Overcoming Confirmation Bias

As more and more information becomes increasingly accessible, our attention spans grow ever shorter. Several decades ago, one needed only to turn to the newspaper, radio, or television for all the news someone else deemed was relevant to you and your life. Now, with the Internet, blogs, email and RSS feeds, we no longer rely on others to decide what

Justia Launches Verdict – Our New Legal Commentary Site

I wanted to make sure that all of our readers are aware that Justia recently launched the new legal commentary site Verdict.  Have no fear, the Onward backbenchers will still post here, but each weekday, you’ll also be able to catch original and informed analysis of breaking news and developments in the law written by a great group of columnists

John Mayer is the Big Cheese, and other lessons learned at #CALICon11

For the third year in a row, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a delegation that represented Justia and the Free Law Coalition at CALICon, the annual Conference for Law School Computing® from CALI (The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction). This year’s conference was themed “Unbound,” which to CALI meant both the idea that boundaries to technology in

California Voters May Get Chance to Weigh in on Death Penalty

California State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Alameda) recently introduced Senate Bill 490, which seeks to abolish the death penalty in California. This is the first time that the California Legislature has considered the issue of capital punishment since the current statute was enacted in 1978. After Gregg vs. Georgia reinstated capital punishment nationwide, California voters approved the current death penalty law

Amazon Seeks to Out Flank the California Legislature on Use Tax Collection Law

Earlier this month, I wrote about Amazon terminating its Amazon Associates program in California in wake of the Golden State passing ABX1 28, a new law that imposed use tax collection duties on certain out-of-state retailers. Last week, Amazon upped the stakes when Charles T. Halnan, an Amazon lobbyist, submitted a proposed statewide referendum to Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

The Marijuana Memos

In response to the increasing number of states that have authorized medical marijuana use during the past two years, the U.S. Department of Justice recently issued a memorandum to its field offices regarding federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in such states. Many fear that the memo signals an impending federal crackdown on the production, distribution and possession of

Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of 2011

Last month, Representative Charles Rangel introduced the Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of 2011. The Act allows certain individuals convicted of nonviolent offenses to petition for an expungement upon completion of their sentence and satisfaction of other substance abuse, educational, and community service requirements. So, what does this bill exactly propose to expunge? Upon order of expungement, all official law

Dismantling the Myth of Diversity

Last week, in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of University of Michigan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down an amendment to the Michigan constitution that prohibited the state’s public colleges and universities from granting “preferential treatment [to] any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” The

Justia’s Top 10 Lists for June 2011

Here is a rundown of June’s highest scoring lawyers on Justia Legal Answers, along with a look at which Onward blog and Facebook posts readers viewed the most. Justia Legal Answers’ Top 10 Legal Answerers for June 2011 Albert Pettigrew Jr, 1,300 points, 26 answers J. Richard Kulerski Esq., 830 points, 17 answers Mr. Andrew T. Bodoh Esq., 550 oints,