Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “laws”

Feds Going Criminal Crazy

From federal agencies independently attaching jail time to otherwise noncriminal behavior to U.S. lawmakers punishing crimes best dealt with by states, the problem of overcriminalization is growing. Molly M. Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums argues that the urge to regulate and delegate is a powerful one for federal lawmakers, but there should be clear areas of agreement to reduce the range of activity subject to criminal penalties. H/T Cato Institute

Spain’s Grisly Crime Reporting

It was just the next morning after the murder of volleyball star Ingrid Visser when the local Spanish newspaper La Verdad was able to publish an extremely detailed report about the find. So just where did this information come from? “That’s a million euro question that I will never answer”, retorts crime reporter Ricardo Fernandez. The Spanish press and police have a notoriously close relationship. The lawyer of the main suspect claims that his client has already been convicted in the court of public opinion, and that a fair trial is now impossible. In Holland relatives of Visser have been horrified by the intimate revelations about the case. Yet Fernandez remains defiant: “I have to protect my interests. And my interests are to inform society.”

Who Decides How You Die?

You may have the right to control your own life, but what about your own death? This is a question facing several states across the U.S., including, most recently, Vermont and Montana. While physician aid-in-dying, or assisted suicide, has been legal in Oregon for almost two decades and legal in Washington for almost five years, other states have proved resistant to the idea. Reason TV was on the scene as this legal and moral battle played out in a somewhat surprising place: Montana, where conservative Republicans dominate local politics.

“We have a certain tradition here, going back to frontier days, of saying there are certain areas the government ought to stay out of,” says Robert Connell, a Montana attorney who argued in the state’s landmark Supreme Court case, Baxter v. Montana. Connell’s client, U.S. Marine veteran and retired trucker Robert Baxter, suffered from a terminal illness called lymphocytic leukemia and wanted the ability to take medication that would hasten his death and end his suffering. He died before Montana’s Supreme Court could even issue the Baxter decision, which recognized a constitutional right to assisted suicide for all Montanans.

Our Corporate Copyrights

Copyright is a good idea, but the way it is currently used is not. The laws, originally designed to protect artists and authors, now give corporations carte blanche to control intellectual properties for more than a century.

Watch Out for Patent Trolls

They don’t make anything. They don’t sell anything. But patent trolls earn upwards of $29 billion a year, and that’s not even taking into account hush-hush, off-the-record settlements. How do these trolls operate, and how are they damaging the economy as well as stifling innovation? Zach Weissmueller from Reason.TV probes the issue with an assist from Julie Samuels, an attorney and the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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