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Showing posts from 2018

King of Pop Suing Disney & ABC

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Michael Jackson's estate sued ABC and Disney because a two hour documentary on Jackson's last days improperly used his songs, music videos, and movies.

The lawsuit filed alleges that the special illegally uses significant excerpts of his most valuable songs. It also says that ABC used clips in the 2016 Spike Lee directed documentary, “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall,” and from the 2009 feature film “Michael Jackson’s This is It.”


It cites Disney's aggressive defense of its own copyrights and its normally narrow view of fair use, the doctrine in copyright law that says short excerpts can be used for news, criticism and research.

Representatives from ABC said that the special was a piece of journalism and that it did not infringe on Jackson's estate rights. Since the special could be regarded as a form of news, they would be entitled to fair use of excerpts of Jackson's work, but the lawsuit says that the documentary did not have any news value and…

The Pardoning of Alice Johnson

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Kim Kardashian West recently went to the White House to discuss the pardoning of Alice Johnson, a 62 year old woman who is serving a life sentence for a first time non-violent drug offense.

Johnson was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 after she was convicted of eight criminal counts related to a cocaine trafficking ring. Since appellate judges and the US Supreme Court have since rejected her appeals, Johnson would need to be granted clemency by the president to be discharged.

Johnson has serves over twenty years of her life sentence without parole. So far she has become an ordained minister, a playwright, a mentor, a counselor, a tutor, and a companion for inmates who are suicidal. She hasn't committed a single disciplinary infraction in two decades in prison.

Johnson's case began around 1990. She started getting addicted to gambling, then she lost her job while she was trying to raise five children. Then she was faced with divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and the death o…

Fertility Doctor Fathers 11 Kids With His Patients

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A formerly respected fertility doctor in Canada used his own sperm to father 11 children or more over the course of decades with his patients, according to a class action lawsuit.

The complaint says that Doctor Norman Barwin agreed to use an anonymous donor's sperm in some cases or samples from one member of the couple, but he used his own instead. Recent DNA tests show that as a a result Barwin is the biological father of at least 11 children.

In other cases, Barwin treated 16 women who had chosen intended fathers and later gave birth to children who are not biological matches for those men. The complaint says that the fathers are unknown. The inseminations in the lawsuit are from 1970's to the early 2000s.

The first lawsuit was filed in 2016, but was granted a class action status in April 2018 meaning that the attorneys believe that more people may have been affected by Barwin's actions.

Some sperm samples entrusted to Barwin became contaminated with other sperm which m…

Mother Gives Toddler Pot Infused Food

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25 year old Alaina Limpert from Arizona told the police that she didn't intend for her two year old daughter to eat marijuana infused mac and cheese. She said that she made the pasta dish with cannabutter (which is butter that is laced with THC, the active ingredient in weed that gives someone the high feeling) as a treat for her husband. She wasn't aware that her daughter ate some until the toddler started showing symptoms of being high. 
Then neither parent took the child to emergency care. Instead the police allege that Limpert laughed when her daughter was high and put the toddler in a cold pool to "shock" her.

Someone who witnessed the incident called the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Police arrested Limpert at her home for child abuse, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana, among other charges.

At the Limpert's home, the police found a bag of psychedelic mushrooms, a bag of marijuana, and three large tubs of THC butter in her fridge. T…

Man Burns His House, So His Ex Wife Won't Get It

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Australian, Krste Kovacevski, burned down his house the day before it was going to be handed over to his ex-wife, Naumka Kovaceska, in a property settlement. He lost an appeal in which he argued that he didn't commit any crime by starting the fire. 
K. Kovacevski and N. Kovaceska divorced in 2015 after being separated for several years.

On 22 July, 2016, a judge finalized the property settlement proceedings between the former couple and ordered K. Kovacevski to leave their cottage, where he since in 1991, and hand it over to N. Kovaceska within a couple of months.

K. Kovacevski signed the transfer agreement on 3 August. But after midnight on the morning of 4 August, he set the house on fire and it was completely destroyed.
According to court documents, K. Kovacevski confessed to starting the fire when police arrived at the scene and found him by a garage at the back of the property.

He was convicted of intentionally destroying with fire property belonging to either his ex-wife or…

Ohio Inmate Fights Execution Based on Age

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Ohio death row inmate Gary Otte is motioning to have his death penalty rescinded for the third time before his execution date on September 13, 2017. Otte robbed and murdered two people on consecutive nights in 1992 and was convicted on two counts of aggravated murder and sentenced to death when he was 20 years old. The state of Ohio allows the penalty for those older than eighteen.

A recent court decision in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Bredhold found that the death penalty is unconstitutional for a defendant who was younger than 21 at the time of his offense. It cites that based on current scientific understanding that the brain and emotional development of young offenders reduces their accountability for the death penalty.

Otte is arguing that his death sentence is a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. His lawsuits goes further to note that scientists have discovered brain systems and structures that are involved in self-regulation and higher-order cognition which cont…

7th Circuit Upholds Puppy Mill Ban

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The Seventh Circuit ruled that banning sales of out of state breeders does not violate the Commerce clause, and should help reduce puppy mills. Since the law's enactment, pet stores in Chicago are limited to selling dogs, kittens, and rabbits purchased from animal shelters, nonprofit humane societies or animal rescue organizations.

Before it's effect in 2015, Chicago based pet shops brought up a federal complaint that accused lawmakers of doing more to help puppy mills with the law than shutting them down. The complaint argues that the ordinance does not eliminate the facilities, but eliminated the source of commercially bred puppies in the county that are highly regulated. So consumers wanting a pure-bred puppy will go straight to the source(the puppy mill) instead of going to the pet stores.

The Seventh Circuit found that they failed to state a claim. U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Sykes states that, "the puppy-mill ordinance doesn’t discriminate against interstate commerce, …

Fake Movie Ticket Offer To Find Fake Pizza Order

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Richard Crawford was convicted of placing a fake pizza order to a woman's house, but the New Zealand High Court overturned it because of the hoax movie ticket text a police officer used to track him down and get Crawford's address.

Crawford placed a fake $30 Domino's order last year to the house of a woman who was an unwitting and unwilling recipient. The woman was upset after she got several other anonymous orders made to her house including one occasion where a taxi was ordered to take her to the hospital. There isn't any proof that Crawford is responsible for the other incidents. When the order arrived at the woman's house, she got the phone number of the person who made the order and complained to the police. 
The police sergeant tried to call the number several times with no response, so he ran the number through police systems to no avail. Then he sent the following text: "Thanks for your continued support. You are the winner of two Movie Max 5 session p…

Dog Death on United Airlines

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A passenger's dog was inside an overhead bin on United Airlines Flight 1284 from Houston to New York for over three hours after a flight attendant told the passenger to put it there. Airline officials said they made a mistake. When the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport, the dog had passed away.

Spokesman Charlie Hobart told CNN that the flight attendant should not have told the passenger to put the dog in the bin used for carry on bags.

United Airlines has expressed full responsibility and expressed condolences to the family. They are investigating what happened to prevent it from ever happening again.  United has been in contact with the passenger who owned the dog and offered to pay for a necropsy.

United allows pets in the cabin when they are transported in kennels that can fit under the seat. Some types of animals are prohibited from flying on any flight, but this animal was not on that list. 
PETA, the animal rights group, issued a statement calling for the flight attendant r…

Science Teacher Feeds Puppy to Snapping Turtle

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A junior high school teacher is under investigation after he allegedly fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students for an after school demonstration. Robert Crosland has taught science at Preston Junior High School.

The Superintendent Marc Gee said that the event happened after students were dismissed and was not part of any school directed program.

Former students said that Crosland had previously fed guinea pigs to snakes he keeps in his classroom. It is not clear if the guinea pigs or the puppy were alive before the teacher decided to feed them to his reptiles and amphibians.

Gee says that the district is taking steps to ensure that this action is not repeated.

The Department of Agriculture took the turtle away from Crosland, and had it euthanized. Crosland is under investigation for the alleged animal mistreatment, but he has not been cited or charged and has not been placed on leave.

More than 129,000 people have signed a petition calling for his firing.

The Ida…

Warrantless Motorcycle Search

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A Virginia man was arrested after a police officer walked onto his driveway and pulled back a tarp covering a stolen motorcycle.

The exceptions of the Fourth Amendment dates back to a warrantless search of a suspected bootlegger's car looking for illegal alcohol. In that case, the Supreme Court found that a vehicle could be searched without a warrant as long as police have probable cause to believe it contains contraband or evidence of a crime because cars are mobile, and the evidence can be moved before the police are able to obtain a warrant to search them.

The Virginia case started with two high speed chases of a distinct orange and black motorcycle driven by Ryan Collins. In one chase, a police officer wrote down the motorcycle's license plate and recorded images of it. The number led police to a man who said he sold the motorcycle to Collins after telling him it was stolen. Then an officer looked at Collin's Facebook page, which had photos of an orange and black motor…

NRA v. Florida

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The National Rifle Association has sued the Florida Attorney General and Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement over a recently-passed law that forbids the purchase of rifles by persons under the age of 21.  The law was passed after a public outcry over a massacre at a Florida high school in which a former student who had been expelled from the school used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot and kill many students.  The thought behind the law was that by preventing the sale of rifles to those under age 21, as opposed to 18, this would make it harder for a student or recent student at a school to shoot up the school.


     Enter the NRA.  The NRA, in NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC, V.  PAM BONDI and RICK SWEARINGEN, filed suit seeking a ruling from the United States Distict Court for the Northern District of Florida that the law is unconstitutional and that the chief persons in charge of enforcing that law be prevented from doing so.

     There have been …