|—||Rhode Island State Sen. Joshua Miller • In a statement, released via the official Rhode Island State Senate website, after introducing a bill that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana for all adults aged 21 or older. The Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act was also introduced to the Rhode Island House of Representatives on Wednesday, by Rep. Edith Ajello, and would make Rhode Island the third state to legalize use of the plant. Medical marijuana was approved by voters back in 2006, and a recent Public Policy Polling study shows a slight majority of voters in the state support regulating cannabis like alcohol. source (via shortformblog)|
Russia announced an expansion to its adoption ban on Thursday, with a new decree prohibiting the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and single people who live in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
The new decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and dated Feb. 10, was posted on the Russian government’s official website Thursday. The move comes one year after Russia banned adoptions from the United States, widely seen as a retaliatory measure after the U.S. passed a law in 2012 punishing Russian officials thought to be involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian auditor who died after allegedly uncovering widespread fraud and human-rights violations.
Photo: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
BATON ROUGE, La. — The smell of freshly cut wood wafting from a dirt lot along an industrial stretch of road near the state capital might not conjure up an image of green energy, but some say this is the future of sustainability.
The smell comes from two white plastic domes rising high along the Mississippi River. Stored inside those domes are millions of wood pellets, which started as trees in the surrounding 50- to 75-mile area, and were converted to easily shippable and burnable material at mammoth factories where wood can stretch as far as the eye can see.
The white domes aren’t the pellets’ final destination.
Photo: Peter Moskowitz/Al Jazeera America
“IF YOU LET EMOTION GUIDE YOUR DECISIONS, ARE YOU SETTING YOURSELF UP TO FAIL? THE ANSWER DEPENDS LARGELY ON ONE KEY THING.”
Quick recap: A juvenile court finds a minor culpable of burglary based on one fingerprint on a window. His lawyer argues that fingerprint evidence is unreliable and bad science. The testimony of the People’s expert witness — not the defendant’s expert, the …
From the article:
A federal appeals court decision by two Wisconsin judges that it’s OK for an Illinois jail to charge every arrested person a $30 booking fee was blasted by a third dissenting judge who compared the practice to something from “Alice in Wonderland” or “1984.”
This is an excellent example of a court abusing the doctrine of Standing to uphold a law that is unconstitutional on its face. The majority engages in a long and completely irrelevant analysis of the Standing doctrine, followed by a Kafkaesque analysis of the Plaintiff’s procedural due process claim that manages to completely miss the point at every turn. As Judge Hamilton says in his dissent:
This should be a simple case. The village’s booking fee ordinance is unconstitutional on its face. It takes property from all arrestees—the guilty and the innocent alike—without due process of law. The deprivation occurs at the time of arrest, immediately and finally. It occurs based on only the say-so and perhaps even the whim of one arresting officer. By no stretch of the imagination can that be due process of law. The fee is in substance a criminal fine, modest but a fine nonetheless, and it is imposed regardless of the validity of the arrest and regardless of whether there is any criminal prosecution or what its outcome might be.
This is how blatantly unconstitutional laws get upheld in the courts. Overly technical judges place form over substance to reach legally absurd results. The Standing doctrine is supposed to be used to prevent the courts from being flooded with claims asserted by people who haven’t actually suffered a legal injury. It certainly doesn’t apply when the Plaintiff is challenging a facially unconstitutional law, which would be invalid when applied to the innocent and guilty alike. So the fact that the Plaintiff pled guilty to the crime he was arrested for is completely irrelevant to the constitutionality of the law. The 7th Circuit majority in this case missed the forest through the trees.
“Approached on foot on the driver’s side, moved around the vehicle to the passenger side of the vehicle,” Light explained to the KNDU News.
Instead of knocking on Rocendo’s window to further investigate the situation, Light admits the officer swung the passenger side door open without informing the driver. After noticing the disassembled gun, Gilette fired four shots, striking Rocendo once in the head.
“It appeared that he had some accessories to the handgun that he was trying to install on it or put pieces of this gun together,” Capt. Light said.
The airsoft gun, which shoots plastic pellets, reportedly had a bright orange plastic tip as well, used to clearly identify the item as a toy.
“I believe this particular handgun had an orange tip. But based on our investigation I don’t want to go into particulars and details of the position of the gun and where the officer was,” Light said.LTMC: This is what reduced expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment get you. Instead of announcing his presence and knocking on the driver’s side door, the officer swings the passenger door open without checking to see if anyone is in the vehicle. The driver is startled, The police officer is startled. The officer sees what appears to be a handgun in the driver’s hand. In a moment of fear, the officer pulls his gun and fires. Now, the driver and legal owner of a handsoft gun who was engaged in no illegal activity is dead.I don’t know what this young man was doing, or what he planned to do. What I do know is that, if the police officer had knocked on the door and identified himself as a police officer, or maybe used his cruiser lights to make it obvious that police were behind the vehicle, the driver might’ve had time to put down his airsoft gun and explain himself. At the very least, he could’ve been taken into custody and charged with something, rather than executed by a scared cop.But because the Supreme Court has determined that you have a reduced expectation of privacy in your automobile, police behave far more licentiously when investigating automobiles than, say, one’s home—particularly if that vehicle happens to be parked in a public place rather than a garage or driveway. Common law rules that protect your home, like the knock-and-announce rule, don’t apply to automobiles.Police internalize these rules when conducting investigations. Fourth Amendment standards of reasonableness are notoriously vague, so police officers often must abide by equally vague procedures when determining whether they have grounds to conduct a search. The officer in this case probably knew that people have reduced expectations of privacy in their automobile, so he didn’t feel terribly bad about swinging the door open without knocking. This same officer probably wouldn’t have done this if it was somebody’s house, since the Fourth Amendment protections for home invasions are held to a higher standard.So now, instead of a misunderstanding that could’ve been resolved with a simple conversation or a brief period of detention, we have a dead person shot by a cop who thought he saw a gun after the cop threw open the passenger side door. This situation might have been avoided if the officer did not think he was entitled to do so under the law. This is just one in a long line of examples of reduced expectations of privacy having bad—and in this case fatal—consequences for U.S. citizens.
Ash Beckham believes we all need to come out of the closet — regardless of our sexual orientation. In this powerful talk at TEDxBoulder, she explains how we each isolate ourselves by avoiding honest conversations about who we really are, and makes a case for coming out of these emotional closets, no matter how comfortable they seem.