Imagine you are sitting in your home enjoying some television when all of a sudden you see a group of policemen stroll down the street with a K-9 unit. This specialized drug hunter barks in the direction of your house indicating there may be illegal substances in your dwelling. The police have the right to break down the door and search your home because that may now be considered probable cause. The United States Supreme Court heard two cases back to back, Florida v. Jardines and Florida v. Harris, that will decide just that.Google+
It’s that time of year again when the United States Supreme Court unveils its agenda for the year season. One interesting case to make sure to watch for is Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. The case deals with the first-sale doctrine. A precedent established by the Supreme Court since 1908 that acknowledges compete ownership of a product by the consumer after the first purchase. This case all started with college textbooks, an expense all college students are aware of. An international student, Supap Kirstaeng, told his family back in Thailand to buy his textbooks on the international market. He got them for a huge discount and shipped them to him privately. Currently, international textbooks are not allowed to be sold in the United States. After Mr. Kirstaeng read the books, he sold them in the US. The textbook company filed suit and the controversy has made its way up to the Supreme Court.Google+
Federal Judge Katherine recently put in place a permanent injunction to block the Obama Administration from implementing the indefinite detention portions of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. President Obama has appealed this decision. In this law, American citizens’ right of due process and trial by jury have been severely weakened if not destroyed. Any citizen considered an ‘associated force’ to terrorism may be held indefinitely. This ambiguous language has left many to question what specifically an ‘associated force’ means.Google+
In Orlando, Florida, an Innovative Response to Improve Safety, or an IRIS Camera, stopped a crime in progress. This was also the first time that this camera system was used to intervene during the middle of the criminal activity. What crime? Was it Murder, rape, maybe terrorism, no it was someone thought to be smoking pot. The police officer viewing the activity assumed Joe Haywood and two other individuals were smoking Marijuana and dispatched an officer right away to stop the illegal activity. When a patrol car arrived on scene, the man with the alleged marijuana swallowed the substance. The officer then said he saw a marijuana leaf stuck on Haywood’s teeth. Haywood was arrested and the others were let go. He has retained an attorney and plans on suing the police department.Google+
An article in the New York Times caught my attention today. It’s about the fallout from the 2011 Supreme Court decision in AT&T v. Concepcion, which stated that corporations can write clauses into contracts to prevent class action lawsuits. To do this, the clauses require customers to settle disputes through arbitration (instead of in an actual court of law) and to relinquish their right to litigate as a class. In effect, the contracts waive the customers’ right to due process. Since that decision, the legal world has changed. For the better or for worse?
Keep reading the full post to see what’s up with these clauses and to learn a tip on how to get around them.Google+