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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 …

Rape, Alcohol, and DNA

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Recently I defended a man, we will call him "Fred," accused of rape.  Fred's female accuser had been at a "party" with about 20 other people, including Fred.  The accuser, MC, said she was drunk, went to lie down in her boyfriend's car, and then Fred came to the car, got on top of her, pulled her pants down and raped her.  MC described the weight of his chest pushing down on her hands and that her hands could not move to get free.  She described the act, the sexual penetration, said that it continued for 10-15 minutes while she continually told my client "no," and that he suddenly stopped and walked away without saying a word.

When a rape kit was done, my client's DNA was found in MC's vagina.

An open and shut case?  No.  The jury, which included a rape victim among its members, unanimously acquitted Fred of the charge of rape.

Now for the rest of the story.

     Let's start with Fred's DNA.  The forensic lab that detected Fre…

Off Duty Officer Caught Flying Armed

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Former Boston police detective, Bruce Smith, was sentenced to a year's probation and a $7,500 fine for lying to federal officials so he could fly armed on a personal trip and let a friend avoid going through airport security.

Smith agreed to plead guilty to making false statements to the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security and unlawfully entering a secure airport area with the intent to evade security requirements.  In addition, Smith also agreed to resign from his sergeant detective position.

Smith's attorney said Smith didn't have an ulterior motive and was just visiting his parents. Prosecutors said that Smith flew with a weapon on over 28 personal trips from Logan International Airport.

The U.S. District Court Judge could have put Smith away for a decade on the airport security breach alone. His friend was not charged.

To fly armed, TSA requires law enforcement officers to pass a TSA flying armed training course and prove an opera…

Guilt Admission by Killer’s Lawyer

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A man on death row whose lawyer confessed his guilt while he was proclaiming innocence found a compassionate response from the U.S. Supreme Court. 
The justices struggled to find the line at which attorneys are free to dispense with their client's unreasonable requests.  Justice Stephen Breyer said, "Suppose the opinion were to say in this case the lawyer explicitly said to the jury he is guilty of the crime charged. That the Sixth Amendment forbids. But the rest of these complicated matters, whether it’s elements, whether it’s this, whether it’s that, we leave, at least for now, we leave to the law schools, the bars, the ethics classes and the others because we don’t want to freeze the answer into the Sixth Amendment."  
The case concerns Robert McCoy who was convicted by a Louisiana jury in 2011 of killing the parents and teenage son of his estranged wife.

McCoy claimed that he had been out of the state when the murders took place and that the police were framing him.…

Model in HIV-Positive Ad Suing for Defamation

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Model Avril Nolan is suing New York State for defamation. A state appeals court ruled for $1.5 million in damages for using an image without her consent in an ad promoting the rights of people with HIV. The ad by the Division of Human Rights was run in the April 3, 2013 edition of the free daily newspaper AM NY and other local newspapers.

The ad used the words “I am positive (+)” and “I have rights” beside Nolan’s face, above a message in smaller print that stated, “People who are HIV positive are protected by the New York State Human Rights Law. Do you know your rights? Contact the NYS Division of Human Rights.”

Nolan posed for the picture two years earlier for an article about New Yorkers’ music interests. The photographer sold the photo to Getty Images without her consent. Getty Images sells stock images and licensed the photo to the Division of Human Rights.

In addition to suing the state, Nolan is also suing Getty over its licensing of the photo because they incorrectly told the…

Couple to Pay Enslaved Nanny

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Texas couple, Chudy and Sandra Nsobundu, pleaded guilty of forcing a Nigerian woman to work as their nanny for two years without pay and has been ordered to pay her more that $121,000 in restitution. They were additionally sentenced to seven months in jail, seven months of home confinement, and three years' probation.

The victim told authorities that the couple recruited her from her home country with an agreement that she'd be paid $100 a month to work for them. From September 2013 and October 2015, she was forced to work 19.5 hour days for the couple and their five children without pay or breaks. She was also subjected to physical and verbal abuse, strictly leftover food as her meals, and denied a bed and warm showers.

To prevent her leaving, she said her passport was taken and she was threatened.

A tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center led to the nanny's liberation in 2015, where her paperwork for obtaining a proper US work visa was found to contain fals…