held by Coroner's Jury, July 29. Acquitted Dec. 9, 1899, by jury in Judge Baker's court. Case number: 1498
posted by tcp on Jul 2, 2004 - 1 comment

A funny thing happened on the way to District Court

A funny thing happened on the way to District Court. More mandatory minimum madness. See related story to the case here. More guidelines are being passed everyday. This Massachusetts judge has had enough. Are we destroying judges' ability to mete out justice or should the people decide justice through legislation? NYTimes coverage here.
posted by McBain on Jun 29, 2004 - 12 comments

Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, et al

Consider Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, military defense attorney, now representing Salim Ahmed Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who admits he was a driver for Osama bin Laden, a prisoner at Guantanamo since 2002. He was transferred to solitary confinement in December in preparation for trial, but no trial date has been set. He has been told the trial will be fair but that evidence may be withheld from him, and his lawyer must ask the government's permission before revealing any facts of the case. He can seek redress only up the chain of command--in other words, to the people who decided he should be charged in the first place. Swift has filed lawsuit in Federal District Court in Seattle against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush, arguing not only that Hamdan is an innocent civilian, but that the military tribunal President Bush's administration created to try him is unconstitutional. Also, he says, the tribunal rules violate military law and the Geneva Conventions. If the government is right and Hamdan cannot use this legal avenue, "the logical result" is that Hamdan "could serve a potential life sentence without ever being charged with a crime and without being afforded a chance to prove his innocence," legal filings state. (More Within)
posted by y2karl on Jun 16, 2004 - 21 comments

Trial by news conference

Laywer/novelist Scott Turow (non-wp, non-reg-req. link) and Nat Hentoff discuss the DOJ's decision to release a declassified document detailing the possible charges against Jose Padilla, at the same time as the U.S. Supreme Court nears a decision on the constitutionality of holding Padilla without due process ... "So at this point, you have no plans to present any of this to a grand jury?"
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 15, 2004 - 8 comments

Supreme Court ducks pledge question.

The Supreme Court ruled today that Michael Newdow did not have standing to sue on behalf of his daughter in challenging the recitation of the pledge in a public school classroom in California.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 14, 2004 - 81 comments

Boston man gets felony charges for dressing as hooded Iraqi

Joe Previtera, a 21 year old student at Boston College, was arrested Wednesday and charged with felonies after dressing as a hooded Iraqi prisoner in front of a military recruitment center in downtown Boston. Previtera faces misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and felony charges of making a false bomb threat and using a hoax device. The charges apparently reflect the District Attorney's concern that Mr Previtera might have been mistaken for a terrorist...
posted by tapeguy on Jun 3, 2004 - 65 comments

The head bone's connected to...

Having half of your skull missing isn't a disability. Here, take this hockey helmet, and have a nice day.
posted by mr_crash_davis on May 14, 2004 - 24 comments

Poison and Profits

Ling Chan gave up everything to come to America. "Chan arrived in the United States with no knowledge of English, no support network, and a dependent child...she was happy to land a janitorial job with AXT Inc., a Fremont, California semiconductor manufacturing firm...on a four-person cleaning crew, scrubbing the boxes used to ship semiconductor wafers around the factory...after a few weeks, her colleagues -- mostly Chinese immigrants, like herself -- whispered that this was no ordinary dust: It could give you cancer." [via Fark, of all places]
posted by mr_crash_davis on May 8, 2004 - 17 comments

Knowledge is power

Ever wondered about Islamic law? This site hosts a series of essays and papers on various areas by Mohammad H. Kamali and others on topics such as Freedom of Expression in Islam and critiques of contemporary attempts at huddud implementation. All nicely indepth and referenced, some good, some not so good, but all intriguing.
posted by Mossy on May 6, 2004 - 21 comments

"to avenge honour"

Pakistani council aproves rape to avenge honour. "A village council in Pakistan permitted a landlord to rape the sister and sister-in-law of a man he accused of an illicit relationship with his daughter, police said Thursday. (...) The council members, all of them landlords themselves, ruled that Ghaffar, who uses only one name, could avenge his honour by having sex with the farmer's daughter, who is 16, and daughter-in-law, who is 22." (BBC version here). "An estimated 80 percent of women prisoners in Pakistan are in jail because they failed to prove rape charges".
posted by 111 on May 6, 2004 - 35 comments

Gerrymandering for ALL! And we are screwed!

Veith v. Jubelirer affirmed by the US Supreme Court
In a 5-4 opinion, the US Supreme Court upheld that gerrymandered Congressional districts are legal and overruled Davis v. Bandemer. Full opinions available. For a background on why this is a structural constitutional problem and why we should be worried about it, read Gerrymandering - "The Great Contradiction".
posted by plemeljr on Apr 28, 2004 - 19 comments

Tha Avalon Project at Yale University

The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy.
posted by hama7 on Apr 25, 2004 - 3 comments

Just say no to Crack

Staking out the high moral ground, a bill would punish those wearing low-riding jeans. It seems that Representative Derrick D. T. Shepherd of Louisiana, a Democrat no less, wants to outlaw low slung pants. Plumbers beware, and stock up on Butt-Crack Caulk! Really, don't they have anything better to legislate besides fashion or holidays?
posted by Eekacat on Apr 23, 2004 - 45 comments

The larch. The larch. The larch.

You just knew that as soon as gay marriages were legal they'd be screwing in the trees, and damned if it didn't happen.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Apr 22, 2004 - 54 comments

Will take college credit for food.

A huge number of internships are illegal. So claims a labor lawyer in this USA Today story. Are unpaid internships a form of white collar exploitation we should crack down on? Just how much of the workforce is unpaid, or working on tiny stipends? And is it like this in other Western countries?
posted by inksyndicate on Apr 21, 2004 - 43 comments

Canada decides to revamp its Copyright Act

Lobby Now! Alan McLeod, Canadian Lawyer, writes "Make sure you are heard as Canada decides to revamp its Copyright Act." He goes on to encourage Canadians to contact the Heritage Minister and weigh in as the Copyright rules in Canada may be about to change.
posted by stevengarrity on Apr 14, 2004 - 1 comment

Chat, Copy, Paste, Prison

IM logging as illegal wiretap: We need to get beyond the technology itself and ask whether there are legitimate expectations of privacy that we seek to protect by either permitting or refusing to permit the creation of a permanent record of communications.
posted by anathema on Apr 13, 2004 - 8 comments

The war on pornography

John Ashcroft's Patriot Games. An interesting article from last month's Vanity Fair on Ashcroft and his revolution inside the Justice Department. Now the Justice Department wants to wage a war on porn, and "are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains." [Via Boing Boing and Instapundit.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 7, 2004 - 47 comments

Ryan Malcolm knows what's up.

In response to Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruling that file sharing was legal in Canada (previously discussed here), Federal Heritage Minister Helene Scherrer has stated that "As minister of Canadian Heritage, I will, as quickly as possible, make changes to our copyright law".

The problem is that Canadian copyright law has been going through a slow and thoughtful reformation process. Since the unveiling of A Framework for Copyright Reform in 2001, a lot of progress has been made in updating the laws to reflect the needs and concerns of content producers, and the public domain. Now, however, it seems that all of this work may be bulldozed by Helene Scherrer, who declared her intentions at the Juno Awards last night.
posted by Jairus on Apr 3, 2004 - 11 comments

Hork. Mix. Burn. (Strange Brew? Anyone? Anyone?)

So, when did Canada become the globe's official Progressive Society Laboratory? They've got the health care, they've got the gay marriage, and now, they've got 100% legal file-sharing -- a judge has ruled that not only is downloading copyrighted material legal, but sharing it is as well. Um, whoa? How long can this stand on appeal? Is anyone here a Canadian legal expert who can tell us about how Canadian copyright law differs from our own? (Tall order, I know...)
posted by logovisual on Mar 31, 2004 - 28 comments

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