Sacco and Vanzetti et al.
The amazing Famous Trials
website, compiled as a labor of love by University of Missouri law professor Douglas Linder, is a motherlode of information on historically significant trails, ranging from Galileo
to the Amistad
to Lenny Bruce
. It features not only official transcripts, but also equally intriguing details such as a map of the railroad cars
in the Scottsboro Boys trial
, Klan documents
from the Mississippi Burning case
, and opinion polls
related to the My Lai courts martial
You're a naughty one, Mr. Grinch
GOP looking to repeal food labeling law.
Would this have anything to do with our recent impasse with Mexico (and with the EU) over GM foods? Or of recent reports of a possible mad cow case in the US?
The arrival of secret law.
Americans can now be obligated to comply with legally-binding regulations that are unknown to them, and that indeed they are forbidden to know.
This is not some dismal Eastern European allegory. It is part of a continuing transformation of American government that is leaving it less open, less accountable and less susceptible to rational deliberation as a vehicle for change.
House Republicans Change Rules to Protect DeLay
"On a voice vote, the House Republican Conference changed a rule that required party leaders to step down if indicted for any crime that carries a prison sentence of two or more years."
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
Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth AmendmentIt 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?
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.
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.
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.
"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?
No Sunday shopping
in Nova Scotia (apparently some were for
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
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.
Dazed and Sued.
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
(Universal Studios, also included in the suit, is scheduled to release a special edition DVD of the movie Nov. 2.)
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
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.
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
Being threatened with litigation by the RIAA? There's always this
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.
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?
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.
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.
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."
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.
California Supreme Court voids all San Francisco same-sex marriages
. Said the mayor overstepped his authority and that the city violated the state law.
When he was seven years old, Brandon Maxfield
was accidentally shot in the face, becoming permanently paralyzed below the neck. [More inside]
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
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.
How does same sex marriage differ from heterosexual marriage? It
may really be until death do us part
. or Awkward
when legislative debate trails judicial necessity.
, Ann Arbor , 7/20/04
You stink, therefore I am.
Philosophers and psychologists have been studying
, 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
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
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.
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)
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?"
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.
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
Having half of your skull missing
isn't a disability. Here, take this hockey helmet
, and have a nice day.
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]
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.
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."
"An estimated 80 percent of women prisoners in Pakistan are in jail because they failed to prove rape charges".
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"
The Avalon Project
: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy.
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
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
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?