PBS NewsHour – Based largely on a rap he wrote, and accounts of two witnesses given years after the shooting, rapper Antwain Steward was arrested and charged with double murder. Critics contend rap is a musical art form that should not be taken as evidence of criminal behavior. But some prosecutors say they don’t buy the argument that the work is all fiction. See video here.
June 28, 2014
June 26, 2014
The Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to executive power, cutting back on the president’s power to issue recess appointments during brief breaks in the Senate’s work. Full article here.
Marcia Coyle with the National Law Journal discusses these recent cases on the PBS Newshour.
June 19, 2014
Interesting article: Identifying Judicial Empathy: Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women’s Issues?
In this paper, we ask whether personal relationships can affect the way that judges decide cases. To do so, we leverage the natural experiment of a child’s gender to identify the effect of having daughters on the votes of judges. Using new data on the family lives of U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, we find that, conditional on the number of children a judge has, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more feminist fashion on gender issues than judges who have only sons. This result survives a number of robustness tests and appears to be driven primarily by Republican judges. More broadly, this result demonstrates that personal experiences influence how judges make decisions, and it is the first paper to show that empathy may indeed be a component in how judges decide cases.
You can download the full article here.
June 16, 2014
Suppose you spent five years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. How much does the government owe you?
Over the past few decades, the rise of DNA exonerations has made this a more pressing question. And many states have created explicit policies to answer it.
But those policies vary wildly from state to state.
Twenty-one states provide no money — though people who are exonerated can sue for damages. Twelve states and the District of Columbia award damages on a case-by-case basis. Another 17 states pay a fixed amount per year of imprisonment.
Full article here.
June 12, 2014
To see the speed of technological innovation, look no further than a street corner. Hailing a cab from the street is less common in cities with Uber, a service that lets you request a ride with the simple tap of a mobile phone app.
The five-year-old company — now valued at $17 billion — is growing so fast that it’s operating in 128 cities globally, on every continent except Antarctica. But its disruptive entrance to the market means it’s facing some growing pains worldwide.
“In 128 of our cities, we’ve got regulatory issues in about 128 of our cities,” says Justin Kintz, Uber’s policy director for the Americas.
See full story at NPR.
The library has a related book you can look at – Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, and Local Sustainable Economies. You can find this book on the shelves of the law library at the following call number – KF1470 .O77 2012
A Reference librarian can take you right to the book. Just ask at Reference if you need assistance.
From the “Law and Daily Life blog” comes the following post – Is It Legal to Brew Your Own Beer?
Excerpt: Though making moonshine can still get you arrested in many states, as of last year brewing your own beer is legal in all 50 states.
Alabama and Mississippi were the last two states to lift their prohibition on homebrewed beer, but finally relented after years of lobbying, reports Business Insider.
But before you set to work on brewing up your own king of beers to rule your home castle, there are a few things to keep in mind.
June 3, 2014
May 23, 2014
(Reuters) – A Russian court demanded on Thursday that the U.S. Library of Congress hand back seven precious Jewish texts to Moscow – and, in a tit-for-tat ruling, said it should pay a massive fine for every day it delays.
The so-called Schneerson collection, claimed by both Russia and the New York-based Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group, has become a bone of contention in Russia-U.S. ties, at their lowest for decades due to the Ukraine crisis.
The Library of Congress has seven books of the collection, Interfax reported. Russia has 4,425 texts, including editions of the Torah and the Talmud, some of them dating back to the 16th century.
A Moscow arbitration court ruled that the Library of Congress should pay $50,000 in fines for every day the seven books are not handed over. Moscow reacted angrily when a U.S. judge ruled last year Russia should pay $50,000 a day for failing to send the rest of the collection to the United States.
Read the rest of the article here.
May 6, 2014
Town of Greece is clearly a big win for the town and for a more restrained view of what the Establishment Clause prohibits, and rightly so. But the attorneys for the plaintiffs may find some consolation in the narrowness of yesterday’s holding: their gambit worked. As I pointed out in the earlier SCOTUSblog symposium on this case, they made a tactical decision at the Supreme Court merits stage to make this case about coercion instead of endorsement. In yesterday’s ruling, the plaintiffs managed to stave off a direct Supreme Court ruling on the ailing endorsement test. This is so even though government endorsement of religion was the ground on which they prevailed before the Second Circuit and the reason certiorari was granted. The attorneys for the plaintiffs are thus to be congratulated for clever lawyering.
But their rescue of the endorsement test, and even Lemon itself, may be short-lived, for several reasons.
Read the rest here.