The English court system is considering a controversial new report by Dame Elish Angiolini that would establish a rule that women cannot be viewed as consenting to sex if they are found to be intoxicated. The report is pushing an amendment of the Sexual Offences Act to establish the rule.
Below is my column today in USA Today on the decision of the Supreme Court to reject the Obama Administation’s argument for a low standard in criminalizing speech on the Internet and other forums. The Court did not have to directly deal with the free speech implications of the case since it ruled on the standard for criminalization. The Court rejected the lowest standard of a reasonable person in establishing a criminal threat. However, with the remand, the issue may come back to the Court under another effort to adopt an alternative standard of recklessness.
The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in Elonis v. United States, a case that had sweeping implications for free speech on the Internet. The Obama Administration sought to establish a low standard for criminalizing speech based on a reasonable person standard that would have gutted the requirement of scienter or intent in establishing a criminal threat. The Court adopted the narrowest basis to remand the case but it clearly rejected the lower standard sought by the Administration. In doing so, free speech dodged a bullet today and the Obama Administration came perilously close to rolling back on protections for free speech on both the Internet and social media.
Welcome to Painesville. In this aptly named Ohio town, Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti ordered Diamond Gaston, an assault suspect who pepper-sprayed someone in the face at a fast-food restaurant, that she could choose between 30 days in jail or be pepper-sprayed by her victim. Cicconetti then had the pepper-spray replaced with harmless saline spray without telling Gaston.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contibutor
It has happened again. Several big banks have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar and are paying billions in fines for their admitted transgressions.
“On Wednesday, four large global banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland — pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes over a scheme to manipulate the value of the world’s currencies. The Justice Department accused the banks of collusion in one of the largest and yet least regulated markets, noting that at one bank one trader remarked “the less competition the better.”
That lack of oversight, coupled with the pressure to squeeze profits from a relatively middling business, set the stage for this scandal, one that unfolded nearly every day for five years. The crimes described on Wednesday also painted the portrait of something more systemic: a Wall Street culture that enabled many big banks to break the law even after years of regulatory black marks after the crisis.” New York Times Continue reading
The hearing on the Administration’s motion to dismiss the House challenge was heard yesterday in Washington, D.C. as reported widely in the media. (Wall Street Journal, NBC, Daily Mail, Rollcall, New York Times,AP, The motion is now under advisement and the parties will wait for a decision on whether the House can be heard on the merits of this historic challenge. If the Court rules against the motion, the parties will then be able to present their arguments on the merits of the constitutional challenge. If the Court rules for the motion, the case can proceed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for review. (Thanks to Claire Duggan for the photographs)
At 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear argument on the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants in U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell, et al., No. 1:14-cv-01967 (D.D.C.). The defendants are the Departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury, and the secretaries of those two executive branch agencies. The Administration is seeking to prevent the Court from reaching the merits of this historic case, which was authorized by an affirmative vote of the entire House of Representatives on July 30, 2014, and which the House filed for the purpose of protecting our constitutional structure.