Earlier this month the Supreme Court heard arguments in an unusual case arising from a criminal prosecution concerning a woman who tried to poison her best friend and was later convicted of a federal crime for her actions. The case is a test of whether the federal government can use treaties as a basis to prosecute Americans, something that the justices appeared to be skeptical of. The origins of this case go back to 1998 when the government passed a law that banned the use of chemical weapons for anything other than a “peaceful purpose.” The law was derived from a treaty signed in 1993, which represented an international agreement on the subject. The goal of the accord was to prevent terrorist groups from getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction, arguably not to target spurned microbiologists. Read moreGoogle+
The American Dream complex – formerly known as Xanadu and located in East Rutherford, New Jersey – has become a controversial addition to the area. Construction of the complex began in 2007, but the building itself experienced a delayed development. Despite its potential for a variety of fun opportunities from 300+ retail stores to theme parks, protesters have put forth legitimate apprehensions and lawsuits over the complex’s effects to the surrounding areas.Google+
An activist group in New York recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of four chimpanzees currently living in captivity in various locations around the state. The suit is asking the courts to realize that these complex animals deserve “the right to bodily liberty” as any human has. Steven M. Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project states, “When we go to court on behalf of the first chimpanzee plaintiffs, we’ll be asking judges to recognize, for the first time, that these cognitively complex, autonomous beings have the basic legal right to not be imprisoned”. The group will be taking the stand in court for chimps Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo who are being wrongfully caged by their owners. They state that this will be the first of many lawsuits across the country fighting for the rights of captive creatures.Google+
In a strange development in the criminal defense world, experts say that brain scans and other scientific data is increasingly being used in criminal trials, with defense attorneys citing MRIs as proof that their clients ought to be set free or at the least receive special considerations.
Experts familiar with the matter say that lawyers have begun turning to scientific studies, as a criminal defense strategy, to minimize the extent to which their clients ought to be held responsible or punished for certain crimes. Some estimate that as many as five percent of all murder cases now include neuroscience evidence, a surprising development that has exploded in the last few years. Read moreGoogle+