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While we're not quite living in the world where the Terminator or RoboCop are walking around, autonomous vehicles and other devices are starting to see daylight, which means that lawmakers need to kick it into high gear. When it comes to civil liability, it would seem that the owner, programmer, and/or maker of a robot is likely to wind up paying for any damages caused. But what about when a crime is committed?

When a robot commits a crime, criminal liability will depend on whether the robot was being controlled or programmed to take a specific action. If a robot utilized artificial intelligence to learn and act on its own, the question of criminal liability becomes more complicated.

In a bid to make Utah more like Europe, lawmakers in the state have passed two changes to the state's alcohol laws. One eases the "Zion Curtain" restriction and the other lowers the blood-alcohol content (BAC) requirement for being convicted for a DUI from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.

The pair of new laws are expected to be signed into law by Utah's Governor, Gary Herbert, who has stated his support. However, the new BAC level has created some controversy, as it will be the lowest in the country. Given Utah's current regulation of alcohol, along with their history of being strict on alcohol, it is not surprising to see the state take this step.

Criminal law varies from state to state, but there are some commonalities across the board when it comes to juvenile justice and juvenile detention. Minors have civil rights just like adults, and to that end, the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment applies. Alternatively, very young minors may be found to lack the mental capacity to even be held criminally liable at all.

While minors generally have the same protections as adults, the juvenile justice system was designed to provide a few additional rights to juveniles in order reduce the likelihood of reoffending. However, each state runs their juvenile incarceration system differently, and will have policies regarding what privileges juvenile inmates may partake in, such as visitation, phone calls, or entertainment (such as watching TV).

When a criminal defendant is declared mentally incompetent, it is not the same thing as an insanity defense. When a defendant pleads a defense of insanity, they are asking a jury to render a verdict that attributes liability to their mental condition. When a defendant is declared incompetent, they never see a jury, and can have their trials delayed until they become competent.

A person who has been declared mentally incompetent does not escape liability, nor trial, but merely suffers a delay in being processed through the justice system. Usually, a person deemed mentally incompetent will be required to check in with the court, or their custodian will be required to check in, every few weeks or months. Also they'll need to notify the court when the individual regains competency. Once competency is regained, the individual will have to stand trial.

Drones are awesome. But along with the awesomeness comes great responsibility. Like many other awesome things, drones are incredibly dangerous, and improper use can actually result in not just injuries, but also severe legal consequences, including jail time.

Recently, a Seattle man was sentenced to 30 days in jail as a result of injuring two individuals with his drone. While flying his drone in public, he lost control, crashed into a building, and the drone fell to the ground, striking two people. The man was charged and convicted of reckless endangerment. Reports state that an appeal is planned, particularly as this was the first prosecution of its kind in the state. However, as law enforcement and the law catch up to the widespread popularity of drones, more such prosecutions are expected.

The inherent tension in the recent trend to legalize recreational marijuana at the state level is that the drug remains an illegal substance at the federal level. Up until now, the Department of Justice has taken a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement, trusting "state and local authorizes to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws."

But that could all change under the new presidential administration. Last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Justice Department under President Trump may step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana use.

This week, the United States Supreme Court denied hearing the case of an Alabama death row inmate fighting to be executed by firing squad. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, this isn't about a case from 1868. An Alabama inmate actually wants to be executed via firing squad, and the government is saying no, and the courts have agreed.

While the cost of actually going through with executions generally costs more than housing an inmate for life, state courts are still sentencing people to death, despite the fiscal implications. Over the last few decades, the vast majority of executions have been done via lethal injection, but that method has come under increasing scrutiny due to failed executions that resembled torture. To avoid being subjected to the risks involved with the lethal injection, the Alabama death row inmate was seeking a quick and guaranteed death by firing squad.

Those side-view mirrors that protrude out on either side of a car get knocked, bumped, broken, and vandalized more often than most people expect. If you’re driving around with a broken side mirror, you might be wondering whether law enforcement can pull you over, or ticket you, if you don’t get it fixed right away.

Unfortunately, the answer depends on what state you are driving in, as not only do the traffic laws vary from state to state, but what is considered as required safety equipment also varies. While there are federal guidelines that set requirements that specifically mandate side mirrors and a rear-view mirror, the federal guidelines apply more for manufacturers. The state traffic laws about side-view and rear-view mirrors will apply to drivers and govern when a driver can be pulled over and ticketed.

We all know that marijuana is illegal under federal law. (Or at least most of us know that.) And even with all these states passing recreational use laws, the feds aren't interested in legalizing it. But there was some disagreement about CBD oil and other cannabis-based extracts that lack the THC to get users high and are used primarily in medical cases.

Well, that confusion was put to rest recently when the DEA added an additional code to the Federal Register, clarifying that any extract of the marijuana plant falls under the Schedule I classification, and thus remains illegal.

In a series of executive orders issued this morning by the White House, President Trump is targeting criminals both at home and internationally. Each of the three orders has a different focus. One executive order focuses on the safety of law enforcement officials across the country, one focuses on the public’s general safety from crime, and the last focuses on fighting transnational criminal organizations.

This last executive order of the three passed today simply instructs federal agencies to strengthen the enforcement of federal law. This seems counter to what Trump’s platform has been pushing for when it comes to the elimination of federal regulations that result in white collar business, compliance, and financial crimes. The stated purpose of this executive order, which basically is just directing federal agencies to do what they are already tasked with doing, is to “thwart transnational criminal organizations.” But that order also asks federal agencies to make transnational criminal organizations a high priority.