Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog


Can a Permanent Resident Be Deported for Accidentally Voting?

An Episcopal priest in Illinois is facing deportation after disclosing that he voted in a federal midterm election in 2006. He mistakenly thought that as a permanent resident he could vote, since the person registering him to vote never asked if he was a citizen. He was even sent a notice with polling place information. Honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Which brings up an interesting question: can a permanent resident be deported for accidentally voting? And the answer is yes.

Federal Judge Overturns NC Anti-Farmworker Law

North Carolina farmworkers are embroiled in a legal battle with the state legislature over whether an anti-union law adopted in 2017 violates civil rights laws. That law made it illegal for farms and labor unions to negotiate settlements involving union contracts, as well as for farmworkers to directly transfer parts of their paycheck to the union as dues, even if they agree to it.

Though the legality of this new anti-union law is still being debated in the legal system, a federal judge declared that it seems likely that the law is unconstitutional, and therefore barred it from being in effect while under legal review.

It seems like every time we read about a legal decision, whether in a civil or criminal case, the losing party is promising to appeal. And one of the great features of our justice system is that very few decisions are final -- many legal rulings, whether by judges, juries, or administrative officials are subject to review via an appeals process.

But that process can vary depending on the type of case and the kind of appeal being filed. Accordingly, the time limits on when an appeal can be filed with vary as well. So, here's a look at a few types of those appeals, and the deadlines for each:

Passports Can't Be Denied Over Refusal to Select a Gender

The U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado issued a major win for intersex people. Put a "W" in the "X" column! Though the judge in the case stated the ruling was particular to the case at hand, it will still serve as a powerful message that the United States may be ready to join other developed countries in the adoption of gender designation and identification.

New Limits for Immigration Judges to Dismiss Cases

Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions has used his power as head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in unprecedented ways this year. In a departure from the traditional laissez faire, small central government tenets of his Republican party, Sessions has been incredibly hands-on in his role as overseer of one of the DOJ's groups, the immigration courts. Specifically, Sessions has taken under review numerous cases from the Board of Immigration Appeals.

It remains to be seen what precedent Sessions plans to make with these cases. But one thing became clear this week: immigration judges will now be much more restricted in their ability to dismiss deportation cases.

What If You're Accused of Shoplifting in Cashierless Store?

Cashierless stores are an interesting new development in the retail industry. Amazon recently announced it plans to open 3,000 of its Amazon Go markets by the year 2021.

Imagine going into a grocery store, placing items in your cart as you go up and down the aisles. And then, you just walk out the door. No need to argue with the cashier that the store policy is if there's three in line, they'll open a new checkout line, and it's already eight deep. No more feeling irritated that the person in front of you in the 10 items or less lane has 14 items. Electronic surveillance equipment calculates your total, either while you are shopping or once you exit, charges your credit card, and emails a receipt before you can even start piling the groceries in the car.

Sorry, you'll have to bag now. No one to blame if your bread gets crushed! Also, there is the issue of shoplifting. What happens if you're accused of stealing something in one of these new cashierless stores?

A "music industry peace treaty;" a "rare moment of bipartisan and trans-industry harmony;" a "significant step forward for music consumers and fans." The Music Modernization Act has been called a lot of things. But, now that the Senate has finally passed the copyright bill, what will it actually mean in real world terms for songwriters and musicians?

Here's what you need to know.

It's pretty obvious that schools will want to monitor their students' social media activity. From preventing online bullying or harassment to ensuring that students don't tarnish a school's image, administrators have an interest in keeping an eye on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram belonging to students.

But when can that policing of posts go too far? Perhaps when you're asking female volleyball players what male football players will think of their Instagram posts and kicking them off the team because of them.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits refusing to sell, rent to, or even negotiate with any person because of that person's race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin. But do those protections against national origin discrimination extend to foreign citizenship? And does a mobile home park's policy of requiring residents to prove they're legal U.S. residents violate the Act?

A recent lawsuit may answer those questions.

Department of Education on Last Leg in Student Loan Forgiveness Case

Betsy DeVos's Department of Education was dealt a severe blow for its delay in carrying out the Borrower's Defense to Repayment, which was supposed to go into effect on July 1. Attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia filed suit, claiming the delay violated the Administrative Procedures Act because DeVos did not meet the standard for a delay, give proper notice, or afford adequate time for public comment.

The federal court ruled last week that the delay was "arbitrary and capricious," or in other words, not fair and illegal. The judge has given the Department until October 12th to either offer stronger justification for the delay, or else the Repayment rule will take effect immediately.