The U.S. Legal System and All Things Related Blog

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New Laws in 2021


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With a new year come new rules and regulations across the country.  A plethora of new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2021, reflect the issues of the last year when employment, the pandemic, and criminal justice reform was top of mind for many Americans.

Here are some of the biggest changes that went into effect on January 1.

Corruption Is Alive and Well in American Courts


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A judiciary without honesty has little chance of executing its moral and constitutional duties, no matter how many rules of ethics exist.  This is true in the United States, where the judiciary is afforded wide discretion.  Facts and laws require interpretation; justice and equity require judgment.  We count on honest judges to navigate our ship of justice through dangerous waters.  We expect judges to be honest because we establish institutions that incentivize honesty.  Despite the critical importance of maintaining judicial integrity, there is much to say about how commonplace corruption is in our courts.

Warnings over Guns at Polling Places on Election Day


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Can voters bring guns into polling places?  In most states, the answer is: it depends.  Only about a dozen states—including California, Arizona, Florida and Georgia—explicitly ban open and/or concealed carry in voting sites.  In much of the country, voters may bring firearms into polling places, as long as the buildings and churches do.  Those rules vary at the state and local level.

Assaults and Killings of Judges and Other Court Officials


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An openly misogynistic lawyer who is believed to have killed the son of a female federal judge in New Jersey had a list of more than a dozen other possible targets, including three other judges and two doctors, several people with knowledge of the matter said.  The list of names was found on July 20, 2020, inside a rental car on a rural road in the Catskills in New York, where the lawyer, Ron Den Hollander, had killed himself.

Nationwide Protests and Demand for Institutional Reforms


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As many people are aware, there have been protests around the country as well as around the world after the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25th, 2020.  As the saying goes, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back—after the million other straws underneath it.  The tumult and passion of the past several weeks have forced people to face the uncomfortable realities of our justice system.  These protests are like nothing the United States and the world have ever seen.  The last time anything close to what is currently transpiring happened in the United States was during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Is the COVID-19 Lockdown a Violation of Our Constitutional Rights?


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Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  But what would Franklin have given up to secure a lot of permanent safety—stopping a sometimes lethal microbe that has already killed thousands of Americans?  Like so much else in our world during these trying times, his maxim now faces a harsh test from COVID-19.

Orange County Corruption Exposed


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Two audits conducted by the Orange County sheriff’s department uncovered a pattern of filing false reports that could call into question thousands of convictions.  Deputies booked evidence days, and sometimes weeks, after it was purportedly collected according to an internal audit, which examined thousands of police reports filed between 2016 and 2018.  Thirty percent of evidence was “booked out of policy,” according to a presentation describing the first audit’s findings.  A second audit found that deputies had claimed to have collected evidence that was never booked.

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