Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Plight of the Spanish-Speaking Public Defender


The role of a public defender has always played an important role in the criminal law system.  Guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, every individual has a right to the assistance of counsel for his defense against any criminal charges brought against him.  However, as the Hispanic community in the United States grows, a unique issue in the criminal justice world has surfaced.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Henderson v. United States: the Battle for Firearm Property Protection


Henderson v. United States
Docket No.: 13-1487
Argument Heard: Feb 24, 2015

ISSUE: 
The Supreme Court will have to decide if a felony conviction takes away a defendant’s full property interest in his or her firearms.  Under Federal Law a felony conviction makes it unlawful for a defendant to possess a firearms.  However, can a defendant upon conviction transfer his firearms to a third- party or sell the firearms for personal benefits.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Prosecuting the Hate Crime


Hate-motivated crimes, or hate crimes have gained an extraordinary amount of publicity in recent years; however, these crimes are not reported as often as assumed, and they are rarely ever prosecuted.  Recent examples of such crimes are the cases of Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tyler Clementi, Christopher Lane, and Eric Gardner.  Even more recently was the North Carolina Chapel Hill shootings that stole the lives of Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, and her sister, Razan Mohammad.  Self-proclaimed Atheist, Craig Stephen Hicks, shot the three Muslim students in their home execution-style in what mass media reported as “a dispute between neighbors” fueled by rage over a parking spot.  However, family members and supporters all over the world know what it really was: a hate crime.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Revenge Porn: Spurned Lovers’ Retaliation in the Digital Age



One of the biggest scandals of 2014 was the leak of several celebrities’ nude photographs to the internet this past September by hackers, who obtained the photographs from the celebrities’ iClouds.   The media was bursting with news about the photographs and statements from female celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton

However, celebrities are not the only victims of these kinds of violations; they happen to women everywhere, all the time.  Spurned ex-lovers can easily and anonymously post nude photographs and videos acquired while in an intimate relationship with another to the Internet on a variety of sites created just for that purpose.  The practice is known as “revenge porn,” and it has been a highly relevant topic among legislators, criminal law practitioners, and feminist advocates following the recent scandal.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ohio v. Clark


The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Ohio v. Clark on March 2, 2015.

Issues:
Whether an individual’s obligation to report suspected child abuse makes that individual an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause; and whether a child’s out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to a teacher’s concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause

Friday, February 6, 2015

Public Enemy Number One: Heroin

Last year, the United States tackled a deadly epidemic that made its way into the nation’s borders; however, the nation looked past a preexisting threat that has killed more people in the past few years than ever before in history.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the deadly drug, heroin, has killed more people recently than in previous years; 43,000 people per year, to be exact.  To give this number more meaning, the father of a young man who died of an overdose found that this number is fourteen times the number of people who died in the September 11th attacks, and it means that in a twenty-month period, heroin will claim more lives than the Vietnam War did in its entirety.  National figures show an increase in deaths by thirty-nine percent, and over 2,000 more lives claimed in 2013 than in 2012.  The drug has also claimed more lives than violent crimes and automobile accidents.  Moreover, this is the fifteenth year in a row that the number of heroin-related deaths has risen.