Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

Recently in dangerous trends Category

If I told you a man was captured on cell phone video circling two AT&T service trucks and calmly firing round after round from a revolver into the trucks' tires, then asked you to name the state, I doubt you'd need all 50 guesses before you got to Florida.

Retired Miami-Dade firefighter Jorge Jove wasn't too pleased about the trucks being parked near his house. To be fair, who among us is? But most of us don't walk back into the house, emerge with a hand cannon, and open fire. The 64-year-old proved himself to be a crack shot, up close at least, and earned some criminal charges for his trouble.

It's no R2-D2, but the Knightscope Autonomous Data Machine is a pretty cool droid. According to its manufacturer and this dubstep-soundtracked trailer, the K5 can use 360-degree video, thermal imaging sensors, a laser range finder and radar, and even air quality sensors to detect and prevent crime. The K5 can contact law enforcement and even scare off sexual predators prowling around your Tesla in the parking lot.

But the K5 has one apparent vulnerability: 40-something drunk dudes in Silicon Valley shopping mall parking lots.

There is a well-understood if little-discussed quid pro quo when it comes to political campaign contributions: people and businesses give their money to candidates they feel will best represent their interests. Generally this entails voting how they would vote when it comes to pending legislation. But what about when elected officials have to vote on their campaign donors specifically?

As Vice reported, many (if not all) of President Donald Trump's picks for cabinet positions were major contributors to campaigns for senators who are now tasked with confirming those picks. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't sit too well with those who might feel these donors have now bought a senator's confirmation vote. So how can the average citizen compete with the vast resources that Trump's choices for cabinet positions bring to the political arena? GoFundMe, of course.

For every villain trying to blame a DUI on his pet squirrel or hastily fake a black ice-laced intersection, there are intoxicated heroes among us, willing to drive themselves drunk right up to the police station in an effort to turn themselves in.

And to these brave souls, Norman Boiselle of Old Mystic, Connecticut, who called the police to report that he was driving drunk and had crashed into a snowbank, we say, "Bravo!" And also, "You're under arrest."

Even the smallest of small businesses have social media policies these days. The platforms are far too public to abide by any gaffes, lest your rep be forever tarnished by the loose fingers of an unpaid intern. So it's no surprise that government agencies have strict Twitter rules that require multiple layers of writing, proofing, editing, and approval before anyone even considers clicking "Tweet."

But, as anyone who's kept an eye on the previous election can attest, that seems like about four or five more thoughts than President-elect Donald Trump gives before firing off his social media missives. So will the Twitterer-in-Chief adhere to some common sense principles when managing his social media presence once he's sworn in? Don't hold your breath.

Ah, viral video memes -- is there any end to the fun? Well, maybe when they land you in jail. The latest craze, which was declared over three weeks ago, is the so-called mannequin challenge, where participants freeze in poses while the cameraperson pans the scene, replicating visuals similar to special effects shots from blockbuster action movies.

And this was all well and good until 22 gun-toting men filmed their own version, leading to at least two arrests as cops raided the residence involved and work to identify whether the firearms featured in the three-minute snippet are properly licensed.

First, they came for our never-ending supply of breakfast cocktails ... Yes, the bottomless mimosa, that staple of brunch from sea to drunken sea, is apparently illegal in the Lone Star state.

How is this even possible? To what beverage shall we now turn when our hangovers need nursing? The Bloody Mary? The *gasp* Michelada? Oh, the humanity!!

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use a few years ago and neighbors of the Rocky Mountain State lost their collective minds. Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado, hoping the Supreme Court would clamp down on the state's new pot laws. And apparently Kansas cops have just been pulling over every car with Colorado plates, claiming that just having license plates from a weed-legal state was grounds for detention and search.

But the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals isn't buying it, nor was it buying two Kansas Highway Patrol officers' claims of immunity for calling drug-sniffing dogs to a traffic stop, just because the driver had Colorado plates.

Yes you can. If you're flying down a Barcelona street and manage not to get caught in the act, apparently. One disabled daredevil tested the limits of traffic enforcement in the Catalonia capital recently and got away scot-free, so far.

So is this brave soul a commute revolutionary or a cautionary tale? Let's take a look.

We are a nation of laws, and even in tough times we consider our commitment to the rule of law to define us. Even if someone is saying something we don't like, we respect their First Amendment right to say it. Even if we think someone is guilty, they are still entitled to Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure and Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial. This commitment may be why it's fun to imagine a world where we don't follow the law for a little while.

If you haven't seen the movies by now, you've probably seen a preview or three, or heard "The Purge" was coming to your town for real. The basic premise of the film (and its two sequels) is that, for 12 straight hours per year, all crime is legal and all emergency services will be unavailable. Billed as a civic tradition in the movie's timeline, it has the effect of reducing crime and unemployment. Beyond the wistful, "wouldn't it be fun to run around and do whatever you want for a day" fantasy, could suspending all laws temporarily even be legal?