Tag Archive: law


CDs and DVDs Not Worth Stealing

It seems that in Britain, burglars aren’t bothering to steal CDs and DVDs.  Why?

The reason is the falling value of physical media products. The average price of a CD album in Britain fell from £10.77 to £7.32 between 2001 and 2010, according to the BPI, a trade group—almost a halving, in real terms. And the dishonest get their music and films free, via the internet. DVDs are under pressure not just from piracy but also from video-on-demand services.

Instead they’re stealing computers, purses, jewelry, and anything else that has greater value.  Technology has disrupted traditional thievery as well.

Headline shamelessly taken from Radley Balko, but this case of an innocent man turning himself in to police is disturbing.

William Giraldo was threatened with deportation and thrown in the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York when he was mistaken for the ‘Brooklyn Groper’.

He was picked out of a lineup, arraigned on his wedding day and spent a month in jail until DNA evidence cleared him.

In Balko’s words, “Yep, they had the wrong guy. He now has a mountain of legal bills. Oh, and while he was in jail, the actual ‘serial groper’ struck again.”

Yes, you need a lawyer.

As lawyers, we are trained to accept mortality and the myriad of consequences it may have to others.  Lawyers need to accept that we will die… and so will everyone else.  It is in this vein that I appreciate the idea of PassMyWill.

It holds your passwords so that upon your passing, your heirs have access to all your online accounts and can enact your wishes.  It checks your social media accounts for activity, and after a specified period of inactivity sends an e-mail to you to check in.  If you do not respond to that e-mail, it assumes you’re dead and then gives your specified heir access to your passwords.

It’s an interesting idea and I’m sure that we haven’t heard the last of this.  For creativity points, I can even forgive founder Danil Kozyatnikov’s hat (he is from Siberia after all).  However it does remind me of this commercial from 2005.

TechCrunch has a full description and video interview with the founder.

No More Deposit on Kegs in NY

I know this isn’t exactly new news, but it’s good news.  The silly, absurdly-high keg deposits, which were supposed to protect our precious children from binge drinking have expired.

It turns out that the kiddies just purchased 30-packs instead.  My understanding is, of course, that 30-packs are only available in the finest of beers, such as Old Milwaukee Light.

In San Francisco, defense attorneys are using the ubiquitous video cameras to support their clients’ cases.

They have also become a tool exploited by defense lawyers who often seek footage from the cameras to exonerate falsely accused clients. The footage is not monitored in real time, but can be reviewed upon request by attorneys, police and prosecutors.

Nearly one-third of 109 requests for footage made last year came from defense attorneys, according to data supplied by The City in response to a public records request by The San Francisco Examiner.

Criminal defendants have been cleared or had charges reduced when footage proved their alibis or disproved police or witnesses’ accounts of incidents.

Interesting use of technology; particularly one designed to assist the other side of the bar.

In an only-in-New-York kind of story, the plague of parking placards continues unabated.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the phenomenon, parking placards let people park in places where you’re not supposed to park.

In a place like Manhattan, where legitimate street parking is in short supply, placards can save you literally hundreds of dollars a month on tickets and garage parking.

The Daily News and Transportation Alternatives have found that a fake placard, created in under 30 minutes in Photoshop and laminated, was good enough to pass muster and get parking all over town.

h/t: Gothamist

A Juror in a UK drugs trial decided to communicate with the defendant, who was later acquitted.  Now the 40-year-old, mother of three faces up to two years in prison for contempt of court.

Pay Your Student Loans

… or the Department of Education SWAT team’ll get ya.

Well, maybe not quite. Reason.com is reporting that the raid was related to a criminal investigation.

Still, since when does the United States Department of Education have SWAT teams?!

First, the triumph of private property in West Bengal, India:

The [Communist Party of India-Marxist] CPI-M won Bengali hearts and minds through “Operation Barga” in 1978 that awarded tenancy rights to poor sharecroppers (called “bargadars”) who tilled farms.  .  .  .

This was not full land reform, since the tenants did not gain ownership rights. Yet the Communists’ move to record and hand bargadars certificates of tenancy represented real progress. It expanded farm productivity, as well as sharecroppers’ freedom. Rights to tenancy also raised expectations of full property rights some day.  .  .  .

In truth, the Communists never planned to grant full property rights, and not just because it violated a fundamental tenet of their ideology. Operation Barga was designed to leave villagers politically beholden to the party. Awarding title, so a bargadar could one day sell his land and move on, would have defeated the strategy.  .  .  .

The combination of partial land reform and complete political control came back to haunt the Communists in the past decade. By 2001, the fruits of capitalism had started to become apparent, especially at the state level where chief ministers competed for investment and jobs.

As people began to see these fruits of private property, the power of the Communists declined and eventually they were defeated.  Private property allowed the people of West Bengal to succeed.

Second, the failure of Salamanca, NY:

In a valley that curves along the Allegheny River is a tract of land built on opportunity, greed and the bureaucratic nightmare of being one city in two nations.

According to state and local authorities, Salamanca is the only U.S. city on an Indian reservation.  .  .  .

Acts of Congress in 1875, 1890 and 1990 created a landlord-tenant relationship between the Seneca Nation and Salamanca’s homeowners and businesses.

Homeowners and businesses occupied their properties in accordance with a 99-year lease originally granted by the Seneca Nation in 1892. It expired on Feb. 19, 1991 .  .  .  15 property “owners” eventually were evicted by the Seneca Nation.

Today, shabbiness blankets what could be a quaint river town, a state park and a national forest. Garish “Nation-owned” cigarette outlets and gas stations produce a city drawn by Norman Rockwell but touched up by Jackson Pollock.  .   .  .

The result, in Salamanca as elsewhere, is sweeping, perhaps irreversible, economic and social devastation.

By contrast, here in the United States, the failure to enact private property reforms has seemingly doomed this unique city.

h/t Above the Law via Instapundit

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