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Category: Criminal Law

The Call to Defund the Police: What Does It Mean?

The Call to Defund the Police: What Does It Mean?

The death of George Floyd, a black gentleman killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, sparked frustration and outrage in communities all over the world. Protestors, communities, and families are demanding an end to brutality, misconduct, and racial profiling by the police. In the past, police reform efforts included implicit bias and de-escalation training for officers, mandatory body cameras, increased community outreach, and new use-of-force policies. But, for many, these efforts have failed—completely. And now people are demanding more than…

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Drones Remind Citizens to Maintain Social Distance

Drones Remind Citizens to Maintain Social Distance

If you think you hear a message from above—look up—it might be a police drone telling you to go home. Police Deploy Drones During COVID-19 Several police departments have deployed drones to provide automated reminders to the public to social distance and obey stay-at-home orders. Law enforcement departments in Connecticut, Florida, and New Jersey are sending out drones to monitor public parks, venues, and beaches. The drones warn social-distancing violators to maintain distance and, if necessary, the department can send…

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How Is the Coronavirus Impacting Court Cases?

How Is the Coronavirus Impacting Court Cases?

By Rebecca Pirius Courts throughout the country are trying to operate as effectively as they can in the massive wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With little (if any) historical guidance, courts face the extraordinary challenge of attempting to balance public health and safety with constitutional rights. The Judicial Council of California, which is the policy-making body for the state’s court system, recently reflected on this critical task: The continuous operation of our courts to provide due process and protect the…

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“Florida Woman,” and the Reality of Fake Lawyers

“Florida Woman,” and the Reality of Fake Lawyers

Sometimes I feel like a lecturing parent, telling people that before hiring a lawyer they should check references, ask lots of questions, and check the person’s state bar membership. That’s particularly true in the immigration law setting, where a vulnerable population and lack of oversight (or interest) from law enforcement has led to all manner of scams and ripoffs. But then a news report like this one recently out of Tampa comes along. (And further solidifies Florida’s status as the…

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Is Julian Castro Suggesting We Amend U.S. Law to Open the Borders?

Is Julian Castro Suggesting We Amend U.S. Law to Open the Borders?

As anyone who watched or heard snippets of the first Democratic presidential debate likely knows, candidate Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, proposed a repeal of the portion of U.S. law (8 U.S.C. § 1325) that makes it a crime to cross the border into the U.S. without authorization. People found guilty of a violation under § 1325 can currently be fined up to $5,000 (under the terms of 18 U.S.C. Section 3571) and/or sentenced to a maximum…

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