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Warrants Required for Driveway Searches: Minnesota Court Rules

Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement needs probable cause in order to conduct a legal search. In general, officers must first obtain a warrant before conducting a search. There are also certain facts and circumstances in which police can search without a warrant, although probable cause is still required. Generally, however, a person's house can't be searched without a warrant. The Minnesota Supreme Court has decided that driveways are also protected from warrantless searches under the Fourth Amendment.

TSA Sued for Searching Travelers' Devices

As travelers, we've gotten used to undressing for the TSA -- removing our shoes, belts, and jackets. We even submit to revealing body scanners. But now, it seems that the Transportation Security Administration wants to look under the hood of our personal electronic devices as well.

That's the subject of a recent lawsuit filed against the TSA by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They claim that the TSA has been searching these devices and has refused to give any information regarding their reasons for doing so.

Vermont Legalizes Marijuana: 5 Quick Facts You Should Know

It's official! Vermont became the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on Monday. The state's Republican governor, Phil Scott, signed House Bill 511 into law after it cleared the state legislature earlier this month. The Green Mountain State joins a growing number of states to remove penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The law takes effect on July 1st.

Yet aspiring cannabis connoisseurs should be wary of jumping into the Vermont "bud" business prematurely. Here are five quick facts to know about the state of the law in Vermont.

More and more states are legalizing it, but legalization has its limits. And many parents are finding out the hard way that while the police may not prosecute you for recreational marijuana use, state child protective services may rely on federal pot prohibitions to remove children from homes, even where parents have a medical marijuana prescription.

And more and more parents are being arrested for marijuana-related child endangerment. A Wyoming mother and two men were arrested for child endangerment after marijuana paraphernalia was found in the home near children watching television, and a New York father faced similar charges after his son ate a pot gummy candy he found in the car. So does smoking marijuana, in a state where recreational use is legal, constitute child endangerment?

Normally, when we think of negligence, we think of traffic accidents and personal injury cases. Legally speaking, negligence is when carelessness results in an injury to a person or property. Such cases are normally dealt with by civil lawsuits for monetary damages to compensate the injured party, although sometimes damages are awarded to punish the negligent party.

But what happens when a person's actions aren't merely careless, but reckless? And what happens when it's not a simple fender bender, but a fatal car crash? There is such a thing as criminal negligence, when recklessness can turn into a prison sentence. Here's a look.

The money bail system, under which a criminal defendant may be required to post a cash bond to secure his or her release from jail before trial, has come under increasing scrutiny in the past few years. Critics claim that jurisdictions were using automatic bail requirements to raise municipal funds while keeping poor and indigent defendants incarcerated before any determination of guilt.

But several jurisdictions are proactively addressing the problems, one of them being New York City. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the borough will no longer require money bail for most misdemeanor or violation cases. Here's what the change could mean.

California legalized it. And that's all well and good for budding weed entrepreneurs in the Golden State, but what about the half-million people arrested on marijuana-related offenses over the past decade? Many, if not all of those arrestees have criminal charges on their record, and some may still be incarcerated for doing something that is now legal.

The good news is that legalization has also paved for way for Californians convicted of marijuana crimes to have their criminal records cleared or the charges or sentences reduced. Here's how:

If you've watched any cop show or cop movie, you can probably recite the warning from memory:

You have the right to remain silent;
If you do say anything, what you say can be used against you in a court of law;
You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning;
If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.

That admonition comes from a famous criminal law case, Miranda v. Arizona, and must be given to any person prior to custodial interrogation. But there are three major exceptions to what's become known as the Miranda rule or Miranda rights.

All civil lawsuits have statutes of limitation -- time limits after which you can longer sue. These statutes can vary depending on the type of offense and the state, but all are designed to have parties litigate an issue while evidence and memories are still fresh.

This can be tough when dealing with certain offenses like sexual assault, especially when the victim is a child at the time. Children can be too fearful to report sexual assault until they are older, and by then, the statute of limitations on their ability to sue their attacker may have tolled. New York has some of the nation's most restrictive statutes of limitations when it comes to child sex assault lawsuits, but the state is trying to change that.

For the most part, public defenders are to be admired -- they work long hours at a largely thankless job with very little resources. But, as with any other profession, not all public defenders are great at what they do, they may not agree with every defendant they represent, and even a good public defender can have a bad day.

So if you're not happy with your public defender, what can you do about it?