This Note seeks to address how the sprawl of GPS technology in our lives has permeated into the courts and affected the rights of criminal defendants. The first Part provides general background about the technology and its broader role in the court system, while the second Part examines GPS and the law. The second Part will look at the rules of evidence and the hurdles––however minimal––that GPS evidence may need to overcome when admitted at trial. Because GPS technology, while common, is still subject to errors and tampering, the evidence should be required to be properly authenticated. A GPS record can be––and has been––viewed as a kind of a statement, reporting where a particular person was at a particular time. For this reason, courts have considered the evidence through hearsay analysis and admitted it through the business records exception. Additionally, the second Part discusses the constitutional issues that arise with the introduction of GPS evidence. Specifically, the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment guarantees a criminal defendant the right to cross-examine the person who makes a report submitted at trial. GPS data can be considered a statement against a criminal defendant, about where the defendant was at a particular time––e.g., when a crime was being committed. The issue becomes whether a criminal defendant is entitled to “confront” the makers of these statements. Finally, the third Part of this Note concludes with concerns of how to properly deal with GPS tracking technology, considering how far it can reach, in light of the general public’s seeming non-concern with the level of government use of it. The fact that most of us carry GPS-enabled smartphones in our pockets every day gives rise to questions about the government’s ability to track us and what procedural safeguards should be maintained when evidence from these devices is admitted against an individual at trial.
Fair use is a legal doctrine that is at once generous and parsimonious to our society’s innovators. The underlying function of fair use is to allow individuals to freely and legally use copyrighted works without obtaining permission from the work’s creator. It serves as an exception to the rights granted by copyright law, promoting society’s liberty of expression and innovation by allowing individuals to infringe on another’s creative efforts. Yet while those taking advantage of the fair use exception have much to gain from the doctrine, their experiences with fair use have been plagued with “pervasive and often crippling uncertainty.”
Since the doctrine’s judicial inception and subsequent statutory codification, courts have struggled to define and apply a uniform test assessing whether a copyrighted work’s use is protected under fair use. In the 1994 case Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., the Supreme Court introduced a new consideration into the fair use analysis: whether and to what extent a secondary use transforms the original copyrighted work. A use that sufficiently transformed the original work would weigh in favor of fair use; conversely, a use that failed to sufficiently transform the work would weigh against a fair use finding. This novel element of the fair use analysis left many questions unanswered. Where does the dividing line between a sufficiently transformative work and one that is not transformative enough lie? How much weight should this new inquiry hold in relation to the pre-existing statutory factors?
This Note argues that fragmented free expression laws across European member states and data controllers’ ability to select their reviewing supervisory authority give U.S. data controllers latitude to exploit the privacy-expression balance in favor of the U.S. prioritization of expression. Whereas the current literature revolving around the right to be forgotten and the GDPR focuses on reconciling and converging transatlantic values of privacy and free expression, this Note examines the mechanisms of the European Union’s assertion and imposition of privacy values across the Atlantic through the right to be forgotten and the right to erasure and describes weaknesses in the GDPR that may undermine those mechanisms.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was given expanded authority to bring enforcement actions against “any person” allegedly in violation of federal Securities and Exchange laws, with unhindered discretion as to whether these actions must be initiated before its own administrative law judges (ALJs) or in federal district courts. Since then, pursuant to its enhanced prosecutorial power, the SEC has increased its number of administrative proceedings—cases it has brought “in house”—sparking considerable controversy over the SEC’s perceived “home court advantage” and stirring up a series of constitutional challenges to its adjudicatory system. So far, only a few such challenges have garnered any success, while all others have been dismissed by federal district and appellate courts for lack of jurisdiction. Despite the attention the SEC has received, the Supreme Court has yet to address the issue, and Congress similarly has been slow to react. A federal bill addressing the matter, entitled the “Due Process Restoration Act,” has been proposed, but the bill is still in its infancy and has yet to pass the House of Representatives, much less reach the Senate.
In accordance with a time-honored tradition, foreign sovereigns are generally immune from being summoned to court in another country. This doctrine of “sovereign immunity” was codified and modified in the Federal Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (“FSIA”). The FSIA divests United States courts of jurisdiction over defendants that are foreign states, subject to a number of general exceptions designed to provide a level of recourse for an aggrieved party against a foreign government. The FSIA codifies the long-standing attitude against suing foreign governments in the United States and “places in the federal courts the task of determining whether the general immunity provided by the Act attaches” in a given scenario, “weighing ‘the interests of justice’ and ‘the rights of both foreign states and litigants in United States courts.’” As such, the Act is designed to protect “both the rights of domestic litigants and foreign states.” However, the framers of the statute were, and those currently adjudicating disputes arising under the statute are, wary that “err[ing] in the former direction could implicate foreign policy concerns, while being overly solicitous of the status of foreign states could make it impossible for aggrieved parties to be made whole.” This virtual tug-of-war between these two interests was at the forefront of a case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2013, Sachs v. Republic of Austria, a battle that ultimately reached the Supreme Court.
This is the digital age. As “the ratings machine, DJT [Donald J. Trump],” says, “all I know is what’s on the internet,” or “the cyber,” as he calls it. People’s use of and dependency on the Internet has made data breaches a serious and widespread threat to people’s privacy and security. In 2016, there were 1,093 data breaches, up from 780 in 2015. 75.6% of companies suffered at least one successful attack. Essentially “there are only two types of companies left in the United States, according to data security experts: ‘those that have been hacked and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked.’”
Major companies such as LinkedIn, Target, Ebay, Yahoo, Anthem, and Ashley Madison have been subject to data breaches, and subsequently to lawsuits. Not only can data breaches threaten people’s financial security, but breaches like Ashley Madison’s—a dating site whose slogan up until July 2016 was “Life is Short. Have an Affair”—can threaten people’s home lives and shatter careers. The government is not immune to dangerous cyber attacks either. Both the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) have suffered breaches. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s e-mails were leaked as part of the DNC breach, which became a source of controversy throughout her campaign. Further, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the hack was tied to and possibly directed by the Russian government, which sets a troubling precedent for future hacks by hostile foreign governments.
Plaintiffs whose information has been exposed due to a company data breach have attempted to sue the hacked companies storing their information based on causes of action such as negligence, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair and deceptive business practices, invasion of privacy, violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and violations of various state consumer protection and data breach notification laws.
At the time of this writing, over $1.4 billion of unallocated polluter regulatory fees collect dust in a special government bank account as California agencies labor to figure out how to spend it, or more accurately, how to spend it fast enough. While state agency pockets smolder with anticipation, one inconvenience stands in their way: the cash must be used for programs or developments that reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Thus, as lawmakers toil through the night to engineer new and creative spending proposals—ink dripping from the gold-embroidered parchment—the words “emission reductions” continue to get lost between nouns, verbs, exclamations points, and dollar signs.
Simply put, putting a price on carbon emissions has never been more lucrative for the State of California. Polluter fees not only fund the State’s climate change agenda, but also serve as the fiscal linchpin of the Governor’s statewide budgetary plan, from affordable housing development subsidies to the State’s herculean $64 billion bullet-train project. California has never been a state fearful of taking controversial positions on private property rights and protecting the public welfare, but with cap-and-trade, the entire world is watching.
California is the twelfth largest GHG producer in the world and the original American cap-and-trade pioneer. On January 1, 2013, the state implemented the most complex market-driven environmental regulatory scheme of its kind ever put into action. California’s cap-and-trade program was designed to be a model which not only other states in the western United States could follow, but one that could eventually be replicated in developed economies across the world in the global movement to reverse centuries of unrestrained GHG pollution. As a bona fide experimental prototype, the importance of getting the system right cannot be overstated. However, as a concept-in-progress that regulates the sixth largest economy in the world—greater than the likes of Italy, Russia, and India—understanding its contours and evolving mandates could not be more important to the businesses and industry practitioners that are subject to its control. As such, this Note will analyze the practical components of the cap-and-trade program, assess the potential legal risks of current spending trends, and ultimately recommend additional, apt, and effective appropriation vehicles for cap-and-trade revenue.
A girlfriend hacks her boyfriend’s computer and discovers evidence of tax evasion. She contacts a local law enforcement officer who arrives at her house and looks at the files she found. Without a warrant, the officer opens other files in the same folder the girlfriend had searched. The officer notices another folder labeled “xxx.” He opens the folder and discovers child pornography. The officer seizes the computer based on what he found. The boyfriend is indicted for possession of child pornography and tax evasion. Before trial, the boyfriend moves to suppress all evidence obtained pursuant to the officer’s warrantless search of the computer. What evidence should the judge suppress?
The answer turns on the Fourth Amendment’s private-search exception. Under this exception, a government agent may recreate a search conducted by a private individual so long as the agent does not “exceed the scope” of the prior private search. The question under the existing framework is: at what point did the officer exceed the scope of the prior search—if at all? Was it when he viewed files the girlfriend had not viewed, when he opened files in a different folder, or did he stay within the scope of the girlfriend’s search by only searching the computer’s hard drive? This is what I will refer to as the denominator problem, which asks what courts should use as the unit of analysis to measure the scope of a digital search.
There are at least four competing approaches to the denominator problem, discussed in Part II, and the Supreme Court has provided little guidance on how the private-search doctrine applies to digital searches, resulting in a circuit split. Until this issue is resolved, law enforcement has little guidance on when to obtain a warrant following a private search and can unknowingly subject individuals to unreasonable invasions of privacy, which may result in suppression of relevant evidence. One recent example is United States v. Lichtenberger.
This Note examines the experiences of children in the juvenile and criminal justice system with the purpose of finding an alternative to keeping Geyser and Weier in the criminal system. Part I provides a summary of Geyser and Weier’s pending case, which has been pieced together from various news outlets. Part II looks at the development of the juvenile justice system and the transfer system, with an in-depth analysis of the three primary waiver mechanisms. Part II also examines the Wisconsin laws that Geyser and Weier are subject to, and the primary ways in which the juvenile justice system differs from the criminal justice system. Part III describes how the current justice system in America has failed to meet the needs of juvenile offenders. Part IV discusses the reasoning involved in U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have treated juvenile offenders differently than adult offenders. Part IV also presents studies that explain why the development of children’s brains provides support for this differential treatment. Part V analyzes various alternatives to the prevailing regime which keeps juvenile offenders in the juvenile justice system or transfers them to the criminal justice system. Lastly, Part V also proposes that blended sentencing, while still an imperfect solution, is the best alternative to automatically subjecting juveniles who commit violent offenses to the criminal justice system. With respect to Anissa Weier, blended sentencing would be the best alternative, because her situation could be reevaluated once she reaches the upper age limit of juvenile court jurisdiction. In the case of Morgan Geyser, under a blended sentencing regime, she could be transferred to the mental health courts and placed in a mental health facility within a designated children’s ward to receive treatment for schizophrenia, as both the juvenile and criminal justice systems are ill-equipped to house juvenile offenders with serious mental illnesses.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for their employees’ sincerely held religious practices and beliefs as long as the accommodation does not pose an “undue hardship” on the conduct of the employer’s business. But “undue hardship” is a vague term that has led to unclear, inconsistent, unfair, and even discriminatory precedent. This Note proffers a new framework for religious discrimination law through the incorporation of the “essential functions” provision of a similar law, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in order to strike a fairer balance between the competing rights and interests of employers and employees.