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Nearly every state and the federal government has hate crime statutes that can increase penalties for crimes targeting specific individuals based on immutable characteristics like race, religion, or national origin. But the wording of hate crime laws, in terms what they prohibit and who they protect, can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

And different courts might interpret those statutes differently. Just this month, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the state's hate crime law does not cover anti-gay assaults. The ruling runs contrary to what most federal and state courts have said on the matter, and leaves many wondering whether states and the federal government consider anti-gay attacks hate crimes.

Anthony Allen, of Portland, Oregon, is suing the city for nearly half a million dollars as a result of a wrongful arrest that happened in May 2015. While this may seem like a big number, keep in mind that not only was this man wrongfully arrested, criminal charges were actually pursued against him. Thankfully, a jury acquitted him on those charges.

Wrongful arrest cases can be rather difficult cases to prove. Generally, a person asserting that an arrest was wrongful must prove that an officer lacked justification to make the arrest. In Mr. Allen's case, it is alleged that the arresting officer racially profiled him and lacked any probable cause.

The answer to this question, with very little exception, is a resounding: No. If the conviction is on the record, then under both federal and state laws, a person will be prohibited from owning a firearm. Many people are surprised to find out that this even applies to individuals who have been convicted on misdemeanor domestic violence charges. This can be particularly difficult for individuals who accepted no-jail plea bargains to misdemeanor charges in order to avoid more serious risks and consequences associated with fighting felony charges, or just going to trial.

For almost 50 years now, federal law has been rather clear that individuals who have convictions for domestic violence charges cannot legally possess firearms. The Gun Control Act of 1968, as well as the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, explicitly state that individuals may not own a firearm after a conviction for domestic violence, domestic assault, or equivalent crime, as well as when a domestic violence or harassment restraining order has been awarded.

The New Hampshire State Senate voted 17-6 to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana yesterday, following a 318-36 vote from the House in March. But the Senate version differed slightly from the House version, so there are a few more legal hoops to jump through before New Hampshire residents can safely carry weed with them.

So what regulations did the Senate sign off on, and what might a finalized decriminalization bill look like?

The Animal Legal Defense Fund defines animal neglect as "the failure to provide basic care required for an animal to thrive." But what do state and federal laws have to say on the matter? Just about every state has animal cruelty statutes, but do those also cover cases of intentional or unintentional neglect? Does simply chaining a dog for long periods of time constitute neglect?

Here's a look at what might constitute animal neglect under the law.

In 2014, Wisconsin resident Tammy Loertscher went to a doctor looking for a pregnancy test, along with treatment for depression and a thyroid problem. But when blood tests found both a baby and drugs in Loerthscher's system, the results were reported to law enforcement and she was ordered to undergo mandatory inpatient drug treatment. Loertscher refused the treatment, and was promptly taken to jail where she did a total stint 18 days, 36 hours of which were spent in solitary confinement. She was finally released when she agreed to submit to urinalysis throughout the duration of her pregnancy

Just one of thousands of pregnant women investigated under Wisconsin's so-called "cocaine mom" statute, Loertscher sued. And a federal judge agreed with her, blocking the state from enforcing the statute.

As the law seems to be changing in favor of marijuana legalization and decriminalization, many people often wonder where marijuana edibles, like pot brownies, or pot cookies, fall in regard to legality. In many states, the penalties for having or eating marijuana edibles can be much more severe than one might expect.

For instance, in states like Texas, possession of a single pot cookie could result in worse penalties than being found with up to a quarter pound of marijuana. This is due to the fact that marijuana edibles are frequently made using concentrates, like hash oil, the possession of which in Texas is deemed a felony, regardless of how little is possessed.

Thanks to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitutional, individuals are guaranteed protection from unreasonable search and seizure. This right not only requires federal, state, and local law enforcement to meet specific requirements before conducting a search, it also permits individuals to sue the police when an officer conducts an unreasonable search.

One officer and police department in Dunwoody, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, are learning some hard and expensive lessons about the limits of reasonableness. Recently, the department settled the fourth lawsuit against them related to an illegal search. The most recent settlement was for over $50,000 and resulted from a traffic stop where an officer claimed to be searching for marijuana. Last year, a six figure settlement prompted department-wide changes that require officers to get approval before extending a traffic stop to hail a unit with a drug sniffing dog.

Whether through new DNA testing, faulty forensic science, or procedural error, many criminal convictions eventually get overturned or vacated. Often, these exonerations don't occur until years or even decades after the fact and in that span a defendant may have already paid thousands of dollars in court costs, fines, fees, and restitution.

So when a conviction is tossed out, what happens to all that money? Until last week, Colorado had a statute on the books that allowed the state to keep fees and restitution paid by criminal defendants, even after their convictions were overturned. But the Supreme Court stepped in and ruled the law unconstitutional.

New York passed sweeping legislation overhauling how its criminal justice system treats teenagers, the central tenet of which is a new rule prohibiting the state from trying juveniles under the age of 18 as adults. The Empire State was one of only two that tried 16-year-olds as adults, and continues a trend of states no longer subjecting teenagers to adult criminal prosecution and incarceration.

While some stipulations of the new law are straightforward, some provisions and their implementation may get a little complicated.