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Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror. "In a case pitting free speech against national security, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law (PDF) that makes it a crime to provide 'material support' to foreign terrorist organizations, even if the help takes the form of training for peacefully resolving conflicts."
posted by homunculus on Jun 22, 2010 - 59 comments

 

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are registered nurses who have special training and experience in forensic evidence collection (conducting “rape kits”) and survivor-centered care. They also increasingly conduct forensic examinations on suspects accused of sexual assault(PDF). There is evidence that, through this work, SANE programs increase the prosecution rates of sexual assault cases. However, as a result of a recent Supreme Court Case, Crawford v. Washington, the role of SANEs is being increasingly curtailed(behind a pay wall). [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jun 16, 2010 - 57 comments

For pity's sake, don't go to law school.

Despite the most prestigious law firms in the country laying off almost 6,000 attorneys and 9,000 staff since the beginning of 2008, century-old law firms dissolving almost overnight, and law school tuition rising everywhere, law school applications are at an all time high. Even the number of law schools is rising.

But with the century-old Cravath system being "misapplied" by big firms over the last decade, historical income distributions have been disrupted.

For good or ill, things may be coming to a head. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Jun 11, 2010 - 188 comments

Worst. Divorce. Ever.

A lawyer and her husband decide to get a divorce. Then, the lawyer loses her mind.
posted by reenum on Jun 10, 2010 - 131 comments

Are you forgetting that you came to me for a job?

What not to do if you want a job.
posted by cereselle on Jun 3, 2010 - 136 comments

How Our Laws are made.

Nice graphic of the Bill to Law process Via The Sunlight Foundation.
posted by tomb on Jun 3, 2010 - 28 comments

Sueing 14,000+ P2P users to SAVE CINEMA

Ars Technica reports on the US Copyright Group (website: SAVECINEMA.ORG), an entity that has sent out over 14,000 subpoenas in the past 5 months to P2P users who have downloaded smaller independent movies such as Uwe Boll's Far Cry and best picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker. To put that in perspective, the RIAA sued 18,000 P2P users during their multi-year anti-file sharing campaign. The law firm takes the moviemakers cases on for free, splitting with them the money the defendants pay to settle the case ($1,500 to $2,500 per subpoena) on a site that will conveniently take your credit card. The law firm and the filmmakers could end up splitting $19.7 million, and it's likely that this kind of approach will be tried with more movies. As you might expect, some targeted individuals have been wrongly accused.
posted by The Devil Tesla on Jun 3, 2010 - 166 comments

1) “But there are other lives to be saved, of people who haven’t done horrible things, who haven’t actually hurt anyone.” 2) "Fix it or lose it."

Arguing Three Strikes. A defense lawyer (and co-founder of Stanford's unique Criminal Defense Clinic), and a tough-on-crime Republican D.A. make for unusual allies in the move to reform California's Three Strikes law. [more inside]
posted by availablelight on May 22, 2010 - 53 comments

Ripped from the headlines.

After twenty years on the air, NBC has canceled the original Law & Order. The show didn't quite surpass Gunsmoke as the longest running prime time drama in history, although they most likely went through more regular characters and guest stars. The spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent will continue. A new show, Law & Order: Los Angeles is set to disappoint us in the fall.
posted by HumanComplex on May 14, 2010 - 182 comments

"Mr. Watkins said his client was basically a good person."

Online Talk, Suicides and a Thorny Court Case A Minnesota nurse named William Mechert-Dinkel is charged with aiding in the suicides of a woman in Canada and a man in the UK. He assumed the name Li Do and trolled online for depressed people to encourage in (ultimately one way) suicide pacts. Caught in part by the efforts of a concerned retiree in the UK, his case brings up issues of not just jurisdiction but also of free speech. Somewhat related and previously.
posted by availablelight on May 14, 2010 - 38 comments

"F**k Michael Powell. Let him sue us."

Home Depot was having an issue with employees cutting their fingers off while sawing wood for customers. Michael Powell invented a safety device that Home Depot then copied without Powell's permission. Today, Powell won a $25 million judgment in federal court. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 12, 2010 - 141 comments

“There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

Elena Kagan will be officially nominated to replace John Paul Stevens today, ending weeks of speculation and controversy as to who would replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice. Significant criticism has hounded Kagan throughout the nomination process, as she has never tried a case in court (much like Earl Warren). Many worry that her notable statements and writings do not provide a clear progressive record; some go so far as to claim she is Obama's Harriet Miers.
posted by mek on May 9, 2010 - 186 comments

There's one more thing: you can all have one.

How Steve Jobs Got Sick, Got Better, And Decided To Save Some Lives (previously)
posted by Baldons on Apr 26, 2010 - 49 comments

Genetic material and informed consent

The Havasupai Tribe of Grand Canyon won a $700,000 settlement from Arizona State University, plus the return of remaining blood samples, regarding the use of members' blood and DNA for research. The Havasupai had originally contacted researchers at ASU concerning the Type II diabetes that has ravaged that tribe and others, particularly in the Southwest. [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley on Apr 22, 2010 - 96 comments

"HIV is a virus, not a crime."

With AIDS, Time to Get Beyond Blame. Criminal laws related to exposure to or transmission of HIV are on the books in 32 American states, and in many other countries. In January, Darrin Chiacchia was charged with knowingly exposing a partner to HIV without warning him beforehand. He faces up to 30 years in prison. The high profile case has drawn criticism of the laws from those who believe they discourage testing, increase stigma, and intentional infections are sensational but rare and difficult to prove. Others have argued the laws do little to protect vulnerable populations and are bad legal policy. In the sensational but rare category: Nushawn Williams, who completed his sentence last week but remains incarcerated.
posted by availablelight on Apr 20, 2010 - 70 comments

Hello, Ivy League

Now that Stevens, a Northwestern Law grad, is retiring, all eight remaining Supreme Court justices hail from either Harvard or Yale law school. Is it time for some educational diversity on the court? Many think the court needs to expand its educational horizons. Complaints aren’t limited to the Justices themselves. Both Congress and Justice Thomas are concerned with a lack of different educational backgrounds among the clerks.
posted by HabeasCorpus on Apr 15, 2010 - 42 comments

Not a prophet in his own land

Baltasar Garzón is a Spanish judge known for his cases on human right abuses by south american dictatorships under international law, specially the case against Augusto Pinochet. Now, after admitting a case against abuses during Franco's Era, he is facing accusations by extreme right groups of deliberately ignoring the Amnesty Law of 1977, possibly questionable under the same universal jurisdiction that gained him international renown. In a controversial decision, the case has been admitted by the Spanish Supreme Court, and so Garzón is facing the possibility of up to 20 years of suspension. [more inside]
posted by valdesm on Apr 14, 2010 - 14 comments

The cause of, and solution to, all life's problems

Copyright turns 300: An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, also known as the Statute of Anne, became law on April 10, 1710.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 10, 2010 - 19 comments

If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.

"George W. Bush Knew Guantanamo Prisoners Were Innocent." In a signed declaration filed as part of a pending lawsuit on behalf of former Guantanamo Bay detainees and obtained by The Times, Lawrence Wilkerson, a high ranking aide to former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell, makes the stunning claim that: "George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror." (via)
posted by saulgoodman on Apr 9, 2010 - 101 comments

Political Philosophy Every Thanksgiving, 4th of July and Easter

KCRW's Left, Right and Center is usually your standard political talking head show - except on holidays, when the public radio show becomes a platform for conservative Tony Blankley, center-left Democrat Robert Scheer and liberal blogger Arianna Huffington to mount a philosophical debate on the basis of law, politics and culture. Most recently, Blankley and Scheer debated why the US is so deeply polarized. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Apr 7, 2010 - 37 comments

Drugs cost monies.

Dutch coffee shop fined 10m euros for breaking drug law
posted by Tlery on Mar 25, 2010 - 34 comments

Childhood cruelties

Andrew O’Hagan writes in the London Review of Books on the James Bulger murder. It really should be read in conjunction with his earlier piece from 1993 to fully appreciate his stance. Previously [1] [2] [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Mar 25, 2010 - 25 comments

The plight of the Maine lobsterman.

After more than ten hours of deliberation, Vance Bunker, along with his daughter Janan Miller, were found not guilty. The result of last summer's so called "lobster wars".
posted by woodjockey on Mar 12, 2010 - 30 comments

Simon Singh's last column

Simon Singh: This is goodbye. Being sued for libel is not only ruinously expensive, writes Simon Singh, it takes over your whole life. Which is why this will be his last column. Previously.
posted by homunculus on Mar 12, 2010 - 74 comments

DNA’s Dirty Little Secret

DNA’s Dirty Little Secret: A forensic tool renowned for exonerating the innocent may actually be putting them in prison.
posted by homunculus on Mar 6, 2010 - 40 comments

$5 to overthrow the US government

There is a law in South Carolina that forces any subversive organization to register before the Secretary of State. Penalties for refusing to do so include a fine for up to $25,000 and 10 years imprisonment. You can download the form here. [more inside]
posted by Omon Ra on Mar 4, 2010 - 37 comments

Conflict continues over homosexuality in Uganda

Petition against Anti-Gay Bill Delivered to Ugandan Parliament. Fierce debate continues in Uganda over the Bahati Bill, a controversial anti-homosexual law currently under consideration by the Ugandan government (prev). [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Mar 2, 2010 - 32 comments

Rosen on Roberts

US Supreme Court Chief Justice told law professor and commentator Jeffrey Rosen, “I think it’s bad, long-term, if people identify the rule of law with how individual justices vote.” He expressed his intention to help steer the Court away from 5-4 decisions. Now, three years later, Rosen argues that Roberts has been an activist, combative chief justice, willing to risk confrontations with the other branches of government and public opinion.
posted by ibmcginty on Mar 2, 2010 - 75 comments

Weaponizing Mozart

Weaponizing Mozart - "How Britain is using classical music as a form of social control".
posted by nthdegx on Mar 1, 2010 - 88 comments

Big Brother: The Sequel

The Patriot Act was originally signed into law by Bush in 2001, following 9/11. This bill gives law enforcement agencies the power to search your email, telephone records, medical records, record your telephone conversations, without your consent. It's allowance of indefinite detention of immigrants has been a major point of criticism from opponents. Today, President Obama, who previously promised to protect our civil liberties, has quietly extended the bill for another year.
posted by Malice on Feb 28, 2010 - 108 comments

FantasySCOTUS

FantasySCOTUS. For the Tenth Justice in all of us.
posted by OmieWise on Feb 26, 2010 - 15 comments

Your body is now a crime scene

"Using the legal standard of "reckless behavior" all a district attorney needs to show is that a woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage, even if she didn't intend to lose the pregnancy. Drink too much alcohol and have a miscarriage? Under the new law such actions could be cause for prosecution." A new Utah law now makes intentional behavior leading to miscarriage or "reckless" behavior leading to miscarriage a crime punishable by life in prison.
posted by Avenger on Feb 24, 2010 - 88 comments

"We know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us."

Though President Obama has signed no laws since taking office that prohibit gun purchases and ownership, that hasn't stopped permit applications and weapons sales in the United States from rising through the roof and worried state legislators from passing laws they wouldn't otherwise pass, which greatly ease access and allow carrying weapons in, among other public areas, city, state and national parks. Schools may have to get their kids prepared.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 23, 2010 - 102 comments

"I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me! For I am the ruler of all that I see!” "He's made our case for us, your honor, you see. And so prosecution rests our case, don't we?"

"Your responsibility is to defend Yertle. You may argue that Yertle is the king and, as protector of the realm, has a right to order his subjects to do whatever he thinks is necessary. He thought it was necessary to see what was beyond his pond and pressed other turtles into service so that he could see that far. They were hurt in the line of duty, so he wasn't personally liable for Sadie's injury. He did not realize how young she was, or he wouldn't have ordered her to join the stack of turtles." Turtle on Trial, a lesson from the ABA for Law Day, May 1.
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 7, 2010 - 17 comments

Bringing Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the public in spite of the US Supreme Court

In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 3, 2010 - 37 comments

Pornography's victim wants viewers to pay

Amy's uncle started abusing her when she was four years old. Depictions of her abuse are "one of the most popular and readily available kiddie porn videos on the Internet." Her lawyer has a novel - and apparently successful - strategy for recovering compensation: use the theory of joint liability to sue everyone with a copy of the video.
posted by Joe in Australia on Feb 3, 2010 - 96 comments

Terry Pratchett ready to be test case for suicide law

Sir Terry Pratchett, the popular comical fantasy author who in 2007 revealed that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, will present today his ideas about having a tribunal set up to help those with incurable diseases end their lives with help from doctors.
posted by Jeremy Banks on Feb 1, 2010 - 39 comments

Bondsmen vs. Pretrial Release

Pretrial release is an alternative to a cash or surety bond that allows some criminal defendants to avoid jail while awaiting trial; allowing defendants to continue to work or care for children. [more inside]
posted by electroboy on Jan 26, 2010 - 27 comments

Read my lips

As is well known by now, the opening spectacle of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing featured a young girl's performance of Ode to the Motherland which was later revealed to be a lip-synch. The talented original singer Yang Peiyi was considered not "cute" enough. As is perhaps not so well known, however, the resultant flap resulted in the creation of a strict anti-lip-synch law in China, and now two Chinese pop stars face a $12,000 lip-synching fine. Some Chinese rockers have eagerly supported the creation of the ban on lip-synch, and, interestingly, the practice of lip-synching in Chinese musical entertainment had been under discussion in Chinese government circles since at least 2005.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 23, 2010 - 40 comments

Jurors have a power so secret even they may not know about it.

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.
posted by shivohum on Jan 22, 2010 - 79 comments

Eye of Providence

The Business Plot of 1933 has reached a logical conclusion: the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely (pdf) to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress.
posted by four panels on Jan 21, 2010 - 332 comments

When transphobia interferes with quality healthcare

"Melissa" (name changed for privacy) is a transwoman who was badly injured in a car accident and is in hospital in critical condition. While in treatment, some of the medical staff and her family decided that since she still had a "male" body, to make things "less confusing", they will erase 4 years of her female identity by referring to her as a man and taking her off her hormone therapy. (Warning: possible triggers) As little light puts it:
And if she woke up as from a deep sleep, she’d wake up into a world where her best friend was dead, where her body had been forcibly edited back to its pre-transition state and given a few more years of the influence of testosterone to boot, where her memory and self were hazy and confusing and nobody was calling her by the right name and pronouns, they were in fact pretending four years of her life, the four years she finally got to be honest and true to herself, those had never happened, and shh, she’s just confused, shhhh, calm down, let’s work on fixing your memory some more.
[more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 13, 2010 - 147 comments

A break with tradition: trial without jury in England

The first criminal trial without a jury to take place in England and Wales in more than 400 years begins tomorrow. [more inside]
posted by jonesor on Jan 11, 2010 - 52 comments

The Lawless Netherworlds of Gay Relationships

Queer female webzine Autostraddle, who interviewed media celebrity Tila Tequila shortly before the death of her fiancée, socialite Casey Johnson, uses the aftermath to discuss the complications of not having legal rights as a gay couple when the relationship becomes dysfunctional:
We don’t look at those crazy-ass toxic relationships that were so intense they carved a hole in your heart and you knew, no matter how deep the emotional connection, that at any minute your loved one could get up, walk out the door, and never speak to you again, and that it wouldn’t matter if you’d paid their bills or built a life around their demands. There is nothing tying you together besides your feelings. And that’s really frightening.

posted by divabat on Jan 9, 2010 - 51 comments

Obama Told Me I Was Doing The Right Thing

A medical marijuana provider in California is mounting a novel defense after his marijuana farm was raided by Federal agents. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 31, 2009 - 69 comments

...And Justice For All

New WM3 Defense Letter Imprisoned since 1993, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. filed new appeals in Oct. 2007 - previously - only to have them thrown out less than a year later. But a recent article in the Arkansas Law Review, which came on the heels of support from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Conviction, has the Arkansas Supreme Court reconsidering the appeals. Meanwhile, Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims, had his lawsuit against the Dixie Chicks tossed out earlier this month. [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Dec 17, 2009 - 19 comments

Only the rich can safely get high

Medical Marijuana Apartheid -- as the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy misrepresents (PDF source) the new policy of the American Medical Association (PDF source) in regard to medical marijuana, and the U.S. Congress lifts the ban on Washington D.C.'s Initiative 59 ("the first time Congress has given its assent to a state or local law that permits medical use of marijuana") -- one writer questions whether the "back-door" decriminalization of cannabis has institutionalized class- and race-based discrimination.
posted by mrgrimm on Dec 17, 2009 - 36 comments

Has the Supreme Court Become Too Catholic

Has the Supreme Court become too Catholic?
posted by jefficator on Dec 10, 2009 - 123 comments

Why doesn't the government have its own shoe stores as well?

Have you ever wondered why you can't get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, etc.? Mark Hicken, a British Colombian lawyer, is a great source of information on the state(s) of Canadian liquor regulations. Sure, a little localised and dry, but that's the terroir, man. Also, he does point out some inanities that have a relatively universal appeal.
posted by converge on Dec 10, 2009 - 27 comments

Lawyer in love

Interview with Marc Randazza Remember the Glenn Beck copyright infringement lawsuit? Did you enjoy the arguments of the defending lawyer?(PDF) That was Marc Randazza. [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson on Dec 8, 2009 - 13 comments

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