Misplaced Fears: Why Criminalizing Social Media Usage Is Wrong

Some government authorities in the United States and abroad want to criminalize the use of social media, concluding that by taking a blunderbuss approach to outlawing conduct, more crimes will be prevented. The problem with this strategy is that it appears to be largely based upon an unfounded fear of the unknown. Recently, when a ‘flash mob’ allegedly robbed a

Is the California Legislature Failing Public School Students?

In the next few weeks, children throughout the Golden State will bid farewell to the unstructured freedom that summer affords as they head back to rule the corridors and classrooms of their local schools. For public school teachers, the new school year offers a respite from this summer of discontent. The continuing recession has thinned their ranks a bit, leaving

Legal Zoom Faces Unauthorized Practice of Law Class Action

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported last month that a class action suit against legal forms provider Legal Zoom survived a motion for summary judgement and will proceed to trial in a Missouri federal court. In rejecting the defendant’s motion, Judge Laughrey allowed the plaintiffs to move forward with their complaint that consumers have been harmed by the company’s unauthorized practice

Hold That Thought: Updated California Law Bans The Use of Social Media & Electronic Devices by Jurors

Last Friday, Governor Brown signed California Assembly Bill 141 into law. AB 141 formalizes long-standing informal rules banning the use of social media and electronic devices (including smart phones) by jurors to discuss or research cases. As well, the bill forbids jurors from using electronic or wireless devices to contact court officials. While existing laws require a court to remind and admonish

Wizarding Law in the 21st Century

While Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2 is the eighth and final film in the Harry Potter Series, its theatrical release does not signal the end of Pottermania. Instead, fans can continue enjoying the magical world of Harry Potter through Pottermore, an online interactive reading experience by J.K. Rowling. Last week, Potter fans, such as myself, scrambled at all hours

Budget Cuts and Access to Legal Information

It’s a bad week for government documents. OMB Watch recently reported that the House voted to cut funding to the Government Printing Office. This comes as no surprise, given the recent budget drama, and it’s not likely to get a lot of mainstream attention with looming cuts to entitlement programs and the military funding. It’s important for those of us

Raising the Debt Ceiling for the Children

Considering the amount of attention that our dear Congress devotes to children, I am quite surprised by the average academic performance delivered by our sweet angels when compared to their peers in other countries. Lest you think Congress is too focused on earmarks for their donors constituents, I must point out that even the rancorous debt ceiling debate during the

Justia’s Top 10 Lists for July 2011

Here is a rundown of July’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 July 2011 Mark A. Siesel, 11,600 points, 232 answers Burton A. Padove, 10,195 points, 215 answers Terrence Rubino, 2,805 oints, 72 answers Robert Neal

Making a Difference – New California Law Provides Added Privacy Protections

Update: In a post  I wrote on collaborative democracy back in April, I mentioned that our friend Mary Minow had recently traveled to Sacramento to voice her support for California Senate Bill (“SB”) 445. The Bill, which increases privacy protections for library patrons by amending the California Public Records Act, was Mary’s idea and one which she submitted as a part