The Road to True Threats is Paved with Intimidating Intentions

Recently, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the dividing line between free speech guarantees and the state’s authority to criminalize threat speech. In United States v. Heineman, the court held that the government must prove specific intent in true-threat cases: to obtain a conviction, prosecutors must prove not just that the defendant intended to…

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A New Remedy for Online Defamation

In the United States it is enormously difficult to remove allegedly defamatory information from the internet.  A victim can take the expensive and time-consuming step of suing the author for defamation in court.  However, even if a court rules that the statement is defamatory—that is, that the published statement is false and harmful to the…

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FATCA: Trapped by the Land of the Free?

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has been billed as the U.S.’s bold effort to go after tax dodgers and cheats. The picture painted is that of greedy rich people secreting their fortunes in offshore accounts and away from poor Uncle Sam. But this is not a fair representation of FATCA’s impact or reach.…

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Collateral Damage: Criminal Convictions and the Lasting Consequences

  Prosecutors and often even judges do not appreciate the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, regardless of whether it results from a trial or a plea agreement.  While the direct consequences of conviction are obvious – such as jail time, probation requirements, and fines – the collateral consequences are more insidious.  Yet sometimes those…

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DC Bans the Box

   MLive.com Graphic   Criminal defendants face a wide range of consequences for their alleged actions.  The high emotional and financial cost of defending a case may pale in comparison to the personal toll resulting from a conviction and the associated direct consequences including fines, penalties, remuneration, and incarceration. For most offenders, however, the longest-lasting…

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Bitcoin Equal to Money According to District Court Ruling

Is it possible to commit money laundering with virtual currency? At least one federal judge thinks so. Last month, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest refused to dismiss a money laundering charge premised on the use of a Bitcoin-based payment system. She is the first federal judge to hold that the federal money laundering statute is…

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NY Legalizing Medical Marijuana with the Compassionate Care Act

Severely ill patients in New York State are celebrating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature of a bill that legalized medical marijuana in New York for many severely ill patients[1]. As noted by Assembly Speaker Silver in his remarks, “With this agreement, we are assuring access to that much-needed relief while ensuring the tightest possible regulation and…

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The Right to Remain Silent Does Not Extend to Computer/Phone Passwords

Recently the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that under certain circumstances, a court may compel a criminal defendant to provide the password to encrypted digital evidence without violating the defendant’s constitutional rights. This is an increasingly prevalent issue that has divided courts across the country and may be presented to the United States Supreme Court…

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