Posts in Constitutional Law
Know Your Rights to Prevent Police Brutality and Civil Rights Violations

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.”

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"Heartbeat" Laws Take the Abortion Fight to the Next Level

Governor Kemp’s decision to effectively ban all abortions in Georgia is a regressive threat to the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of unknowing expectant mothers and a serious blow to the public welfare. Worse still, Georgia is not alone. Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, and North Dakota have all enacted similar “heartbeat” laws. The ACLU and others are fighting such laws in court, but who knows what we can expect from this and other abortion related litigation now that the federal courts and the Supreme Court have more Republican appointees than Democratic ones. This is all the more reason to take seriously the 2020 election and to consider the abortion stance of each of the candidates.

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Manslaughter-by-Phone: The Tragedy of Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy

This week, Michelle Carter was imprisoned in Massachusetts for a jarring version of the crime of involuntary manslaughter. This case has an astounding twist: she was found guilty of manslaughter for sending text messages and having phone conversations to urge her 18 year-old long-distance boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself, something he’d allegedly been wanting and planning to do for a long time and finally did. Carter was 17 at the time of Mr. Roy’s suicide. Even when Mr. Roy was having second thoughts about killing himself, Ms. Carter urged him to carry forward and finish the job. He did. The Massachusetts high court decided that Ms. Carter, by her text messages and phone conversations, overwhelmed Mr. Roy’s fragile willpower and thus directly caused his death, nevermind the fact that she was nowhere near the location of his suicide at the time they were texting and talking with each other.

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Disarm and Destroy: School Policies Prohibiting Attorney Representation in Administrative Proceedings - and How to Fight Back!

An attorney can do much for a student or other individual facing a school in an administrative grievance, investigation, hearing, or appeal, be it reviewing the facts and properly advising the individual, drafting correspondence or other documents in the dispute, negotiating with the school, representing the individual at hearings, filing complaints with governmental bodies, or preparing the foundations for litigation against the school in the court system. Schools know this, and that’s why they scurrilously try to prohibit attorney representation for individuals - be they students, teachers, or staff - in such disputes. It’s far easier for schools to remain unopposed, to intimidate you, and to take your money and time and leave you holding your head on the curb after it’s all over.

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New York's "Blindfold Law" is the Devil's Bargain and Should be Repealed Now

In the meantime, it remains up to aggressive criminal defense attorneys such as myself to continue to push for the Constitutional rights of our clients against stonewalling efforts of prosecutors who diabolically seek to delay the revealing of exculpatory and other crucial evidence, and more so, to offer our clients who are facing the deprivation of their freedoms and very lives not some limp guiding hand through the devil’s bargain of plea deal negotiations but rather an earnest and intense defense focused on investigating the allegations and evidence and utilizing the facts and the law to ensure that justice, not mere rote work, is accomplished.

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The Corruption Report: US Political Corruption at the Local, State & Federal Levels

It is our civic duty to know what our government is doing. For many unfortunate people in our nation, such reading material is a too familiar synopsis of what hell they have personally experienced at the hands of biased, bullying, and corrupt government officials at all levels of government. Knowledge is power. With action at the voting booth, we can begin to make a difference. Speak out. Resist. We all deserve a true democracy – nothing less.

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Of Empires and Colonies: Oliver Stone’s “Untold History of the United States”

Having just finished watching on Netflix the 12-part documentary by Oliver Stone, “Untold History of the United States” (2012), I find myself amazed. At risk of coming off as conceited, I am amazed at myself and at my many history teachers: for how did I, having studied Western history at the highest quality grade schools, university, graduate schools, and law school, having been an exceptional and curious student, and having continued to study such topics as history and politics well past my academic years, not know so much of the essential information gifted us in this documentary (and its companion 700-page book) by famed film-maker Mr. Stone and co-author Peter Kuznick, an American University historian?

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Precedented: Mr. Trump Fits Perfectly into US History of Elitism, Nepotism, and Corruption.

With few tools at our disposal, we must use them maximally and wisely: Protest, resist, vote, and support businesses that reflect your politics. Most importantly, let’s not make Mr. Trump into some sort of lightning rod. The corruption and anti-democratic actions of US politics is a much bigger story than our current President. Our resistance efforts should be similarly multi-pronged.

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Islamophobia requires our response

Middle Eastern Americans are removed from U.S. airlines ostensibly for speaking Arabic on board. Muslims are attacked outside U.S. mosques. Whispers and sometimes shouts of “terrorist” follow them in their daily lives. Their ethnicity is used against them in their jobs, in the courts, in relationships, in everyday business transactions. The stereotype is that they are dangerous, hateful and backward. Ugly epithets are flung at them. Where is the community outrage?

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Je ne suis pas Charlie: Hate Speech amidst “Freedom” Rhetoric

In short, the USA and all the world’s nations stand to benefit from intelligently drafting and fairly enforcing laws that restrict and punish hate speech whilst upholding free speech to ensure that political, social, and artistic creativity flourish and racism and illegal discrimination are eradicated from the public domain. Laws rationally banning public hate speech can be drafted and should be drafted, for nobody can doubt the power and efficacy of the pen. Surely we can all learn this lesson from the martyred artists of Charlie Hebdo, may they rest in peace.

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Unwanted Refugees: Racism against Middle Eastern-Americans Requires a Public Response

What can we, as Middle Eastern-Americans, expect from our new home’s cultural perceptions of us but antagonism? Whispers and sometimes shouts of “terrorist” follow us in our daily lives. Our Middle Eastern ethnicity is used as a stereotype against us in our jobs, in courtrooms, in our relationships, in day-to-day business transactions, such that we are painted as dangerous, hateful, and backwards. When we are called ugly epithets, such as “sand-n****r” or “dune-c**n”, there is no public outrage.

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Lowering the Age of Consent is a Children's Rights Issue

It is this sense of control over children that pervades the US legal system’s treatment of minors in every part of their lives, including their ability to unilaterally and without parental supervision or approval partake in many activities until they reach the Age of Consent set by each state. In so many other nations and throughout time including the present, children under the age of 18 have been working professionally in various types of jobs, getting married, having sex, raising their own children, running companies, and even ruling nations. We know that children are better educated now than at any other time in history. Arguably with the kinds of experiences and information that they can access in the world today and especially online, children are more in touch with who they are, their place in the world, what they believe, and what they want to accomplish: all the hallmarks of maturity.

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What Real Democracy Looks Like: You at Your Laptop Making Stuff Happen

Ok, your street needs paving, and it’s been pockmarked with potholes for a while. Your air smells like sewage, so it’s time to look into your county’s wastewater treatment center. Or you need a better source of electricity in your state than you’re currently getting. So what do you do? Wait for your politician to do something about it, right Wrong! Because you’ll be old and gray before that happens, as we all know. But this is representative democracy at its finest. And representative democracy is really just a bunch of baloney parading around as democracy. It’s basically oligarchy — a political system where a small group of people (e.g., career politicians, the rich, the well-connected) control the government.

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Sexism in Divorce Court: A Comparative Understanding of the Case of Sakineh Ashtiani in Iran and Child Custody Statistics in the USA

The problem of sexism in our understanding of parenthood is beyond a simple legal problem. In our culture, to "mother" a child has the connotation of "coddling" or "nurturing" a child; whereas to "father" a child means to "procreate", "spawn" or "sire" a child. The mainstream cultural vision of the typical breadwinner is male in our culture, and the mainstream cultural vision of a homemaker is female in our culture. We too suffer from a sexist family law system here in the United States.

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The Justice System is Broken. Why fix it when natural consequences will do a much better job?

The Justice System – from cops to courts to jails – is just not working. So why continue on with it? Are we dupe enough to believe that we can actually improve upon a system that already swallows hundreds of billions of dollars every year, that employs millions of people many of whom with stellar educations and noble intentions?

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#BlackLivesMatter – A Movement that Should Lead to a Constitutional Amendment Creating A Direct Democracy

Look at the brutality that we have created, look at the injustice. It is time that we rethink this structure. We are adults, we have minds, and we must use them to create a better world. The police state simply creates a more antagonistic Society, judges render no real justice, and prisons do not rehabilitate but simply exacerbate.

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Why the Innocent Plead Guilty & What We Should Do About It

Judge Jed Rakoff, a federal judge at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, wrote a fantastic article in November 2014 for The New York Review of Books entitled “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty“. Shortly after, he provided an interview about the topic to AlterNet, an online magazine. In it, he discussed how federal criminal defendants accept plea bargains 97% of the time and on average state criminal defendants accept them 94% of the time.

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Obama Universal Health Care Plan Is Unconstitutional, and Other Broken Promises of the Obama Administration

During his campaign, Mr. Obama promised us to create a meaningful universal health care law that would provide all Americans with necessary health care coverage. I suppose by that he meant that he would institute the Republican, pro-insurance industry requirement that we all get in line to spend what little money we have to purchase private insurance policies from big insurance companies, lest we be held liable for violating the ironically named "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law" - an Orwellian name for a law that is itself unconstitutional.

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Nuclear Bombs for Everyone: School Shootings, the 2nd Amendment, and School Negligence Lawsuits

As soon as our reeling minds start to focus on why this tragedy happened and how we could try to prevent it from happening again, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today, along with similar school shootings throughout the country over the last decade including the famous 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Columbine, Colorado, raises questions for us about gun control laws in the face of the US Constitution's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

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