The DEA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Its mission is to enforce existing laws and regulations of controlled substances. They collaborate with other law enforcement agencies – state, local and federal – to seize illegal drugs and arrest individuals involved in their manufacturing (growth and harvesting), dispensing and selling or distribution. They also play a significant role in assisting foreign governments.

DEA agents also gather evidence for the prosecution of violators, at interstate or international levels. Federal law’s punishment for offenders can be still. The conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin could range from 10 years to life imprisonment. When prosecutors add the intent to launder money to the charges, the sentence can rise to 20 years to life.

The list of controlled substances continues to expand rapidly. In addition to narcotics like heroin, oxycodone, opium and morphine, there are stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines. Illegal drugs are under the umbrella of hallucinogens and include LSD, Inhalants and another classification are depressants like barbiturates. Like the FBI, the DEA also publishes a list of their top wanted fugitives. It’s not just illegal drug kingpins who are involved in dispensing controlled substances. Often, those in the medical field, such as physicians or pharmacies.

Notable Cases
In October 2015, a physician in Los Angeles was the first medical professional was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder. His charges stemmed for illegally prescribing massive amounts of dangerous, addictive drugs to patients who had no need of them. Consequently, the patients died of overdoses. This guilty verdict was the first doctor in the U.S. to be convicted of murder in a crime involving illegal drugs. The doctor was sentenced to 30 years to life.
Another capture of a drug war lord that made the news was that of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman-Loera. He had been an elusive fugitive for years, and even escaped from his Mexican prison. He was extradited from Mexico in January 2017 to New York and awaits charges for allegedly organizing a drug trafficking enterprise, murder and money laundering.

Abby Lee Miller

Should Abby Lee Miller be Sentenced to 2 ½ Years in Prison?

Who is Abby Lee Miller?

If you do not know about Abby Lee Miller, you have been missing out on an entertaining, yet controversial woman. Abby Lee Miller is the owner of Abby Lee Dance Company. Abby’s dance studio is featured in the hit Lifetime television series, “Dance Moms.” On Dance Moms, Abby is known as the dance teacher who can be rather harsh to her students, but who also has had a large part in creating talented, and successful dancers.

For the past 5 seasons of Dance Moms, things seemed to be looking pretty good for Abby. She was engaged in different business endeavors, had students who were taking off in the entertainment industry, and she had a new dance studio in LA. However, things began to take a turn for Abby when she was charged with bankruptcy fraud in 2015. Before Dance Moms started, Abby was going through a tough time financially. Abby eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. When Dance Moms started, Abby began making a lot of money from a lot of different projects she was involved. Unfortunately, it is said that Abby hid or tried to hide $750,000 of those profits. She also did not report thousands of dollars that she received while visiting Australia one time. Abby eventually pled guilty to a couple of the charges. I am not positive if this is correct, but it has been said that Abby paid the money back that she owed. In the end, Abby may be facing up to 2 ½ years in prison. She is hoping to receive probation.

Is the Crime Worth the Punishment?

Do you feel that Abby Lee Miller deserves probation, or a 2 ½ year sentence? Is 2 ½ years too long of a sentence for a crime? I personally think that it may be.

At first, I was completely against Abby being sentenced to jail. I think I let the idea of seeing little kids without their dance teacher cloud my thoughts. At the end of the day, however, she committed a crime. All of the sparkly costumes and camera lights cannot change that.

However, I often wonder if people should be given some sort of leniency when it is there first offense. This is just a personal thought; I am not expecting anyone to agree. I understand that this is a grown woman who knew better. However, I think that it is very easy to lock someone up and throw away the key. It is also very easy to look at someone else’s life and make judgment calls when it is not us in the situation. I don’t know. If she paid the money back, and if she never committed a crime prior to this, I question a 2 ½ year sentence. Not just for Abby, but for a lot of people who are currently in jail or who are awaiting a sentence. I personally support showing people as much mercy as possible. I understand that people can do so some unthinkable things, but still, we all make mistakes. A lot of people do a lot of crazy things, and they never get caught. Somehow, however, they have no issue commenting on what strangers do and what kind of sentence those strangers deserve.

Trust me, I know that what she did was 100% wrong. I just question her possible sentence time. In the end, we will just have to wait until her sentencing date, which should be coming up soon. Who knows, she may end up getting probation. What do you think? I would love to read your thoughts and opinions. Feel free to leave a comment down below about your take on this situation and/or situations similar to it.

Senate Procedure: The Filibuster and More

Procedure in the U.S. Senate is a complicated subject. Yet, several aspects of it have been in the news lately because of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court. Democrats in the Senate tried to prevent the Senate from confirming Gorsuch by filibustering his nomination. In response, Senate Republicans used a technical procedure called the nuclear option to invoke cloture and defeat the Democrats’ filibuster. Let’s take a closer look at what all this means.

Filibuster

A filibuster can take many forms, but when most people think of a filibuster, they probably imagine a lone senator keeping command of the Senate floor by talking for hours on end. This tactic was memorably depicted by Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But today, a filibuster is usually much less dramatic than that. As long as some senators refuse to allow a vote on a bill or nomination, the Senate must first take a vote about whether it should vote on the bill or nomination. (See? Senate procedure is complicated!) If enough senators vote no, they can prevent a vote indefinitely, unless enough senators on the other side invoke cloture.

Cloture

To end a filibuster, 16 senators can team up to file a cloture petition with the Senate clerk. Two days after the petition is filed, it becomes “ripe” and can be voted on. How many senators it takes to invoke cloture depends on the matter up for a vote. If it’s legislation, it takes the affirmative vote of at least 60 senators to invoke cloture. But for nominations, only 51 votes are required. After cloture is invoked in this way, senators can only debate the issue for 30 more hours. Once that 30 hours expires, they’ll have to take a vote.

The Nuclear Option

The nuclear option is a tactic that is rooted in the constitutional power of a simple majority in the Senate (i.e., 51 senators) to change Senate rules. The nuclear option has been used twice in recent history. The first time was in 2013. Before then, invoking cloture on a lower-court or executive nomination required 60 votes, just like it still does for legislation. But in November 2013, Democrats in the Senate used the nuclear option to change that requirement to 51 votes. The second time was this year, when Republicans in the Senate used the same approach to change the required cloture vote for Supreme Court nominations. Now, cloture can be invoked on any nomination if 51 senators vote for it. Thanks to the increasing partisanship among senators, it may be only a matter of time before a Republican or Democratic majority decides to use the nuclear option to change the required cloture vote for legislation, too. But for now it remains fixed at 60.

Of course, Senate procedure is even more complicated than this brief blog post lets on. Really, we’ve only scratched the surface. But hopefully you now have a better understanding of this little slice of procedure in the Senate that’s been so prominent in the news lately.

Health Law

Health law is the law governs health care for individuals and for the public. This can include insurance coverage, direct health care, ethical issues related to health care, drug supply and the providers of health care. Health law can include laws that govern issues relating to public health as well as medical health for people who are ill. Health law is enforced at the federal, state and local government levels. Only certain lawyers who are trained specifically in health law can work within the health law sphere of law.

Health Lawyers

A lawyer that practices health law must obtain additional knowledge through education to become certified to specialize in health law. Often lawyers wanting to work as a health lawyer need to return to university to undertake a masters degree to be fully qualified to give advise and represent clients in the area of health law. A health lawyer can work with individual clients or for hospitals, doctors, pharmacies or insurance companies.

Popular Areas of Health Law

Medical Law

Medical law relates specifically to rights and responsibilities of medical professionals and their patients. Medical law covers areas such as confidentiality between patients and medical practitioners, ethics and negligence. If there is harm done to a patient from a medical professional then the case becomes an issue of medical malpractice.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is an area of health law relating to medical treatment. It is the negligence or malpractice of a medical professional that led to injury or death of a patient. This can include when a doctor makes a mistake with their diagnosis or the treatment drugs that they prescribe. Medical malpractice cases that go to court are usually civil cases. Although, occasionally the medical professional is charged with a criminal crime of malpractice and the case is held as a criminal case in court.

Public Health Law

Public health law pertains to issues that affect the well being of the general public. Public health law aims to improve the well being and level of health within the population. The issues that can affect public health are typically disease and disease prevention. One way that many diseases have been controlled or eradicated from the general population is through mandatory vaccinations that are required by law of all children.

An In-Depth Review of Intellectual Property Law

An In-Depth Review of Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property law covers matters pertaining to the legal rights that individuals have to their inventions, artistic works, and designs. This law typically protects the exclusive control and use of intangible assets with the objective of giving individuals the incentive to develop creative works that are beneficial to the society. In doing so, such individuals can also fully profit from their labor without the fear of fraud.

shaking hands over property negotiation

The US constitution grants Congress the power to grant inventors and authors exclusive rights to their conceptions. The Intellectual Property Law is administered by the US Copyright Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Patents give designers and creators exclusive rights to use their creations in the marketplace. This way, they can also profit if they choose to transfer the right to an individual or an organization.

Generally, trademarks protect slogans, names, and symbols used by designers and creators to distinguish their products. Rights have the potential to last for ages, and can also be obtained using a mark. Although it is not mandatory, owners are advised to register their trademarks since it guarantees additional protection against exploitation.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property from Infringement

If your business is synonymous with a particular trademark, you should protect your intellectual property since it goes a long way in determining the success of your establishment. The complex nature of today’s corporate world has led to a rise of copyright infringement incidents. This is basically the unapproved use of intellectual property. The easiest way of deterring infringement is by providing notices. This increases the visibility of your rights, thus putting you in a better position to sue anyone who infringes on your rights.

You can deter would-be infringers by marking your products with the number that the Patent and Trademark Office will assign to you. If you are yet to be assigned a patent number, you can include a “patent pending” label on your product. This will deter others from copying your design before you are assigned a patent. Notice of copyrights and trademarks can be given by using appropriate symbols such as ™, and © on the product. Thereafter, you are required to register the copyright or trademark so that it can be added to official government records. You can sue those who go ahead to infringe on your trademark.

Does Social Media Permit Defamation

If you go on any Instagram post of a celebrity or social media influencer, you are bound to see a bunch of false claims about them. Almost every day that I get online, I read some article or comment about someone in the spotlight that contains incorrect information. The growth of social media has also created the growth of false information; it has allowed for this false information to travel all around the world. Since there are so many people using social media all day long, I feel as though the creators of these platforms find it futile to try to control everything that every user says. By allowing all of these false things to be published by users, is social media permitting defamation?

I believe that it does. For whatever reason, people feel extremely powerful behind their computer screens. In a way, that is a great. It is important that people have a place to voice their thoughts and opinions. Social media allows people to voice their thoughts and opinions on any topic that they please. That being said, a lot of people abuse that power. They think that social media is a place for them to talk about other people in a negative light, and shed gossip and lies all over the internet.

The major problem with that, is that there are not always a lot of repercussions for doing these things. When it comes to celebrities, I understand that it would be impossible to stop people from spreading lies about them since they are in the light, and have a large following on social media. I also think that a lot people are desensitized to the false media, and know when a lot of information is not true. However, I feel that as many false claims should be as monitored as possible – even for celebrities.

People are now creating false websites, tweets, Facebook pages about non-celebrities. Reputations, livelihoods, and families have been ruined by defamation through social media. There needs to be something to stop permitting defamation through social media. Some kind of repercussion. You will never be able to fully stop murder, stealing, defamation, etc. However, there can be a way to control those things. We need to begin addressing these different issues that come with social media by taking legal action.

What do you all think about this topic?

Personal Injury Cases

A person who has suffered personal injury can hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the party who caused them injury. Personal injury can include accidents where the person was injured or malpractice where a mistake occurred during a medical procedure. Personal injury cases are part of civil law cases. This is where the party who has filed the complaint in court is seeking financial compensation for damages. This is different to a criminal case where the nature of the crime is criminal and criminal charges are being pressed.

suffering from a personal injury

Steps In A Personal Injury Case

There are many steps in a personal injury case and many depending on the circumstances many ways the case can go. Some cases go to trial whilst others are resolved out of court.

Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer

A person seeking compensation for a personal injury case needs to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent them. A personal injury lawyer is a qualified lawyer with experience specifically in civil litigation and personal injury cases. Usually a lawyer dealing with personal injury law is more experienced in tort law than other lawyers. This refers to law that falls under civil wrongdoings, economic damage to a person, or defamation cases where a person’s property or reputation is damaged.

Filing A Complaint

In order to make a claim for personal injury compensation, an official complaint needs to first be filed by the person claiming injury. Once a lawyer has been hired, the official complaint can be lodged. This is the official lodging of a lawsuit against the party accused of causing damages.

Informal Settlement

The common option in a personal injury case is for the case to be settled through an informal settlement agreement. This is where the two parties involved in the dispute come to an agreement through negotiation. This negotiation normally involves the lawyers for each party and insurance companies. If negotiation works then the aggrieved party will receive an agreed upon amount of money as compensation.

Going To Court

If an informal settlement agreement cannot be negotiated out of court then the case goes to trial with a judge and jury to gain an official judgement. This option is costly and will take a long time for the case to reach the courts. Personal injury court cases occur when the two parties cannot come to a fair amount of compensation to settle for or when the defending party does not agree to provide compensation. The aggrieved party will then go to court to ask the judge to award compensation to them for the personal injury. Let me know your thoughts!

What is Impeachment

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton explained that impeachment involves the misconduct of public officials who potentially misuse or abuse the public’s trust.

The framers of the Constitution were so fearful that a person with too much executive power may be tempted to abuse it, that they felt it was mandatory to include it in their writing. During the Federal Constitutional Convention they decided to describe the proper venue, process for such a trial, classify which crimes should be considered as impeachable offenses, and finally address the likelihood of gaining a conviction.

Reasons for Impeachment
At the top of the list were treason and bribery. After some discussion, they added an all-encompassing, kind of catch-all phrase: high crimes and misdemeanors. While it was broad, it wasn’t very specific.
The House of Representatives has begun impeachment proceedings nearly 60 times, but only 8 were convicted and removed from office by the Senate. These 8 were federal judges. In 1876, a cabinet secretary was impeached and in 1797, a North Carolina senator was impeached.

In any impeachment process the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has the duty of presiding over the Senate’s trial.
Only two U.S. Presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Vice President Johnson assumed the presidency upon the death of Abraham Lincoln. Johnson had been a major obstacle and non-supporter of the Radical Republicans’ reconstruction program. Finally the U.S. House of Representatives, which is the only body allowed to bring impeachment charges, tired of his defiance and brought charges against him. The trial lasted 11 weeks and Johnson escaped being removed from office by only one vote.

In 1998, the House of Representatives approved an article of impeachment again President Bill Clinton. He was accused of lying to a federal grand jury about the nature of his relationship with an intern. The Senate put the president on trial but the president was acquitted.

Law’s Function as a Symbol in America

The United States of America is an extraordinarily unique country, one created by and for the people, rather than any one individual. Ours is a government of institutions and laws, binding each American together, and holding us all accountable to one another. Above all else, the rule of law symbolizes the United States and her citizens, as well as its commitment to upholding the international order.

Few other nations benefit from the liberties and freedom enjoyed each day by Americans, and few things are held in such high reverence in the U.S. as our judiciary system. It’s then worth asking how, exactly, law has come to symbolize our nation and its people.

There is no finer example nor greater power of American law than the United States Constitution. This document, penned by our founders and relied upon throughout our history as a legal compass, has built the very foundation of our country. Americans rightly view the Constitution and principles instilled within it as the bedrock of our nation, though seldom do we appreciate the lengths to which it goes to protect us.

Everywhere one looks in America, there is law; our courthouses and statehouses dot our maps, and Americans are regularly exposed to law in their media and everyday experiences. Whether it’s being tried by a jury of your peers, or merely being bombarded with advertisements for legal services on your way to work, we all find ourselves immersed in a world of law.
From our nation’s inception, our government officials have derived their authority not from a divine mandate, but rather the will of the people. This principle, enumerated in Article I of the constitution as it establishes the House of Representatives, has driven the United States to become the international role model of the rule of law. Time and time again, other nations have formulated their constitutions, governments, and guiding national principles with the assistant of the United States.

Our constitution serving as an example for others is perhaps best seen in the nation of Japan, which, after world war II, formulated a constitution based not only on its own national principles, but those of the American Constitution. Time and time again, our courts, legal documents, and rich judicial history has served as an example around the globe.

Countless times throughout American history, the people of the United States have fallen back on the symbol and power of their judicial system to rescue them from tyranny. Two presidents have been impeached, and countless instances of discrimination have been struck down, all through the vital institutions of the judiciary.

Law has become more than a guiding principle of life; these days, the law in the United States serves as a cultural icon, an ever-present reminder that our government is one of, by, and for the people.

How have you seen law function as a symbol in the United States? How would our nation be different without our judicial system? Leave a comment below!

Neil Gorsuch: Supreme Court Justice

On April 10th, 2017, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in to become the United States’ latest Supreme Court Justice. Who exactly is Justice Gorsuch, and how will his legal philosophy impact the American judiciary?

Replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia, 49-year-old Justice Gorsuch ascended to America’s highest court after a long and bitter conflict in the US Senate regarding his nomination. The nearly 14 month-long confirmation process, which captured headlines and inspired partisan fervor on both sides of the aisle, reached its conclusion when the Harvard Law School graduate was sworn in as the 113th Justice at a public ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

Justice Gorsuch received a “well-qualified” rating from the American Bar Association leading up to his confirmation, the highest such rating given by the association. Nominated by President Donald J. Trump, Gorsuch had previously served on 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for over a decade, having been nominated to said court by President George W. Bush.
Like Justice Scalia before him, Justice Gorsuch identifies as a strict “originalist”, believing there is little room for interpreting the constitution in legal rulings, opting instead to adhere to the original intent of the constitution’s framers at the time of its writing. To Justice Gorsuch, legal statutes are to be read narrowly, with little wiggle room allowed for modern reinterpretation or dispute.

The ascension of Justice Gorsuch to America’s highest court broke the deadlocked 4-4 court, and will permit our nation’s chief judiciary institution to have votes with all 9 members present.

One of the more notable aspects of Justice Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy is his ardent opposition to the Chevron deference. This principle, established in a 1984 Supreme Court case, posits that courts and judges should leave interpretation of legal statutes to regulatory agencies, rather than weighing in on the issues themselves. Vehemently dissenting to this principle in a 2016 dissent, Justice Gorsuch put forward that such a deference put far too much power in the hands of un-elected bureaucracies.
Highly lauded by conservatives, Justice Gorsuch’s first issued opinion for the Supreme Court was regarding the definition of a debt collector. In a unanimous decision, the court decided that debt collector’s regulations are not applicable to companies that purchase debts.

All Supreme Court Justices serve for life, or until they retire. What are your thoughts on the Supreme Court? Leave a comment down below!