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Tyler Clementi Video – Rutgers President Addresses Suicide

Rutgers University President Richard McCormick released a statement regarding the suicide of freshman Tyler Clementi, and the charges against his classmates, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei.

Members of the Rutgers Community:

I deeply regret that today we learned from the family of one of our students that they believe their son has committed suicide. We are profoundly saddened by this report, and our hearts and prayers are with the parents, family, and friends of this young man, who had started at Rutgers this semester as a first-year student on the New Brunswick campus.

While there is a lot of information being communicated, we don’t have all the facts in this case.

This young man was reportedly the victim of an incident that took place in one of our residence halls last week.

Two fellow Rutgers students have been arrested and charged with invasion of privacy for their actions in that incident. If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.

The case is being investigated by the Rutgers University Police Department. The students—like all who are accused of a crime—must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The case is also being investigated by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under the code of student conduct. Please know that while Rutgers does not comment publicly on the specifics of cases involving active criminal investigations and allegations of student conduct, the university is taking this case very seriously.

We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family during this most difficult time. While I did not have the privilege of knowing this young man, I have learned that in addition to his academic abilities, he was a gifted musician. Our university community feels the pain of his loss, and I know there is anger and outrage about these events.

Rutgers is a community that is extraordinarily proud of its diversity and the respect its members have for one another. In fact, we have just launched a two-year dialogue focusing attention on civility in the context of one of the most culturally and racially diverse research universities in the nation. I ask that all members of the Rutgers community honor the wishes of the family by providing them with privacy during this painful time and by committing to the values of civility, dignity, compassion, and respect for each other.

Richard L. McCormick
President
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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Posted by admin - September 30, 2010 at 9:25 pm

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Tyler Clementi’s Suicide Opens Discussions & Sparks Rage

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)– The death of a Rutgers University freshman stirred outrage and remorse on campus from classmates who wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge last week after a recording of him having a sexual encounter with a man was broadcast online.

“Had he been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened,” said Lauren Felton, 21, of Warren. “He wouldn’t have been outed via an online broadcast and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life.”

Gay rights groups say Tyler Clementi’s suicide makes him a national example of a problem they are increasingly working to combat: young people who kill themselves after being tormented over their sexuality.

A lawyer for Clementi’s family confirmed Wednesday that he had jumped off the George Washington Bridge last week. Police recovered a man’s body Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River just north of the bridge, and authorities were trying to determine if it was Clementi’s.

The lawyer has not responded to requests for comment on whether Clementi was open about his sexual orientation.

Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, and fellow Rutgers freshman Molly Wei, both 18, have been charged with invading Clementi’s privacy. Middlesex County prosecutors say the pair used a webcam to surreptitiously transmit a live image of Clementi having sex on Sept. 19 and that Ravi tried to webcast a second encounter on Sept. 21, the day before Clementi’s suicide.

A lawyer for Ravi, of Plainsboro, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. It was unclear whether Wei, of Princeton, had retained a lawyer.

Collecting or viewing sexual images without consent is a fourth-degree crime. Transmitting them is a third-degree crime with a maximum prison term of five years.

ABC News and The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Clementi left on his Facebook page on Sept. 22 a note that read: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” On Wednesday, his Facebook page was accessible only to friends.

Even if the young violinist from Ridgewood was not well known at his new school, his death stirred outrage.

“The notion that video of Tyler doing what he was doing can be considered a spectacle is just heinous,” said Jordan Gochman, 19, of Jackson, who didn’t know Clementi. “It’s intolerant, it’s upsetting, it makes it seem that being gay is something that is wrong and can be considered laughable.”

Other students who did know Clementi were upset that they didn’t do more to help him. “I wish I could have been more of an ally,” said Georges Richa, a freshman from New Brunswick.

About 100 people gathered Wednesday night for a vigil on campus. They lay on the ground and chanted slogans like, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going home.”

Several gay rights groups linked Clementi’s death to the troubling phenomenon of young people committing suicide after being harassed over their sexuality.

On Tuesday, a 13-year-old California boy died nine days after classmates found him hanging from a tree. Authorities say other teens had taunted the boy, Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, for being gay.

Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, said in a statement that his group considers Clementi’s death a hate crime.

“We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind,” Goldstein said. “And we are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others’ lives as a sport.”

Last week, Dan Savage, a columnist at the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger, launched the latest of several efforts to try to stem the problem: the It Gets Better Project, a YouTube channel where gay, lesbian and bisexual adults share the turmoil they experienced when they were younger – and that their lives are better now.

In response to Clementi’s death and other incidents, the group Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays said it would issue a “call to action” on the subject on Thursday.

Rutgers University President Richard McCormick wrote in a letter to the campus, “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.” Coincidentally, the university on Wednesday was launching a new two-year Project Civility, designed to get students thinking about how they treat others.

Meanwhile, for some of Clementi’s new classmates, the first time they learned much about him was when they got word of his death.

“I guess the only person I haven’t talked to is Tyler ’cause he’s like really quiet and shy,” said Justin Lee, a freshman from Princeton who lives on Clementi’s hall.

___

DeFalco reported from Ridgewood. Associated Press writers Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, Colleen Long in New York and David Porter in Newark contributed to this report.

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Posted by admin - at 6:24 pm

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False Claims of Farm Animal Abuse

Agriculture Animal Abuse – False Claims

California

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. California Milk Producers Advisory Bd.

22 Cal.Rptr.3d 900

Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2, California, 2005

FACTS: Appellants People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. and John Robbins (collectively considered PETA) sued the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), claiming that its “Happy Cows” advertising campaign violated California’s Unfair Business Practices Act (UCL) because the advertisements were false and deceptive. The advertisements portray spacious, grassy pastures with a few cows grazing and “enjoying” the ease of life as a California dairy cow. In reality, however, the vast majority of California’s dairy cows spend their lives in grassless dirt lots. The cows are repeatedly impregnated and milked throughout their pregnancies. The cows suffer from painful maladies associated with their intensive rearing. And finally, when the cows can no longer meet the high production demands, they are slaughtered. PETA alleges that because the conditions in which California dairy cows are kept are so materially different from those presented in the advertisements, the ads are unlawfully deceptive and therefore subject to injunctive relief. CMAB filed demurrers to PETA’s amended complaint, which the trial court sustained without leave to amend. The trial court held that public entities, including the CMAB, are not “persons” who are subject to suit under the UCL. PETA appeals from the judgment of dismissal.

ISSUE: Whether the CMAB is a “person” that can be sued under the UCL.

HOLDING: No, public entities like the CMAB are not “persons” who are subject to suit under the UCL. Since the CMAB is not a statutory “person” the lawsuit cannot proceed on the merits.

Federal

Schumacher v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

434 F.Supp.2d 748

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Northern Division, 2006

FACTS: Cattle producers filed a class action lawsuit under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) and state law, alleging that beef packers knowingly used inaccurate prices published by the United States Department of Agriculture to negotiate the purchase of slaughter cattle at substantially lower prices than were economically justified. The cattle producers sought damages for alleged violations of the PSA and for unjust enrichment in violation of state law. Tyson Fresh Meats has filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the cattle producers must show that Tyson Fresh Meats’ conduct in violation of the PSA adversely affected competition; 2) whether there is no unjust enrichment claim because none of the slaughter cattle sold during the class period were slaughtered in South Dakota; 3) whether there is no unjust enrichment claim where there has been an express contract; 4) whether Tyson Fresh Meats is entitled to summary judgment.

HOLDING: 1) No, the cattle producers do not have to show that Tyson Fresh Meats’ alleged conduct in violation of the PSA adversely affected competition. 2) No, there can be an unjust enrichment claim. The place of slaughter does not govern the choice of law. 3) No, there can be an unjust enrichment claim because without a meeting of the minds there was no express contract. 4) No, Tyson Fresh Meats is not entitled to summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact still exist. Summary judgment was denied.

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Posted by admin - September 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

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Agriculture Animal Cruelty Laws

People v. Sanchez

114 Cal.Rptr.2d 437

Court of Appeal, 3rd District, California, 2001

FACTS: In August of 1997 Sanchez’s neighbors went to his property because a calf had been bawling loudly for 2 or 3 days and could be heard by neighbors a mile away. The neighbors found animals living in hideous conditions. The calf was tied to a post, unable to get any food or water. Eight rabbits were caged without food or water, 4 were dead and 4 were dying. The bodies of several dead ducks, chickens and geese were scattered about. A corpse was being eaten by a dog. In June of 1998, an animal control officer went to Sanchez’s property and found several severely malnourished geese. He opined that they may have been without food or water for up to a month. Other neighbors testified that at unspecified times, they saw a chicken tied around a dog’s neck, they saw Sanchez firmly kick dogs with steel-toed boots for no apparent reason, they found a burn pit at the back of the property containing dead and dying calves and chickens, and saw dead cows, starving dogs, and dead rabbits. In 1999, a police officer went to the property where he found a dead peacock in a pit and a pig’s head attached to a tree. In June of 1999, the same officer found a puppy with one dead eye and a deeply infected hole between its eyes, which was full of live maggots that were moving and eating inside the wound. The puppy was impounded and euthanized. Sanchez was arrested and charged and convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty. He appealed 7 of the counts. At issue was the requirement of a unanimity instruction. A unanimity instruction is used when the State charges one crime but relies on multiple acts to support that one crime. When multiple acts are alleged the jury must be unanimous as to which act or incident constitutes the crime.

ISSUES: Whether animal abuse may be committed as a continuous course of conduct, and when so committed requires no unanimity instruction; whether a unanimity instruction was required with respect to the count alleging cruelty to dogs in view of evidence of 2 separate incidents each of which established the offense; whether unanimity instructions were required as to counts alleging that defendants had abused rabbits, ducks, chickens, and geese, as each was based on a continuous course of conduct; whether a unanimity instruction was required with regard to the count alleging defendant’s failure to provide any medical treatment for the severely wounded puppy.

HOLDINGS:

1) A unanimity instruction must be given where the evidence shows that more than one criminal act was committed which could constitute the charged offense, and the prosecution does not rely on any single act.

2) A unanimity instruction is not required where the criminal acts are so closely connected as to form a single transaction or where the offense itself consists of a continuous course of conduct.

3) An offense is of a continuing nature when it may be committed by a series of acts, which if individually considered, might not amount to a crime, but the cumulative effect is criminal.

4) When the language of the statute focuses on the goal or effect of the offense, the offense is a continuing offense.

5) Animal abuse may be committed as a continuous course of conduct, and when so committed requires no unanimity instruction.

6) Unanimity instruction was required with respect to count alleging cruelty to dogs in view of evidence of 2 separate incidents each of which established the offense, so this count was reversed.

7) Unanimity instructions were not required as to counts alleging that that defendant had abused rabbits, ducks, chickens, and geese by failing to provide adequate food and water on ongoing basis, as each count was based on a continuous course of conduct.

8) No unanimity instruction was required with regard to counts alleging failure to provide any medical treatment for severely wounded puppy.

Florida

Deason v. State

881 So.2d 58

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, 2004

FACTS: On December 9, 2002, appellant Deason was visiting a home where pigs were kept in the backyard. Deason and three other individuals were allegedly in the front yard when they heard a pig squealing in the backyard. Everyone went to the backyard, where they found a pig that had been stabbed in a cage. When deputies arrived at the scene, they observed “Big Bob” lying on his stomach attempting to pull the injured pig out of the cage. He had a knife in his hand, but it was not the knife that had been used to stab the pig. Deason was still present, wearing clothes that were covered in pig feces, mud, and what appeared to be blood stains. Animal control was called to euthanize the pig, and Deason was arrested. No one testified that they saw Deason stab the pig, and the only physical evidence linking him to the crime was the reference to blood on his clothes. Deason attempted to introduce evidence that “Big Bob” was a confidential informant for the sheriff’s office in order to establish bias on the part of the deputies. The State objected and the trial court ultimately sustained the objection. Jury found Deason guilty of cruelty to animals and attempted inhumane slaughter of an animal. Deason appeals.

ISSUE: Whether the trial court erred by prohibiting Deason from establishing bias on behalf of the deputies by introducing relevant evidence that “Big Bob” was a confidential informant in unrelated cases.

HOLDING: Yes, the evidence that “Big Bob” was a confidential informant was relevant. The evidence should have been presented so that the question of whether it establishes bias could be resolved by a jury.

Georgia

Cotton v. State

589 S.E.2d 610

Court of Appeals of Georgia, 2003

FACTS: Appellants Thomas and Gloria Cotton appeal from their joint conviction for allowing livestock to roam at large, and Thomas Cotton also appeals his conviction for cruelty to animals. In April 2001, a deputy from the sheriff’s office went to investigate a report that cattle were without drinking water. The deputy observed cattle and calves in a small pen, the ribs on some of the cattle were showing, and they were without food and water. When the deputy released the cattle from the pen, they ran frantically to a nearby mud puddle to drink water. The livestock inspector who accompanied the deputy to the site described the cattle as in very poor physical condition and suffering. According to a neighbor who lived by the property on which the Cottons kept their cattle, frequently ten or fourteen days would pass before the Cottons came to check on the cattle. The trial court found both Thomas and Gloria Cotton guilty of the livestock running at large charge. The trial court also found Thomas Cotton guilty of cruelty to animals. The Cottons appeal these convictions.

ISSUES: Whether there was sufficient evidence to support Thomas Cotton’s conviction for cruelty to animals and whether the trial court erred in finding Thomas and Gloria Cotton guilty of the civil statute relating to livestock running at large.

HOLDINGS: Yes, the evidence was sufficient to support Thomas Cotton’s conviction for cruelty to animals. Yes, the trial court did err in finding Thomas and Gloria Cotton guilty of the civil statute relating to livestock running at large; this is a civil statute, which does not impose criminal liability.

Georgia

Sirmans v. State

534 S.E.2d 862

Court of Appeals of Georgia, 2000

FACTS: Appellant Sirmans and his family live on a farm where they raise cows, chickens, ducks, goats and hogs. In April 1998 the humane society director contacted the sheriff’s office regarding complaints that both departments had received about Sirmans’ alleged neglect of his animals. The humane society director drove past Sirmans’ property where she observed farm animals that appeared to be deprived of food and water in plain view of the roadway. After reporting her findings to the sheriff’s office, several humane society employees, two sheriff’s deputies, a veterinarian and the humane society director went to Sirmans’ farm to investigate further. Sirmans refused to allow them to look around his property; however, the large animals were in plain view and had no food and water. They loaded the animals that were in the worst shape onto trucks and transported them for veterinary care and shelter. The trial court convicted Sirmans of four counts of animal cruelty and one count of simple assault. He appeals.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the trial court erred in denying Sirmans’ motion to suppress evidence; 2) whether the humane society employees were subject to constitutional restrictions on search and seizure of private property; 3) whether the warrantless search of Sirmans’ property and the seizure of his animals was authorized under the plain view exception; 4) whether the trial court erred in overruling Sirmans’ motion to sever the assault charge from the animal cruelty charges; 5) whether the trial court had the authority to deprive Sirmans of those animals which the state failed to prove were abused.

HOLDINGS: 1) No, the trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress evidence. Sirmans affirmatively stated at trial that he had no objection to the admission of the evidence, and so his right to contest the admission of the evidence on appeal was waived. 2) Yes, the humane society employees were acting as agents of the county and in concert with the sheriff’s department in seizing Sirmans’ animals, and thus were subject to constitutional restrictions on search and seizure on private property. 3) Yes, the warrantless search and seizure was authorized under the plain view exception to the warrant requirement. 4) No, Sirmans was not entitled to severance of the assault charge from the animal cruelty charges. Though the assault is not directly related, it is unlikely to have occurred if Sirmans had not neglected his animals. 5) No, the trial court was without statutory authority deprive defendant of those animals which the state failed to demonstrate were neglected or abused.

Missouri

State v. Larson

941 S.W.2d 847

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, 1997

FACTS: Dr. Larson is a veterinarian and a farmer who owned and operated a hog farm. On August 2, 1995, the sheriff’s department received reports of stray hogs. After unsuccessfully trying to contact Larson, the deputy sheriff went to Larson’s farm and returned the stray hogs. The deputy sheriff observed that the hogs were emaciated. Two days later the sheriff’s department received more calls regarding stray hogs. Based on the deputy sheriff’s observations from August 2, a warrant to search Larson’s property was obtained. During the search, the deputy sheriff and two veterinarians observed bad flooring in parts of the farm building, abundant refuse from the disposal system, a “sickening odor,” the remains of approximately 250 dead hogs, and live hogs displaying various stages of malnutrition. Larson was charged with fifty counts of Class A misdemeanor animal abuse and fifty counts for failure to properly dispose of dead animals. He filed a motion for bill of particulars. The trial court denied the motion, and Larson was convicted on all counts. He appeals.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the trial court erred in denying Larson’s motion for bill of particulars; and 2) whether the deputy sheriff’s entry onto Larson’s property in order to notify him of the stray hogs, and the subsequent search warrant that was issued were unlawful.

HOLDING: 1) Yes, the trial court did err in denying Larson’s motion for bill of particulars. Counts 1 through 50 were not sufficiently detailed to inform Larson of the pig to which they were referring. Therefore, conviction on counts 1 through 50 was reversed and remanded for a new trial with the prosecution to provide a bill of particulars on each animal. 2) No, the deputy sheriff’s entry onto Larson’s property and the subsequent search warrant were not unlawful. The “plain view” doctrine is applicable because dead and malnourished hogs were visible to the deputy sheriff before he entered the property. Conviction on counts 51 through 100 for improper disposal of dead animals was affirmed.

Ohio

State v. Sheets

677 N.E.2d 818

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Highland County, 1996

FACTS: Appellant William Sheets was charged with cruelty to animals for failing to provide sufficient quantities of food to ten horses. Sheets had one hundred and twenty-two horses on his property, and after a search of his farm, the Highland County Humane Society seized all one hundred and twenty-two. The trial court found that when the Humane Society seized nine of the horses for which Sheets was charged with cruelty to animals, they were located on the Adams County portion of Sheets’ farm. Sheets pled no contest to the nine charges of cruelty to these horses. Sheets contested the tenth cruelty to animals charge, the charge of cruelty to a horse named Jamala Christie. Trial court found Sheets guilty of cruelty to Jamala Christie. Defendant appeals all of the charges.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the trial court erred in overruling Sheets’ motion to suppress evidence resulting from the search of his farm; 2) whether the search warrant issued by the Highland County court was valid for the Adams County portion of his farm; 3) whether trial court erred in requiring Sheets to surrender all one hundred and twenty-two of his horses even though he was only convicted of cruelty to ten of these horses; 4) whether the trial court erred in overruling Sheets’ motion for acquittal involving the cruelty to Jamala Christie.

HOLDINGS: 1) No, the trial court did not err in overruling Sheets’ motion to suppress evidence resulting from the search of his farm. The affidavit established probable cause for a warrant to search Sheets’ farm. 2) Yes, the search warrant issued by Highland County was valid for the Adams County portion of the farm. Sheets did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the pasture area of the Adams County portion of the farm, and therefore no search warrant was necessary to search that area. 3) No, the trial court did not err in requiring Sheets to surrender all one hundred and twenty-two horses. The conditions of probation were not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion because the probationary conditions had a relationship to the crime of which Sheets was convicted. 4) No, the trial court did not err in overruling Sheets’ motion for acquittal regarding Jamala Christie because there was reasonable evidence to support this conviction.

Ohio

State v. Lapping

599 N.E.2d 416

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull County, 1991

FACTS: Appellant Lapping, an osteopathic physician, purchased farmland with the intent of raising cattle. Knowing little about the cattle business, Lapping purchase twenty-eight head of beef cattle over a period of six months. In March 1990, the sheriff’s department received information that there was a dead cow floating in a pond on Lapping’s property. After obtaining a search warrant, humane officers entered Lapping’s property to check on the cattle. They found the dead cow in the pond, another dead cow next to the barn, and most of the rest of the cows in a pasture with no hay and sparse grass. The humane officers believed that all of the animals looked thin. They confiscated all of the animals, providing them with food, water and medical treatment. Lapping was charged with thirty counts of cruelty to animals. The trial court denied his request for a bill of particulars, and the case proceeded to jury trial. One of the counts was dismissed, and appellant was convicted of twenty-eight of the remaining counts of animal cruelty. Trial court denied Lapping’s motion to treat the twenty-eight counts as allied offenses. Lapping appeals.

ISSUES: 1) Whether a failure by the prosecuting attorney to provide a bill of particulars as to the specific animals that were alleged to be mistreated. 2) Whether the trial court erred in instructing the jury that animal cruelty is a strict liability crime, which does not require a showing of intentional or reckless activity.

HOLDING: No. In this instance the state did not possess the specific information requested by the appellant as the cruelty charged took place over a period of time and the appellant better knew when that cruelty occurred. Yes, the trial court did err in instructing the jury that cruelty to animals was a strict liability offense. The court held that the animal cruelty statute was not a strict liability statute based on the principles of stare decisis. The decision was remanded due to the improper jury instruction.

Ohio

State v. Hafle

367 N.E.2d 1226

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Clinton County, 1977

FACTS: Appellant Hafle and his wife moved from their residence in Missouri to a twenty acre farm in Ohio, bringing with them forty head of beef cattle, a horse, and two sheep. Nine months later, the director of the humane society received a complaint from the neighborhood about Hafle’s neglect of his cattle. The director and a member of the humane society went to Hafle’s farm, talked to him, and inspected the cattle and the premises. The director and member returned to the farm again the next day and again two days after that to inspect the animals and get the matter worked out. At this time Hafle said that he would sell some of the cattle to a neighbor and take the rest to the stockyards by February 27, the following day. On February 28 the cattle were still on Hafle’s farm. The humane society then had all of the livestock removed from Hafle’s property in accordance with an order prepared in the local solicitor’s office. Hafle was convicted of cruelty to animals and he appeals.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the cruelty to animals statute under which Hafle was convicted was unconstitutionally vague; 2) whether the trial court erred in admitting into evidence hearsay testimony of statements made by Hafle during a custodial interrogation; 3) whether there was sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.

HOLDINGS: 1) No, the cruelty to animals statute was not unconstitutionally vague. 2) No, the trial court did not err in allowing the hearsay testimony as evidence because of the inapplicability of Miranda to misdemeanors and because no interrogation took place. 3) Yes, there was not only adequate but overwhelming evidence to sustain the conviction.

Pennsylvania

Com. v. Barnes

629 A.2d 123

Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 1993

FACTS: In May 1991, David Philipe, an environmental inspector with the Erie County Health Department, went to appellants David and Alice Barnes’ horse farm. Philipe went to investigate a complaint concerning odors coming from the farm. When he arrived at the farm, no one was home. Philipe did notice a strong odor of dead or rotting animals though, and after walking around the farm, he saw the carcasses of dead animals, including two horses. Looking into the barns, he saw several horses that appeared to be uncared for and undernourished. Philipe notified David Barnes of his violation of health Department regulations, and also informed Merle Wolfgang, chief cruelty officer of the Erie Humane Society, of his findings. Wolfgang then went to the Barnes’ farm the next day and found conditions to be as Philipe described. When Wolfgang returned a few days later, intending to obtain the Barnes’ permission to search their farm, they informed her that they had given the horses away. As she was leaving the farm though, Wolfgang saw several sick and malnourished looking horses in a nearby field. She learned that the Barnes were renting the field. Wolfgang then obtained a search warrant, and removed seven horses from the field. A farrier and veterinarian examined the horses and concluded that they were suffering from numerous, severe, chronic health problems. David and Alice Barnes were found guilty of ten counts of cruelty to animals. They appealed to the Court of Common Pleas, where they were convicted of seven counts of cruelty to animals. Their post-verdict motions were denied and they appealed.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the statutory grant of police powers to the Humane Society was an improper delegation of governmental authority; 2) whether the statutory provision under which the Barnes were convicted is unconstitutionally vague and violative of due process; 3) whether there was sufficient evidence to support the Barnes’ convictions.

HOLDINGS: 1) No, the statutory grant of police powers to the Humane Society was not an improper delegation of governmental authority. The actions of the Humane Society agents were regulated and constrained; the agents could be considered police officers because they had been given the power to arrest when acting within the scope of their employment; their searches were reasonable; the agents were paid employees and so they are not shielded from liability by the “good Samaritan” statute. 2) No, the statutory provision under which the Barnes were convicted is not unconstitutionally vague and does not violate due process. There is a statutory exception for activity which is “undertaken in normal agricultural operations,” however the Barnes’ utter neglect of the horses does not fall within the exception. 3) Since the Barnes’ neglect of their horses does not fall within the “normal agricultural operations” exception, their challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is without merit.

Vermont

State v. Gadreault

758 A.2d 781

Supreme Court of Vermont, 2000

FACTS: On December 3, 1997, a search of defendant Gadreault’s property revealed three frozen dead pigs in an unsheltered pen in six inches of liquid manure. There was also a calf tethered to a fence post that appeared weak and to have difficulty standing. Gadreault was charged with four counts of animal cruelty in violation of Vermont’s animal cruelty statute. Jury found Gadreault guilty of three counts of cruelty to animals. Gadreault appeals.

ISSUES: 1) Whether the court erroneously excluded the intent element from the crimes with which Gadreault was charged; 2) whether the court denied Gadreault the right to a speedy trial; 3) whether the search warrant was unlawful because the information upon which it was based was illegally obtained; 4) whether Gadreault’s sentence was excessive; 5) whether Gadreault’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated because he was not allowed to assist his attorney, the State failed to call a particular witness who was present at the search of the house, and the judge should have been recused because he was acquainted with Gadreault.

HOLDINGS: 1) No, the court did not err in excluding the intent element. The statute’s subsections do not include an intent element; therefore the Legislature intended that offenders be held strictly liable. 2) No, Gadreault has not identified any prejudice to his defense, thus there is no violation of his right to a speedy trial. 3) No, the search warrant was not unlawful because Gadreault did not identify anything in the record to show that the trial court’s ruling was clearly erroneous or unsupported by the record. 4) No, Gadreault’s sentence was not excessive because there is nothing in the record to show that he preserved this issue for appeal. 5) There is insufficient information with which to address these issues.

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Posted by admin - at 7:17 pm

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Drunk Driving – DUI – DWI Laws

What is Drunk Driving DUI/DWI

?
Drunk driving, sometimes called driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), has two meanings:

* Driving with a blood alcohol level over the state’s maximum permissible blood alcohol limit. The legal limit for adults is either 0.08% or 0.10% depending on the State.
* Driving when your physical abilities are impaired by drugs or alcohol. In some cases, it makes no difference whether the drug is legal or illegal. If taking that drug impacts your senses of seeing, hearing, talking, walking and/or judging distances, you may be guilty of a drunk driving offense.

Common Drunk Driving DUI/DWI Tests for Intoxication

* Breath Test – Breathalyzer
* Blood Test
* Urine Test

Tough Penalties for Drunk Driving DUI/DWI Convictions (vary from state to state)

* Large fines
* A license suspension or restriction
* Attendance at a Drunk Driving DUI DWI education course
* Probation – often for three years.
* Imprisonment
* Community service
* Impounding of the vehicle
* Ignition interlock devices – to start a car, the driver must blow into the analyzer. If the breath test shows the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) meets or exceeds the legal limit for driving, the car will not start.

Other consequences of a DUI/DWI

* High insurance costs
* Loss of driver’s license
* Auto accident
* Loss of job that requires driving

What can you do if you are Arrested for Drunk Driving DUI/DWI?
If you are arrested for Drunk Driving DUI DWI, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents:
If you are a victim of a Drunk Driving DUI DWI accident, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn how to get compensation for your injuries.

Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Records. Presnt Your Case Now. Free!Read Abuse Laws Article: Drunk Driving – DUI – DWI Laws

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Drug Crime Law

What is a drug crime?

Present your case.

A drug crime is the:

* Possession
* Manufacture
* Use
* Distribution

of any of the following:

* Narcotics
* Stimulants
* Depressants
* Hallucinogens
* Anabolic steroids
* Chemicals (used in the production of drugs)

Different types of illegal drugs:

* Cocaine
* Heroin
* Methamphetamine (meth)
* Ecstasy
* GHB
* PCP
* LSD
* Marijuana

Consequences of a Drug Crime conviction

* Imprisonment
* Probation or parole
* Loss of custody of children
* Court ordered counseling
* Significant fines
* Loss of a job
* Community service
* Loss of residency
* Deportation

The likelihood of any of the above consequences depends on:

* Amount of drugs in possession
* The type of drug
* Prior convictions
* Currently on probation or parole
* Attitude of community and court toward this type of crime

What can you do if you are Accused of a Drug Crime?
If you are accused of a drug crime, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Records. Presnt Your Case Now. Free!Read Abuse Laws Article: Drug Crime Law

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Find Your Attorney – Present Your Case

Need a Family Lawyer?Read Abuse Laws Article: Find Your Attorney – Present Your Case

A family law attorney can help with family related problems from marriage, divorce, and child rearing to caring for elderly parents and family members or seeking guardianship for a distressed family member. Families with problems may chose to seek relief from the courts or find other means of resolution through mediation by finding a family attorney.

Before getting married, many people find themselves signing prenuptial agreements. Filling for a divorce or a separation often requires the skill of an experienced family law attorney to help split up property and determining spousal support or alimony.

Children are often a first concern of the parent whatever the nature of the parents’ relationship. If divorced, people seeking help with child custody issues need a family law attorney. Even if the parents have a legal relationship they may still need help deciding custody and child support issues and can be helped by a good family law attorney. Family members concerned about a child’s safety can seek guardianship using a family law attorneys.

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Need a Local Family Lawyer?

Need a Family Lawyer?

A Good Family Law Attorney Can Help You

A family law attorney can help with family related problems from marriage, divorce, and child rearing to caring for elderly parents and family members or seeking guardianship for a distressed family member. Families with problems may chose to seek relief from the courts or find other means of resolution through mediation by finding a family attorney.

Before getting married, many people find themselves signing prenuptial agreements. Filling for a divorce or a separation often requires the skill of an experienced family law attorney to help split up property and determining spousal support or alimony.

Children are often a first concern of the parent whatever the nature of the parents’ relationship. If divorced, people seeking help with child custody issues need a family law attorney. Even if the parents have a legal relationship they may still need help deciding custody and child support issues and can be helped by a good family law attorney. Family members concerned about a child’s safety can seek guardianship using a family law attorneys.

Find a local family lawyer here.

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Posted by admin - September 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm

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Parental Rights Caselaw | United States Supreme Court

M. L. B. v. S. L. J.
519 US 102, 117 S. Ct. 555 (1996)

Choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among associational rights this Court has ranked as “of basic importance in our society,” rights sheltered by the 14th Amendment against the State’s unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect. This case, involving the State’s authority to sever permanently a parent-child bond, demanded the close consideration the Court has long required when a family association so undeniably important was at stake.

Santosky v Kramer
455 US 745 (1982)

The fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child is protected by the 14th Amendment, and does not evaporate simply because they have not been model parents or have lost temporary custody of their child to the State. A parental rights termination proceeding interferes with that fundamental liberty interest. When the State moves to destroy weakened familial bonds, it must provide the parents with fundamentally fair procedures.

Lassiter v Department of Social Services
452 US 18 (1981)

The Court’s decisions have by now made plain that a parent’s desire for and right to “the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children” is an important interest that “undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection.” A parent’s interest in the accuracy and justice of the decision to terminate his or her parental status is, therefore, a commanding one.

Quilloin v Walcott
434 US 246 (1978)

We have little doubt that the Due Process Clause would be offended “if a State were to attempt to force the breakup of a natural family, over the objections of the parents and their children, without some showing of unfitness and for the sole reason that to do so was thought to be in the children’s best interest.” Whatever might be required in other situations, we cannot say that the State was required in this situation to find anything more than that the adoption, and denial of legitimation, were in the “best interests of the child.”

Smith v Organization of Foster Care Families
431 US 816 (1977)

In this action, individual foster parents and a foster parents organization, sought declaratory and injunctive relief against New York State and New York City officials, alleging that the statutory and regulatory procedures for removal of foster children from foster homes violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment. The ruling contains an analysis of the rights of natural parents as balanced against the rights of foster parents, as well as a comprehensive discussion of foster care conditions.

Moore v East Cleveland
431 US 494 (1977)

The Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A host of cases, tracing their lineage to Meyer v. Nebraska and Pierce v. Society of Sisters have consistently acknowledged a “private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.” When the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, the Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced.

Cleveland Board of Education v La Fleur
414 US 632 (1974)

The Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. There is a right “to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”

Stanley v Illinois
405 US 645 (1972)

The private interest here, that of a man in the children he has sired and raised, undeniably warrants deference and protection. The integrity of the family unit has found protection in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the 9th Amendment.

Wisconsin v Yoder
406 US 205 (1972)

In this case involving the rights of Amish parents to provide for private schooling of their children, the Court held: “The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.”

Loving v Virginia
388 US 1 (1967)

In this case involving interracial marriage, the Court reaffirmed the principles set forth in Pierce and Meyers, finding that marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival. “The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

Griswold v Connecticut
381 US 479 (1965)

The 4th and 5th Amendments were described as protection against all governmental invasions “of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.” The Court referred to the 4th Amendment as creating a “right to privacy, no less important than any other right carefully and particularly reserved to the people.” Reaffirming the principles set forth in Pierce v. Society of Sisters and Meyers v Nebraska.

Prince v Massachusetts
321 US 158 (1944)

It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder. And it is in recognition of this that these decisions have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.

Skinner v Oklahoma
316 US 535 (1942)

“We are dealing here with legislation which involves one of the basic civil rights of man. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.”

Pierce v Society of Sisters
268 US 510 (1925)

The liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children was abridged by a proposed statute to compell public education. “The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

Meyer v Nebraska
262 US 390 (1923)

“No state … shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

“While this court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

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Effective June 2010: Criminal suspects must say they want to remain silent

United States Supreme Court Justices

United State Supreme Court Justices of 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that suspects must tell police explicitly that they want to be silent to invoke Miranda protections during criminal interrogations, a decision one dissenting justice said turns defendants’ rights “upside down.”

A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are the first of the Miranda rights warnings, which police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But the justices said in a 5-4 decision that suspects must tell police they are going to remain silent to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.

The ruling comes in a case in which a suspect, Van Chester Thompkins, remained mostly silent for a three-hour police interrogation before implicating himself in a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield, Mich. He appealed his conviction, saying that he invoked his Miranda right to remain silent by remaining silent.

But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the decision for the court’s conservatives, said that wasn’t enough.

“Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk to police,” Justice Kennedy said. “Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his ‘right to cut off questioning.’ Here he did neither, so he did not invoke his right to remain silent.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s newest member, wrote a strongly worded dissent for the court’s liberals, saying the majority’s decision “turns Miranda upside down.”

“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which counterintuitively, requires them to speak,” she said. “At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded.”

Thompkins was arrested for murder in 2001 and interrogated by police for three hours. At the beginning, Thompkins was read his Miranda rights and said he understood.

The officers in the room said Thompkins said little during the interrogation, occasionally answering “yes,” ”no,” ”I don’t know,” nodding his head and making eye contact as his responses. But when one of the officers asked him if he prayed for forgiveness for “shooting that boy down,” Thompkins said, “Yes.”

He was convicted, but on appeal he wanted that statement thrown out because he said he invoked his Miranda rights by being uncommunicative with the interrogating officers.

The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and threw out his confession and conviction. The high court reversed that decision.

The case is Berghuis v. Thompkins, 08-1470.

By Jesse J. Holland

Associated Press JUNE 2010

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